Below: A close-up of the gold plate accent depicting an eagle on the leather scabbard that held
John Gallagher’s presentation sword. Bottom: The eagle’s head pommel of Gallagher’s naval
sword with a white polished ivory grip bound with gilt wire. Above right: An oil painting of the
North Carolina in the New York harbor painted by Gallagher’s friend, Henry Walke. Below right:
The reverse side of the silver commemorative medal depicting the United States and the HMS
Macedonian in battle.
HE REALITY of it is, that stuff goes into the closet,”
Pleasants says. “We had the large portrait over our fire-place,
but you don’t put a sword like that on a mantle. So it
spent its time in the closet, and it’s time for it to be seen and
Pleasants and his wife moved to Southport a year and a half
ago after living in Cashiers, North Carolina, for 20 years.
“When we moved to Southport, we learned that there was
a Battleship North Carolina 30 miles away,” Pleasants says. “We
decided that it would be an absolute perfect fit.”
After Pleasants coordinated with Booker, the two portraits, the swords
and the medallion were moved to the Battleship North Carolina Museum,
located in the visitors center.
The portrait of Gallagher sits in a gilded frame slightly separated from
the painting due to years of display above a fireplace. A miniature version of
the portrait is on display in a case at the museum alongside the presentation
sword that the governor of Maryland gave to Gallagher in 1833.
The Journal of the Proceedings of the House of Delegates of the State
of Maryland states the sword was a “testimony of the admiration and
gratitude of their native state for his distinguished gallantry and highly
valuable service during the last war with Great Britain.” It came with a
black leather scabbard. “The President Engaging the Endymion” is etched on
the blade, a reference to a naval battle during the War of 1812.
“It’s in beautiful condition, even the scabbard,” Booker says. “That leather
is pretty old, and we have the original case, too. This stuff just doesn’t survive
WBM may 2018