Confederate D-Guard Fighting Knife & Scabbard
- Product Code: EWSK-1358-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
There is probably no more iconic Civil War image than that of the young Confederate soldier, heading off to war with an absurdly large fighting knife in his hand or on his belt. Early war southern ambrotypes and tintypes provide us a dizzying array of large, wicked, and sometimes comical fighting knives of all descriptions, usually made by local blacksmiths for the boys of 1861 to take to war. Over the years, the majority of these local knife makers have remained anonymous, although sometimes certain traits and characteristics of surviving knives can help us to make general statements about the likely region or state that an unmarked knife may have originated in. More recent scholarship has allowed us to identify some knives as to their maker, even though they bear no markings. The classic southern fighting knife was usually overly large and robust, with an overall length that was typically between 12” and 24” and with blades that varied from about 8” to over 18”!
This knife was produced by an unknown southern metal worker, who tried to produce a functional fighting knife with some sense of art and aesthetic lines. The knife has a unique “dual guard” construction, with a 4 1/8” long “propeller” shaped cross guard that has an oval center and guard extensions that widen as they move farther away from the hilt. A second “D-Guard” knuckle bow was subsequently added to the knife during construction. According to Confederate knife collector, researcher and author Josh Phillips, this strange “dual guard” feature is not unknown in Confederate knives, but is rarely encountered. His feels the knives were originally made with cross guards, and the D-shaped knuckle guards were added by the craftsmen after the knives were initially completed because of the popularity of that design. Mr. Phillips also believes that these "dual guard" knives were produced in Georgia, although he has no definite proof of that. The knife is of a much better quality than would normally be expected from a typical local blacksmith and is probably what would be most appropriately referred to as a “factory made knife”, rather than a “blacksmith made knife”. While the knife is from an unidentified maker it does have what appears to be a crude H on the face of the upper cross guard, which might one day help to identify the maker.
The knife weighs in at a solid 1lb 9oz and is 21 7/8” in overall length. The spear point blade is 16 ““ long, and has a prominent median ridge that runs the length of the blade. This gives the blade profile the appearance of many of the Confederate “Naval Cutlass’ blades that were produced by several of the small CS arsenals and knife shops. The blade is slightly more than ““ thick at the ridge (about .270”). The hilt is 5 ““ in length, which is a common sized for large Confederate knives. As noted, the hilt has a pair of guards, an artistically applied tapered cross guard that is 4 1/8” long, and an equally artistic iron D-guard that is runs the length of the hilt and averages about 2 7/8” from the hilt. There is an old dot of white paint on the rear of the upper portion of the cross guard, possibly just an old paint drop, or possibly part of an old collection tag system. The grip is a solid piece of hard wood with an oval cross section and a slight swell towards the pommel. The hilt is secured to the tang of the knife with a large nut that is about ““ square. An iron ferrule, about 15/16” long is present at the front of the grip, behind the two guards.
The knife is in about VERY GOOD+ condition. The blade has a medium pewter base patina, with darker, mottled, oxidized brown age patina over most of the blade. This brown patina is thickest at the ricasso and becomes more mottled and scattered towards the tip of the knife. The steel of the blade is mostly smooth, with some scattered areas of lightly oxidized salt & peppering and pinpricking. The blade tip is damaged and, approximately 1/8” of an inch at the very end is missing. Both edges of the blade show a number of nicks and wear marks. The largest of which are on the bottom edge of the blade, with a single ““ wide, 1/8” deep chip being the largest. The guard has a darker gray base patina than the blade, with a fairly thick brown patina over the majority of the metal. The dark brown patina is thickest on the cross guard. The wooden grip is solid and free of any breaks, cracks or repairs. The grip does show some light handling marks and minor dings, but nothing serious. A set of initials appear to have been lightly scratched on the left side of the grip, but they are no longer legible due to handling wear. The knife is accompanied by its original leather covered, tin scabbard. The scabbard is 15 5/8” in length and is 2 1/8” wide. The very tip of scabbard is broken and missing. The thin leather covering is well worn and shows significant loss at the scabbard tip, as well as some scattered patches of leather loss along its length. Much of the leather seam and stitching is missing along one edge of the scabbard, while the other edge retains about 70% of its edge and stitching. The remains of a large single belt loop are present on the reverse of the scabbard, but the belt loop itself is long gone. The loop appears to have accepted a belt of about 2 ““ in width. The leather is quite thin and delicate and needs to be handled very carefully to avoid further loss. The scabbard fits the blade like a glove, with only about ““ of the blade extending above the scabbard throat. Due to the tight fit of the tin against the blade, it requires some effort to remove the knife from the scabbard.
Overall this is a really attractive and very imposing example of the classic Confederate D Guard Fighting Knife. The knife is completely original, correct and authentic in everyway and is completely untouched. The fact that this well made knife retains its very rare, leather covered tin scabbard makes it even more desirable. Every collection of Civil War era arms needs at least one fighting knife in it, and there is nothing better to fill this void than a Confederate D-Guard. This is a great looking knife that displays wonderfully and will certainly be a great centerpiece to any advanced Civil War collection or display.SOLD