Charles Bornarth's Civil War Sword
A native of Prussia, Charles Bornarth settled in Minnesota in 1857. In 1862, he left the family farm in Sibley County to join the army. Charles rose to the rank of lieutenant with Company "H" of the Seventh Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and fought against Dakota Indians at the Battle of Wood Lake in September 1862. In 1864 he was discharged from the Seventh Minnesota and joined the 67th United States Colored Infantry as a 2nd lieutenant.
Plagued by illness throughout his military career, Charles spent the remainder of his service on detached duty in Louisiana. After the war, he dabbled in a variety of occupations including business, teaching, and civil engineering. Charles died in Shakopee in 1902 at the age of 72.
This sword, donated through the generosity of the Bornarth family, is a valued addition to the Society's Civil War collections. The Minnesota Historical Society preserves nearly 7,000 items relating to the Civil War and Dakota Conflict including letters, diaries, photographs, uniforms and equipment. The collections represent all branches of service and include items from both Union and Confederate armies. Many of the artifacts, like the Bornarth sword, are associated with an identified soldier and tell a unique story.