The Tew Sword

Ottawa Group Returns Civil War Sword Missing 153 Years to U.S.


Ottawa Group Returns Civil War Sword Missing 153 Years to US

Sword found in Ottawa will be repatriated to The Citadel after ceremony at Antietam National Battlefield

Ottawa, Ont – Sept. 1, 2015—A Civil War sword missing for 153 years since the Battle of Antietam in 1862  will be returned by the 33 Signal Regiment Foundation of Ottawa, the charitable arm of the 33 Signal Regiment of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, Canadian Army.

The sword was placed in the care of the 33 Signal Regiment in 1963 but was positively identified only recently as belonging to Col. Charles Courtenay Tew. Members of the Regiment worked very hard to unravel the mystery of the sword after it was “rediscovered.” 

As this year also marks the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Antietam National Battlefield, members of the 33 Signal Regiment thought it appropriate to involve both the U.S. National Park Service and The Citadel Military College in Charleston, S.C.

“We’re delighted to return this most important artifact,” said Michael Martin, chairman of the 33 Signal Regiment Foundation.  “As this is the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, we believe it is only fitting to see that the sword is returned to the hands from whence it came."

“It is an amazing story. It’s an artifact that has passed through many hands from south to north," Martin continued.  "It is a story of heroes and scoundrels, prominent families on both sides of the divide and a mystery spanning 150 years. About 40,000 Canadians served in the U.S. civil war, and one of them featured prominently in the story of the artifact. We look forward to the upcoming repatriation and meeting with our friends in this adventure, the National Park Service at Antietam, and The Citadel Military College.”   

Lt. Col. David Goble of The Citadel stated, “All of us at The Citadel are excited about the return of Colonel Tew’s Sword.  Colonel Tew was our first Honor Graduate and was accordingly our first person to ever receive a diploma from our institution. He was also the first president of The Citadel Alumni Association. We are extremely honored by the 33 Signal Regiment’s decision to repatriate the sword and very appreciative of the lengths they have gone to make it happen."

At the bloodiest one-day battle in American history, 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln's issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

The 33 Signal Regiment will be having a dinner on Wednesday, September 2, in Ottawa to raise funds for the Colour Guard to attend two upcoming events. The first, on September 16, will be held at Antietam National Battlefield Park in Maryland at 1:00 pm. The second and the official transfer of the sword from the 33 Signal Regiment Foundation to The Citadel will occur on the parade ground on Friday, September 18, in Charleston, S.C.

For information about the dinner, contact Michael Martin at 613-830-1880 or

About 33 Signal Regiment Foundation
33 Signal Regiment Foundation ( supports the interests of both our serving soldiers and retired veterans of the 33 Signal Regiment, as well as supporting the great work of Canada Company and The True Patriot Love Foundation.

33 Signal Regiment, formerly known as 763 Communication Regiment, is a primary reserve unit of the Communications and Electronics Branch. Their mandate is to provide support to Canadian Forces.