22 April 2013 by Published in: Union Cavalry 7 comments

photoI had quite a rare treat today. Sharon McCardle, who is an officer of the Rockton, IL Historical Society, stopped by my office to visit. Sharon and her husband Karl had been in Gettysburg at the conference of the Company of Military Historians, where she set up a prize-winning exhibit on Brig. Gen. Elon J. Farnsworth. Farnsworth’s charge and death are the cornerstone of my book Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions: Farnsworth’s Charge, South Cavalry Field and the Battle of Fairfield, so he’s long been of great interest to me.

Sharon brought a number of very cool items for me to see, but none cooler than Farnsworth’s saber–the one he was carrying when he was killed. I’m holding it and its scabbard in the photo. I’ve only had one cooler photo of me taken, which is of me holding John Buford’s Henry rifle, taken many years ago.

That’s Sharon in the photo with me. What a very neat thing to experience. Thanks to Sharon and Karl for coming to visit and giving me such a neat memory to savor.

Click on the photo to see a larger image.

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  1. Ted
    Mon 22nd Apr 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Now that is stepping as close into history as you can get. Very nice, and thanks for sharing. How nice of Sharon to do this.

  2. Clark B. Hall
    Mon 22nd Apr 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Gosh, Eric, you look dangerous with that angry weapon. (I see Mrs. McCardle has wisely stepped back.)

    Can you validate an assertion, by the way? If General Farnsworth was carrying this sword at Gettysburg, then it is likely Captain Farnsworth also swung the same saber three weeks earlier at Brandy Station when he assumed field command of the 8th Illinois Cavalry? (It was of course his performance at Brandy which launched Elon into the exalted ranks of a general officer.)

    Love the photo of you both, even though one so pictured appears something akin to a happy pirate!

    Would love to hold that sword.. Envious of you.

  3. billyray
    Tue 23rd Apr 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I just finished your book last week Eric. Farnsworth v Kilpatrick, I read about his demise as If it happened yesterday. What a shame he was sacrificed. If I took anything away, it was that good men die in war. One can only wonder what Farnsworth would have become.

  4. Chris Evans
    Tue 23rd Apr 2013 at 5:52 pm

    That is really great.

    To be that close to history awesome.

    I guess the old cliche would work here, “If that sword could talk what stories it would have to tell”.


  5. John Foskett
    Sat 27th Apr 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Wade Hampton would not have won that brawl. 🙂

  6. Richard Wahl
    Fri 15th Aug 2014 at 10:52 pm

    That’s a wonderful picture. As I wfite this I’m reading your book you mentioned in this article. Its a gfeat book I enjoy the contraversy ovsf general Farnsworth death. I can’t wait to read your new book on John Buford on day one of gdttysburg battle. John Buford is my favorite cavalryman.
    Thanks for all your books please keep thdm coming.
    Richard L Wahl
    Email: sharkbate68@yahoo.com

  7. Vincent
    Wed 12th Oct 2016 at 10:30 pm

    That’s my distant cousin’s saber!

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