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Help identifying antique US sword bayonet

Article about: Hello all, I would like some help identifying my latest find. I believe it to be a American made bayonet. It is of a heavier and more solid make than most of the European made 19th century b

  1. #1

    Default Help identifying antique US sword bayonet

    Hello all,

    I would like some help identifying my latest find.

    I believe it to be a American made bayonet. It is of a heavier and more solid make than most of the European made 19th century bayonets I have in my collection. I believe it to be of an American Civil War era; but can someone tell me if it a U.S or Confederate issue? There are not many markings; a date '1861' on the ricasso and a short serial number on the handle '1123' . The sword bayonet is huge, probably the largest I have ever seen or handled, at just over 30 inches long with a blade of 25 inches. The barrel hole is almost one inch in diameter. Sadly missing the scabbard. Any help with this one would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

    Kind regards,
    Chris
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  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: Help identifying antique US sword bayonet

    This is US model 1855 bayo made for unusual Colt revolver-system rifle m1855

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help identifying antique US sword bayonet

    Thanks for your reply,

    I actually believe I have solved the mystery; I believe it is a US Colt Alteration Saber Bayonet for an 1841 Percussion Rifle - (the "Mississippi Rifle"). Overall length is 30", blade length is 25.25".

    The Model 1841 "Mississippi" rifle, was originally designed as .54 cal. with a thick heavy barrel without a bayonet. In the 1860's Colt was given a contract to re-bore many of the barrels to .58 cal., and a removable bayonet lug for a saber bayonet was added. The removable lug for the saber bayonet, barrel nose and bayonet were all serial number coordinated. These Bayonets were marked with serial number on the flat side of the bayonet grip. The date "1861" on the ricasso of the blade. Bayonet blade is 25.5 in, this unusual length is a unique feature of this bayonet.
    In 1861, Colt purchased 11,368 surplus US M-1841 "Mississippi" rifles and altered them to accept a saber bayonet. The bayonets could have been manufactured by Collins & Company as these had only the date - 1861 - stamped on the blade with the number on the grip matching the number on the bayonet ring. This appears to be one of the altered examples.

    Well I hope this information can help anyone else who needs to identify one of these monsters.

    Kind regards

  4. #4
    ?

    Default Re: Help identifying antique US sword bayonet

    Christek, you are correct, it is for the Colt alteration bayonet for the M1841 US Rifle.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help identifying antique US sword bayonet

    Quote by USNV5 View Post
    Christek, you are correct, it is for the Colt alteration bayonet for the M1841 US Rifle.
    Thanks for the confirmation!

    I am still a little confused as to what side used this weapon - Was this a Union issue bayonet? Some sources say that the Confederates used these as well.

    Many thanks

    Regards

  6. #6
    ?

    Default Re: Help identifying antique US sword bayonet

    A good question and both sides used the Colt modified M1841. Remember that all state troops had been issued Federally purchased/made arms from 1808 on and arms in the arsenals of Northern and Southern states were issued as needed. (As an aside, flint muskets were the most commonly issued weapons in 1861 with both sides carrying flintlock muskets while training and into combat as late as early 1862.) Many states, both Northern and Southern had the M1841 Rifle on inventory at the beginning and issued them, quite a few of them Colt modified.

    I personally have one of these in rough (near relic) condition picked up in the 1930s by a local farmer from his property. It was an assembly area for Confederate troops during Jackson's Valley Campaign in 1862, probably before or after the Battle of Port Republic a few short miles away.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Help identifying antique US sword bayonet

    Thanks for the great info USNV5! A very interesting read.

    The history of this weapon is indeed fascinating, it is, without doubt, now one of my more favorable pieces. It's got the darkest patina I have seen on a bayonet. It is also just so long and heavy I can't imagine the M1841 being a practical firearm at all with this monster attached to it! In regards to possible Confederate use; this will probably always stay a mystery, and it just one of the reasons this is a great historical item. It's certainly a relatively rare bayonet, especially in Australia. Took me quite a while to find out information about it, so thank you for your time on this one, I am sure someone in the future will be in the same grey position I was when I first got it.

    Kind regards

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