Object Record

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Object ID 1944.076
Object Name Dirk, Presentation
Collection Weapons & Accessories
Credit line Gift of General J. Ernest Smith
Date 1826
Description Naval presentation dirk that was given to Midshipman John P. Gillis (1803-1873) of Wilmington. The dirk has a 9" long tapered steel blade that is engraved on both sides with foliage decorations and an eagle and shield with "E Pluribus Unum" in a banner above it. the upper 5" of both sides of the blade also have bluing and brass high-lights. The delicate guard is brass and decorated on one side only with small punch work designs. The slender grip is ivory and carved with groups of horizontal ridges in various sizes.

The brass scabbard has a single brass ring and is hand-engraved on one side with stylized leaf designs and on the reverse with script text: "Jn P. Gillis, U.S.N. U.S. Frigate Brandywine Pacific Ocean 1826."
Dimensions W-0.75 L-13 inches
Dimension Details Overall length of dirk; width of blade at widest point; scabbard is 9 3/4" long x 3/4" wide (not including ring).
Owned John P. Gillis
Provenance This dirk belonged to John P. Gillis (1803-1873), a Wilmington native who had a long naval career, during which he saw service in the Mexican War, the Civil War, and sailed with Commodore Matthew Perry's expedition to Japan in 1853. This dirk was presented to Gillis during his Pacific service on the Frigate Brandywine (1826-29).
Subjects Arms & armament
Daggers & swords
People Gillis, Commodore John P.
Search Terms Dirks
John Gillis
John P. Gillis
Frigate Brandywine
Nineteenth Century
Pacific Ocean
Material Steel; brass; ivory