Join Date: Nov 2019
I have run out of facts on the subject, but ParikiMarks original posting solicited "thoughts", of which I have an abundance. These are my personal opinions, neither provable nor unprovable, and if others are not offended by my sharing them, I for my part, promise not to be offended if no one agrees with me.
Mention was made of the 1832 swords' worthlessness in combat, and it probably would have been for defending a battery against saber-swinging horsemen or a company of infantry armed with bayonets, but would probably be very useful in the disorganized melee of single combats practiced by the Kansas Jayhawkers, who probably looked upon them as a sort of super-Bowie knife. I have no doubt that American Plains Indians looked on them the same way. Contrary to the Hollywood legend, American Indians did most of their fighting against other Indians. The average length of the Plains Indian stone-headed war clubs in my collection is 23 inches. I imagine that an Indian would find a 25 inch sword a suitable weapon for an encounter with an opponent armed with a stone club. As for Indians considering a sword to be a "symbol of status", I have no doubt that ownership of a sword conferred status in the same way that the ownership of a repeating rifle did, but it does not necessarily follow that the owner considered either sword or rifle as anything other than an efficient weapon for practical use.
I am also not sure that the swords found at Mission San Diego de Alcala were intended to be "re-purposed." They were the same size as some of the shorter examples of the espada ancha traditionally carried fixed to the saddle by the native Californios, and were a great deal more decorative. Had he been successful in getting out the gate with them, the thief probably would have found a ready market..