Found online: Photo of Chatham resident Ford Bailey, Senior Exhibition Designer for the New York State Museum, wielding George Washington’s ceremonial sword, which was exhibited at the Capitol last year.
Washington’s battle sword, which he carried throughout the Revolution, happened to have been made by John Bailey, a prominent silversmith and sword cutler who made hundreds of swords of very fine quality in his forge near Fishkill.
Upon his death, Washington bequeathed five of his swords to his five nephews.
“To each of my nephews, William Augustine Washington, George Lewis, George Steptoe Washington, Bushrod Washington and Samuel Washington, I give one of the swords or cutteaux of which I may die possessed; and they are to chose in the order they are named. These swords are accompanied with an injunction not to unsheathe them for the purpose of shedding blood, except it be for self defense, or in defense of their Country and its rights; and in the latter case, to keep them unsheathed, and prefer falling with them in their hands, to the relinquishment thereof….”
Samuel T. Washington was the nephew who received this Bailey-made sword, and on February 8, 1843, his son donated it to the United States Congress. The sword now resides at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.
Photo: The Daily Gazette