This sword is one of ten "elegant swords" awarded by the Continental Congress to various officers for meritorious action against the British during the American Revolution. Owing to lack of funds, the swords were not executed until 1785-86. They were made not by an American craftsman but by one of the finest "fourbisseurs" (sword retailers) in Paris. The decoration, in part prescribed by Congress, includes the coat of arms of the United States on one side of the grip and an appropriate presentation inscription on the other. This example is inscribed: "Congress to Col. Willett, Oct. 11, 1777." These congressional swords are the first in a long tradition of specially designed presentation swords that would be awarded to America's military leaders throughout the next century.