Chavasse Marked Pattern 1856 Enfield Rifle Saber Bayonet
- Product Code: EWB-2490
- Availability: In Stock
This is a solid example of the English Pattern 1856 Saber Bayonet & Scabbard, as used with the British Pattern 1856 Enfield “Short Rifle”. The bayonet is in VERY GOOD condition. The bayonet is unmarked, except for the maker/retailer name CHAVASSE on the reverse ricasso of the blade, and the mating number 610 / JP on the rear of the pommel cap, which would have matched the number stamped on the bayonet lug of the rifle this bayonet had been fit to. The Chavasse marking is particularly intriguing, as he was a little known and yet very important supporter of the southern Confederacy during the American Civil War.
Horace Chavasse was a cutler & sword maker in the Birmingham area of England. He was noted to primarily be an assembler and retailer of swords and bayonets and relied on imported blades (mostly from Solingen) due to their perceived superiority of quality. He would then hilt the blades and then retail the arms. He apparently used Belgian makers as well, as at least one Chavasse marked Pattern 1853 socket bayonet is known with Belgian poincon marks on the blade as well as Birmingham inspector initials. Chavasse purchased land on Alma Street, in Aston, Newton (near Birmingham) in 1860 and his operation was running by the end of that year. He remained in business at that address until 1868, when the financial ruin visited upon him by his support of the Confederacy finally caught up with him. Chavasse apparently sold bayonets and edged weapons to the Confederacy during the early days of the war and became acquainted with Liverpool based arms speculator William Joshua Grazebrook. Grazebrook not only purchased arms and equipment for sale to the Confederacy, but he also owned a few blockade running vessels, including the ill-fated Dolphin and Nicolai I. The Federal blockading fleet captured both of these vessels in March of 1863. Grazebrook was the first vendor to sell Enfield “short rifles” to the Confederacy, during the middle of 1861, and it makes good sense that he would try to partner with a bayonet maker and retailer to help further his goals of selling arms to the South. The Chavasse & Grazebrook business partnership was formalized in early 1862, when the two purchased a large amount of arms and equipment for sale to the Confederacy. Chavasse made most of the purchases on his account and credit, and Grazebrook apparently brokered the deal with a Lawrence & Company who had obtained a ship from W.C. Pearson & Co - Modern Greece. The blockade-runner sailed from Hull on April 20, 1862 and she was wrecked off Wilmington, NC on June 27, 1862. The result was that nearly all of her cargo was lost and much of what was salvaged was in a damaged state and of greatly reduced value. Chavasse received none of the monies from the roughly 2,000 pounds sterling that the damaged goods realized at auction. Grazebrook continued to purchase arms and attempt to run the blockade, but the loss of the steamers Dolphin and Nicolai I finally ruined him and resulted in his being declared “a bankrupt” on June 17th, 1863. Even with this declaration, Chavasse continued to pursue Grazebrook in court for at least partial restitution for the loss of the Modern Greece cargo, claiming he was due at least a portion of the funds that Grazebrook had received from the sale of the salvaged cargo. An 1865 English Bankruptcy Court of Appeals Document upheld Canvasses’ claim but made it clear that Grazebrook was truly bankrupt and was insolvent.
This CHAVASSE marked bayonet is in about VERY GOOD condition. The bayonet was made for commercial sale and is devoid of any British Military markings. The blade is full length and has a been cleaned to bright, giving it the appearance of its original brightly polished appearance. The blade apparent had a few nicks in its edge, which were polished out, giving the cutting a slightly wavy appearance when examined closely. This is the single major defect in the bayonet. The checkered pressed leather grip panels show light to moderate wear and the usual light shrinkage and some surface flaking. However, they do remain in very good to near fine and very serviceable condition, retaining much of their roll pressed checkering, and showing only some minor leather loss along the edges of the gripping surfaces. The locking mechanism remains in good, serviceable condition and functions correctly. The internal diameter of the muzzle ring of the bayonet measures .795”. This should help you decide if the bayonet might fit your rifle. Of course, these bayonets were not interchangeable, so it is impossible to know if the mortise cut will fit your lug correctly, even if the muzzle diameter matches well. The bayonet is accompanied by an original scabbard that fits well. The scabbard retains much of the original finish and has a very nice appearance, but all of the stitching is missing from the rear seam. Thankfully, this area is tight and there is no obvious gapping, so the missing stitching is only really noticeable if the edges of the scabbard are pressed where they meet. The original steel mounts are in place on the scabbard and have a lightly oxidized appearance.
Overall this bayonet is in solid example and very nice displaying example of a Chavasse made P1856 saber bayonet with a very crisp and clear Chavasse mark. The bayonet is marked by a very interesting and important English supporter of the Confederacy, who risked his own financial future to help the Confederate cause. Short of the bayonet bearing actual engraved Confederate inventory numbers, it would be hard to find an imported English bayonet with a better Confederate provenance than this one, and it will be a nice addition to your Confederate imported P-1856 “short rifle”.