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A Desperate Struggle French Imperial Guard Officer and British 1st Foot Guards Officer Fighting, 1815
With the introduction of firearms to the battlefield, the military importance of swordsmanship rapidly diminished. And while the sword had always been a symbol of status it was now increasingly relegated to the officer class and cavalry. The French army still issued the épée du soldat, but it was rarely unsheathed whilst one still had their musket. It is important to note that officers had to purchase their own swords, to wit many, if not all, were of better quality and construction that those issued in general service. Many were artfully embellished with intricately carved handles, guards, and pommels, and decorative bluing on the blade.
2 Figure Set