This decorated dress sword and scabbard belonged to Rear Admiral Francis J. Higginson (1843-1931) of Deerfield, Massachusetts, at the turn of the 20th century. Higginson's naval career spanned the Civil War (1861-1865) and the Spanish-American War (1898). His personal success mirrored that of the United States Navy itself. Neglected since the end of the Civil War (1861-1865), the Navy received a new lease on life in the 1880s. A desire to protect trade and expand the United States' influence abroad resulted in an overhauled and modernized Navy, complete with steel-hulled, steam driven ships. Higginson was the first captain of the Massachusetts, one of America's first battleships. He commanded the Massachusetts during the Spanish-American War in 1898.