SABER BAYONET AND SCABBARD FOR THE WHITNEY PLYMOUTH 1861 NAVY RIFLE SERIAL NUMBER 5681

$575.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 490-1827

This is very good example of the saber (or sword) bayonet issued with the US Navy’s Model 1861 rifle. Developed by John Dahlgren in the late 1850s, and nicknamed for the USS Plymouth, on which the ordnance trials were conducted, 10,000 of these rifles were produced on contract by Eli Whitney, Jr., and delivered from mid-1863 to mid-1864. The short, .69 caliber rifles were issued with these saber bayonets having long, 22.5 - inch blades, to put them on an equal footing in close-in fighting against longer rifle muskets. This one is complete with its original scabbard.

The brass hilt has an untouched mellow patina showing typical age spots, but no heavy dings or battering. The locking spring and button are in place and functional. The pommel bears the “F.C.W.” navy inspector’s initials of Franklin C. Warner. These bayonets were mated to the rifles by serial number stamped next to the long guide stud groove. This one is numbered 5681, which puts its delivery very early in 1864 (some 5300 had been delivered by the end of 1863 and 1,000 in January 1864.) The blade is smooth metal, with no pitting and a good edge and point. The blade is steel gray in color with a dusting of darker gray age spots. The ricasso has a crisp, “Collins & Co. / Hartford / Conn.” maker’s stamp at the ricasso. The scabbard is very good. The brass throat with frog stud and the drag are both in place have a matching age patina. The black leather scabbard is solid and has good color with just expected and minor crazing to the finish and little surface loss. There is one spot of wrinkling a couple of inches up from the drag, but this is more evident on the reverse than the face and the scabbard is firm.

These rifles were intended for shipboard actions, patrol duty, landing parties, and expeditions both small and large, such the Battle of Tulfinny Crossroads in 1864, where a Plymouth-armed sailor shot down the colorbearer of the 5th Georgia. McAulay lists more than thirty vessels that received Plymouth rifles and also notes that the Potomac Flotilla preferred them to Spencers, which were subject to accidental discharge and explosion from natural rough handling onboard ship and in landing parties.

This is a very good example of a regulation issue Civil War U.S. naval bayonet and scabbard and one associated with a well-known naval officer.  [sr]

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