Confederate Numbered Enfield Socket Bayonet
- Product Code: EWB-1683-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
During the course of the American Civil War, the Confederacy imported hundreds of thousands British Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle Muskets, with some estimates placing the total Confederate purchases between 300,000 and 400,000 guns. Each of these rifle muskets was ordered as a “stand of arms”, and as such a socket bayonet was included with each musket. This makes the Pattern 1853 Enfield socket bayonet one of the most commonly used by the average Confederate infantryman. Much like the guns themselves, it is often difficult to know for sure if a given socket bayonet was used during the American Civil War, let alone whether it saw US or CS use. While it is generally accepted and known that British military marks on either a gun or bayonet generally exempts that item from possible Civil War use, the lack of these markings in no way guarantees it. Only a small percentage of Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle muskets were marked in any way that identifies them as being Confederate purchases. The most well known of these guns are the ones marked with the enigmatic J S / (ANCHOR), as well as an engraved inventory number on the upper tang of the brass butt plate, or a number stamped in the toe of the stock of the iron mounted rifles. The rifle muskets that were so numbered were shipped with a matching numbered ramrod, and a similarly engraved numbered socket bayonet. The rifles also had numbered rods, and mounted engraved number saber bayonets. One of the most knowledgeable researchers on Confederate imported arms has been assembling a database of Confederate numbered rifles and rifle muskets for over 25 years. During that time he has assembled a database of slightly more than 300 Confederate numbered guns. During that same time, he has only assembled a list of 43 Confederate numbered socket bayonets! That means that Confederate marked English socket bayonets are about 7 times scarcer than the numbered Confederate long arms!
The Confederate imported P-1853 Enfield Socket Bayonet offered here is engraved with the Confederate inventory number 8821 on the socket. This number makes places it within the first of three groups of 10,000 numbered arms that were delivered to the Confederacy. The initial group was numbered from 1-9999, and the two subsequent groups were numbered in the same range, with the suffix “A” added to the second 10,000 and “B” added to the third 10,000. It likely that this bayonet (and its accompanying rifle musket) were part of the initial deliveries of arms to the Confederacy during the first few months of 1862. This means that this bayonet was more than likely in use by Confederacy in time to see service at the battle of Shiloh in the Western Theater, or the Peninsula Campaign in the Eastern Theater. The bayonet is unmarked, other than what appears to be a faint single letter at the ricasso. This indicates that the bayonet was likely manufactured in Li’ge, Belgium. The English gunmakers of both Birmingham and London had a long standing relationship with the Belgian arms center in Li’ge, and often relied upon them to deliver gun parts, completed arms and edged weapons, when English production capacity could not meet the demand of their orders.
The bayonet is in about FINE condition. It is complete and full length, and retains a very sharp tip. The original locking ring and tension screw are present and the ring still operates smoothly. The blued iron socket retains some strong traces of the original blued finish, mixed with a lovely plum-brown patina. The socket is almost entirely smooth, with only some light peppering and pinpricking present on the metal. The steel blade has a relatively bright face, with some very light scattered patches of minor age discoloration and lightly oxidized darkness. The bayonet has clearly seen use during its service life, and the early inventory number confirms it was a bayonet that likely saw use during the majority of the war. However, the bayonet is much crisper and in much nicer condition than a numbered Confederate Enfield socket bayonet is typically encountered in.
Confederate numbered socket bayonets are significantly more rare than Confederate numbered guns, and every CS imported Enfield rifle musket is worthy of being displayed with a Confederate numbered socket bayonet. No collection of Confederate purchased English imports is complete without one of these bayonets. This is one of the nicest Confederate numbered P-1853 socket bayonets to appear on the market in some time, and it is not likely a comparable one will be available for sale again any time soon.SOLD