MODEL 1860 NAVAL CUTLASS
The naval cutlass, though antiquated for purposes of naval warfare in
the era of the steel vessels of the new American Navy, was still officially
in use. The crews of the Spanish American War period were drilled in cutlass
exercises, known as "single stick" drill.
The 1860 naval cutlass was apparently adopted by the U.S. Navy in approximately
1860. The new U.S. Navy cutlass was based on the cutlass then in use with
the French navy. The word "cutlass" is derived from the term "curtal axe",
an ancient heavy, but short weapon. The cutlass has the same characteristics.
The cutlass was used in ship-to-shop melee, in boarding parties and to
The cutlass was an excellent weapon for it intended use of fighting
in confined areas. However, by the time of the Spanish American War, the
combatants seldom, if ever, met face to face. The weapon was outdated.
||1-1/8" at hilt
||Single-edged, with a rudimentary double edge within 5
||inches of point. A broad fuller (groove) runs from the
||hilt to within 7 inches of the point. The blade is curved.
||Broad "half basket" guard of sheet brass, generally unornamented.
||Wood, covered with leather, wound with twisted brass wire.
||Most commonly Ames Manufacturing Co., Chicopee, MA.
Sources used for this information
Farrow, Edward S., "A Dictionary of Military Terms", New York: Thomas
Y. Crowell Co., 1918.
Peterson, Harold L., "The American Sword", Philadelphia: Ray Riling
Arms Books Co., 1965.
1904 Cutlass Drill Manual
Link to purchase a Navy Cutlass
Military Sword Displays