SCARCE FAYETTEVILLE SOCKET BAYONET

$1,100.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 490-3269

This is a very good example of the scarce Fayetteville socket bayonet made in accordance with the decision to cease making saber bayonets. This change became official in January 1864, but had been in the works at Fayetteville since at least Summer 1863 with correspondence as early as August seeking drawings for the necessary bayonet making machinery and later inquiries seeking to know whether the bayonets should be interchangeable with those made for rifle muskets at Richmond, in which case the Fayetteville rifle barrels would have to be changed, or they should be fitted specifically for the rifle barrels, and then whether the bayonets should be iron or steel. These issues were finally resolved in December 1863 (“no” to interchangeability; “yes” to steel) and the resulting socket bayonets are sometimes referred to as the Fayetteville 1864 pattern or as the Fayetteville Type-IV, corresponding the classification of the Fayetteville rifles, dated 1864 and occasionally 1865, that take these bayonets.

This is a very good example, showing smooth metal with just one shallow nick to the left edge near the base of the blade flute, perhaps from a forging flaw, and thin dark gray and brown spotting to an otherwise light steel gray blade. The locking ring is present and functional. As is correct, the bayonet is unmarked and shows the characteristic sharp angle transition from neck to blade and the use of flutes on the underside that run clear through the base of the blade rather than stopping at the neck. The upper flute also shows some of the typical machining marks that were not polished out in the effort to hasten production.

The Fayetteville Armory had been an U.S. arsenal for construction and repair since 1841 and became one of the main Confederate facilities for rifle manufacture after it received the machinery for making the M1855 rifle seized at Harpers Ferry in 1861. Total production is estimated at 8,600 to 8,900 rifles, with about 5,000 in the “Type-IV” configuration, made from about January 1864 through January 1865. The machinery, all or most of it, was moved shortly afterward to avoid Sherman’s columns and did not return to production.

This is a nice example of a well-documented Confederate-made bayonet.    [sr] [ph:m]

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