Object Record

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Object ID 1891.001
Object Name Sword, Presentation
Collection Weapons & Accessories
Credit line Gift of Dr. J. J. Black
Year Range from 1814
Year Range to 1817
Made Joseph Rose of William Rose & Sons; John W. Meer, Sr. (engraver)
Makers mark The base of the blase is stamped "I. Rose" for Joseph Rose of William Rose & Sons, Blockley Township, Pennsylvania, who were commissioned by Congress to make 72 presentation swords to be awarded to naval heros of the War of 1812. John W. Meer Sr. of Philadelphia engraved the blade.
Description Presentation sword and scabbard awarded to Midshipman, Joseph S. Cannon, for gallant actions during the Battle of Lake Champlain during the War of 1812. The sword has a steel blade that has high-quality engraving on both sides. One side bears the inscription, "Joseph S. Cannon Midshipman / Lake Champlain 11 Septem,r 1814" surrounded by oak leaf and acorn motifs and naval imagery, including a trident, anchor, cannon, and oar. The reverse is engraved with a central Latin proverb: " Altius ibunt qui ad / summa nituntur" (They will rise highest, who strive for the highest things), next to which is a small engraved scene of a naval battle. Both of these are flanked by cascading grapes and harpoon and ivy motifs. This side is also stamped with "I. Rose" at the base of the blade.

The hilt is brass with a square grip and a pommel that consists of a helmeted head motif. Both sides of the grip are decorated with identical high relief images of mermaids holding aloft clay jars. The guard has a relief image of an eagle perched on a cannon with flags on the outside face. The underside of the guard has a laurel wreath with "U.S." and a ring of eighteen stars.

The scabbard is leather with brass fittings that are engraved on one side with floral images. The drag has a relief image of a scaly sea monster coiled around an anchor. There are two rings with shell motif clips, the top one of which still has an 8" long piece of red and gold leather strap attached.
Dimensions W-1 L-38 inches
Dimension Details Overall length of sword; width of blade; scabbard is 32 1/2" long x 1 1/4" wide.
Owned Joseph S. Cannon
Provenance The DHS library manuscript collection contains a hand-written commendation to Midshipman Cannon from the U.S. Navy dated May 1, 1817.
Subjects Arms & armament
Daggers & swords
Search Terms War of 1812
Battle of Lake Champlain
Presentation Swords
Joseph S. Cannon
Joseph Cannon
Joseph Rose
John W. Meer, Sr.
Material Steel; brass; leather scabbard
Place of Origin Blockley Township, PA
Event War of 1812