Two Congressional Presentation Swords

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Two Congressional Presentation Swords
Paul Newman
November 19, 2022

This segment of Collections Corner features the Institute’s Museum Collections and Operations Manager Paul Newman discussing two Congressional presentation swords from our museum collections. Resolved by Congress on November 4, 1777, one sword was awarded to Marylander Samuel Smith for his “gallant defense of Fort Mifflin on the River Delaware” — which the Americans were forced to evacuate 245 years ago this week. The other sword was awarded to Gen. George Washington’s longest serving aide, Tench Tilghman, for carrying the news of the British surrender at Yorktown to Congress in October 1781. These exquisitely made swords are rare survivals of the fifteen Congressional presentation swords awarded to Revolutionary War heroes.