Nicely Priced Confederate Fayetteville Socket Bayonet
- Product Code: EWB-2729
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is a VERY GOOD+ condition example of the angular socket bayonet produced by the Confederacy at their arsenal in Fayetteville, NC. This bayonet was designed to be used on the final production version of the Fayetteville Rifle, known to collectors as the “Type IV” rifles. These final production variant rifles had a standard musket style combination front sight/bayonet lug, not on the earlier pattern guns that mounted a saber bayonet. On January 14 of 1864 the Confederate Adjutant & Inspector General’s Office issued General Order #6, which discontinued the manufacture of saber bayonets within the Confederacy. This led Fayetteville to convert to the manufacture of “shank” or socket bayonets, and to discontinue the manufacture of saber bayonets and their mounting lugs for the rifles.
Fayetteville received their bayonet making machinery from the English company Greenwood & Batley. This same firm had supplied bayonet-making machinery to the Bay State Tool Company at the beginning of the American Civil War. Bay State Tool had manufactured the first pattern socket bayonets for the Spencer Rifle, as well as the socket bayonets used on the Massachusetts “Drake” alteration of US Model 1841 Mississippi Rifles. The machinery that Greenwood and Batley provided was apparently originally designed to manufacture the Spanish Pattern 1857 socket bayonet. These bayonets had been produced by Birmingham cutlers to go with orders for Spanish M1857 rifles and rifle muskets that were manufactured in Birmingham on contract for Spain. All four of these bayonets have a distinctive sharp angle on the bottom of the shank at the blade to shank juncture and have rear flutes that pass through the neck of the bayonet, rather than stopping at the shank. They also have a slightly longer than normal blade for the period, that tapers more dramatically than the US bayonets of the period. The typical mid-19th century socket bayonet was equipped with a blade between 17 ½” and 18” in length. However, the Spanish socket bayonet and the Spencer had 18 ½” blades, while the Fayetteville and Drake bayonets has nominally 20” long blades. The extra blade lengths on the last two were partially intended to make up for the fact that the 33” long rifle barrels were not quite long enough to effectively guard against cavalry when mounted with an 18” blade.
The Fayetteville socket bayonet is depicted in Robert Reilly’s American Socket Bayonets & Scabbards as item #B116. This particular bayonet conforms very well to the dimensions set forth by Reilly and also has some physical features that are clearly Confederate. The bayonet has a 3” socket and a 19 7/8” blade. The bore diameter of the bayonet is .893”, only slightly larger than the nominal diameter of .889” referenced in Reilly’s book. This minor variation is more than acceptable on a hand-finished bayonet. The socket is also bored somewhat off center, a common feature on Confederate made bayonets that were often produced by craftsmen that were not skilled machinists and bayonet forgers. The blade is 13/16” wide at its widest point. The bayonet is completely unmarked, as it should be. The other salient feature is the face flute, which is somewhat cruder in its overall finish and application than an US bayonet. The flute shows some machine marks and rough finishing marks that were not completely polished out. The bayonet also features the typically crude locking ring and stud on the socket. Neither of these parts are as well finished as on Bay State Tool manufactured Drake pattern bayonets or other US made bayonets.
The overall condition of the bayonet is about VERY GOOD+. The blade has a rich smoky gray patina, while the socket has a lightly cleaned steel patina that is toning to a pewter color. The bayonet blade is mostly smooth metal, with some lightly scattered pitting at the shank, some light pitting on the last 2”-3” of the blade at the tip and a couple of fingerprint sized patches here and there on the blade. The socket shows even light pitting over nearly all of its surfaces and was apparently cleaned at some point in time leaving it rather bright comparted to the duller gray color of the blade. The original locking ring is present and is complete and functional, along with the typical large domed tension screw that is found on the Fayetteville bayonet locking ring. The ring is somewhat crudely constructed as is typical of these bayonets. The stop lug is crude as well, and more rectangular than square, again typical of Fayetteville production.
Overall, this is an attractive and solid example of a relatively scarce and desirable Confederate-made socket bayonet from the waning days of the American Civil War. The Fayetteville made socket bayonet is one of the most reasonably priced of all Confederate made bayonets, but they are still regularly priced in the $1,000+ range when they are found in this condition. I have this example priced below market, to make it a quick sell to potentially put in a Confederate collectors’ Christmas stocking. This is a very nice Confederate Fayetteville Socket Bayonet that will be a great addition to your collection and at a very reasonable price.
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