The Saber [or sabre] is usually a curved, single edged blade that has a rather large hand guard to cover your thumb, knuckles and forefinger.

People mostly used them during the 19th century, particularly during the Napoleonic wars. It was used for heavy calvary charges with great effect. During the Civil war, both sides used this weapon, but the Confederate army eventually turned to using revolvers and caribines.

[Helpful site: Wikipedia]