20.75" spear point blade with a double edge. Brass handle with fish scale, brass guard. Marked in the top inside of guard Cook And Brother. Leather scabbard with brass throat and tip. On the scabbard is a paper tag glued to the scabbard and marked: Cutlass taken from the Rebel ship "Tennessee," captured by the U.S. fleet under Rear Admiral Farragut 5th August 1864.
The Union Navy's assault on their Confederate counterparts protecting the strategically important Mobile Bay was one of the most heralded Naval actions of the Civil War. On August 5, 1864, Admiral David Farragut took his stripped-for-action squadron of 18 ships and four monitors into the bay to test the Confederate defenses. The steam sloop Monongahela was part of the assaulting fleet. Farragut was met by his Confederate counterpart, Admiral Franklin Buchannan aboard his flagship, the immense, heavy ram, Tennessee.
In the ensuing battle, the Monongahela performed valiantly, bombarding several Confederate forts, and finally, at top speed, rammed the heavily armored Tennessee, actually mounting her, but sliding off her sloping sides. Damaged, the Monongahela continued to fight until the Tennessee surrendered about an hour later to the superior Union forces. According to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies (Series 1, Volume 21:841), besides the ship's Captain and Admiral Buchanan, 19 prisoners were taken from the CSS Tennessee.