34.25″ blade made by Hortsmann and Sons, Philadelphia. with etched panel on both sides having U.S. and E. Pluribus Unum. Brass hilt and shagreen handle. Black leather scabbard with brass fittings and an attached brass oval plate that reads, Presented by the Citizen’s of LLewellyn, to Lieut H. J. Alspach Co. A., 50th Regt. P.V. as a Testimonial of Their Appreciation of His Gallant Services in His Country’s Defence Feb. 1863.
Alspach enlisted as 1st sergeant in Company A. in September and served for the duration, mustering out in July 1865. He was promoted 2nd lieutenant in September 1862 and first lieutenant in September 1864. Alspach was advanced to captain in October 1864 but never mustered. The 50th Pennsylvania was a 9th Corps outfit that saw extensive service in both theaters. The regiment was involved in South Carolina coastal operations before reinforcing the main army for Pope’s 1862 summer campaign, seeing action at Groveton, 2nd Bull Run and Chantilly. The 50th was engaged at Antietam and Fredericksburg, transferring west in the winter of 1863 and joining Grant’s army at Vicksburg. The regiment participated in Burnside’s dreary Knoxville campaign before rejoining Grant now in command of the Army of the Potomac for the deadly summer battles intended to outflank and wear down Lee’s army through attrition.
The veteran Pennsylvanians served until the very end at Appomattox and proudly marched in the Grand Review on May 23, 1865. Before mustering out on July 30 the regiment was selected to represent the infantry of the Army of the Potomac at the laying of the cornerstone at the Gettysburg National Monument on July 4. This sword was likely a silent witness to that momentous event.