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A Grand Assault-of-Arms in Old New York, directed by Col. Thomas Monstery

April 9, 2015

Out of This Century

Above: Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery. Above: Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery.

“A Knightly Tournament”

In early March, 1876, a “Grand” tournament of arms was announced, to be held at the Lyceum Theater in New York City, that would involve “all kinds of weapons that are used in fencing.” The event was organized and directed by Colonel Thomas H. Monstery, a noted New York fencing master and teacher of pugilism, who had reportedly participated in more than fifty duels, and fought under twelve flags on three separate continents. By all accounts, this Assault-of-Arms would be the largest, the most interesting, and the most ethnically diverse ever held in the city. It was noted that the contestants would include Danes, Germans, Spaniards, Frenchmen, Englishmen, and Americans, and that the tournament would embrace the following weapons:

Foil
Saber
Broadsword
Small-sword
Rapier
“Bowie knife”
“Spanish knife”
Cane
Sword-cane
Lance
Bayonet
“English single stick”
“German schlager”
“Sabre against bayonet”
“Knife against sabre”
“French…

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