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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 06/02/2005 11:16:59 EDT
Subject: Sword for CS Sig Sgt?

Message Detail:
In a 27 Apr 2005 posting, responding to Karen Bennett, I "wondered aloud" if a CS Sig Sgt ever got so gussied-up as to sport a sword (perhaps the 1840 NCO sword). I just came across an overlooked ref that may indicate the answer. If concerns Sig Sgt William ap Catesby Jones. "He was signal officer on the staff of Gen. Richard Taylor, where he rendered conspicuous service. He was captured [30 Dec 63] after a gallant defense of St. Joseph, Louisiana [near Natchez]--a defense that won the strongest commendations of his general and the applause of the whole army. He had been selected by General Taylor on account of his coolness and bravery to command a squad of picked men who were sent forward to hold an important point until reinforcements could be had. When all his men but two were killed or wounded, he broke his sword over his knee and surrendered, declaring that the enemy should never have his sword." He was sent to a prisoner of war camp at Camp Morton, Indiana, where he died of pneumonia in March, 1864. "He was one of the purest, most unselfish and noblest of men. His name was a synonym for courage and gallantry. The celebrated Major Norris, the founder of the Confederate States signal service, was heard to say that two of the best men he ever knew were named Catesby Jones, one the gentleman in question, the other Catesby ap Roger Jones of the Merrimac [CSS Virginia]."
Whether we take this description of the incident literally or figuratively (it is a familiar story from other instances), whether Jones had an NCO sword or had taken on some other type as symbol of his position, this is all we have at this point. But also note that a Sig Sgt was acting as and being treated as an officer, which is why I have often ref'd their position as that of a warrant officer in modern terms.
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