For those of you who still care about the arcane history of swords, I found a few more interesting references.
First, a copy of Patton's Saber Exercise Manual: http://www.thortrains.net/downloads/saberexercise.pdf
Yes, it really does look suicidal, and it makes polo look like a kid's game. Even if I was limited to cap and ball revolvers, I think my horse would be fine carrying four or six, and I'd forget about any sword, whether straight or curved.
Second, a critique of Patton's Saber Exercises by a modern master of fencing: http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/Patton.php
I hate to say this about our Patron Saint of the Armor School, but I tend to agree with Alvarez.
Finally, some other equally uninformed opinions on the Patton 1913 Saber as in our discussion: http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showth ... his-manual
Which includes a more informed, first-hand vignette from the Battle of Talavera in 1809. It seems both the point and the edge were equally fatal (both combatants). However, as with firearms, a fatal shot through the heart does not necessarily end the fight, while a fatal CNS hit (through the brain), decisively ends the fight.
For sure, the argument of point vs. edge could only be proven at the price of blood. And sometimes, the results were all but clear, as the following account bears out:
At the Battle of Talavera, in 1809, "I saw [Harry Wilson] engaged hand-to-hand with a French dragoon; I saw him (...) give and receive more than one pass, with equal skill and courage. Just then a French officer delivered a thrust at poor Harry Wilson's body and delivered it effectually.
I firmly believe that Wilson died on the instant; yet, though he felt the sword in its progress, he, with characteristic self-command, kept his eye still on the enemy in his front, and raising himself in his stirrups let fall on the Frenchman's helmet such a blow, that the brass and skull parted before it, and I saw the man's head was cloven asunder to the chin.
It was the most tremendous blow I ever saw struck; and both he who gave, and his opponent who received it, dropped dead together. The brass helmet was afterwards examined by an order from an officer, who, as well as myself, was astonished at the exploit; and the cut was found to be as clean as if the sword had gone through a turnip, not so much as a dent being on either side of it."
The Secret History of the Sword
Gotta hand it to Harry Wilson, though. He was still in the fight after a sword thrust through his heart.