HARPERS FERRY SWORD BAYONET FOR THE M1841 MISSISSIPPI RIFLE

$495.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1037-410

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This is a scarce Harpers Ferry made saber bayonet used on their Type IA, IIA, and IIB alterations of the M1841 Mississippi Rifle (Moller’s designations.)  It is marked on the obverse ricasso “PB/P,” which is probably the inspection/proof mark of Harpers Ferry master armorer Philip Burkart, and has the pronounced Yataghan-style blade giving the tip a slightly up-turned appearance as is seen on their better-known saber bayonets made for the 1855 rifle. The armory experimented for several years in ways to bring the old M1841 “Mississippi” rifles up to par with the new 1855 series of arms, primarily in trying different long range rear sights starting in 1854 and adapting them for use with a bayonet.

This represents the armory’s second attempt to use a saber bayonet, the first being the Snell pattern, using a folding ring at the pommel and a thumbscrew at the muzzle ring on the crossguard. This simplified pattern eliminated the folding ring and thumbscrew, using a stud with extending narrow guide key mounted on the right side of rifle barrel near the muzzle to engage a mortise in the top flat of the bayonet handle, which then locked in place using a spring with release button. This was produced at the same time the last of the Snell patterns were being finished. An April 27, 1855, letter from Chief of Ordnance Craig indicates 1,128 Snell patterns had been finished, leaving 500 to be completed, at the same time 300 of the new pattern had been finished, with 1,200 yet to go. This new bayonet was in turn replaced soon after by a yet simpler version eliminating the guide key, which shortened the mortise.

This is very good example of this scarce bayonet showing the extended mortise for the guide key near the pommel. The hilt is the standard configuration with disk finials on top of the muzzle ring and the end of the guard. The spring and button are in place and functional. The brass has a medium patina, showing a mellow color with age spots, but not dark, and has a good surface with few handling dings. The blade is smooth metal with just a few minor edge nicks and a good tip, a light steel gray mixed with dark gray in color with a little brown near the guard.

This would go well with one of the early Mississippi alterations although saber bayonets are often not fully interchangeable, or would likely fill a gap in a bayonet collection. It is also a good example of the arms development going in the 1850s with delegations being sent back and forth among several nations to investigate the latest trends.

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MODEL 1841 NAVAL OFFICER’S SWORD IDENTIFIED TO SIMON BACKUS BISSELL

Simon Backus Bissell was born in Fairlee, Vt., on October 28, 1808. He was appointed Midshipman on November 6, 1824, Passed Midshipman on June 4 1831, and Lieutenant December 9, 1837. At the beginning of the Mexican-American War, he was assigned to… (870-63). Learn More »

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