CONFEDERATE NAVAL CUTLASS

$3,500.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1179-065

This pattern of Confederate naval cutlass with cylindrical, grooved grip, wasp-waisted blade, and flat S-curved guard, was first thought to have a Virginia origin. Albaugh first guessed they were made in the Norfolk area and then settled on the Union Car Works of Portsmouth as the most likely source. Pritchard, however, in Collecting the Confederacy, identifies them as coming from Columbus, Georgia, also the principal source for the painted canvas used on the few surviving scabbards and belts found with them, and identifies the maker as the Confederate operated Naval Iron Works. This was the old Columbus Iron Works, a large operation founded in 1853 and leased by the Confederate navy in 1862, producing ordnance, steam engines, machinery, and armor plate, and helping to build the CS gunboat Chattahoochee and the ironclad Muscogee among other activities.

This was once in the collections of the Texas Civil War Museum and is in excellent condition. The blade is smooth metal with pleasing silver gray and darker gray colors with a good edge and tip. It has the characteristic median ridge and pronounced wasp waist blade of the pattern. The counterguard is iron (some brass versions are known) and is the broad, flat, recurved-S shape that also defines this pattern, as does the wood grip– cylindrical, but with flattened sides to give a better grip (one side grooved rather than flat, with the groove longer,) an iron ferrule at the guard, and a slightly bulbous pommel with flat top and inset brass disk as a washer to secure the blade tang, which is neatly peened. The side groove of the grip has been personalized with the initials “P.J.A.” lightly carved in them. Some diligent research might produce a plausible identification. Overall length is 23 7/8”; blade length is 18 ¼”.

There were a number of naval close actions fought during the war where cutlasses and other small arms were brought into play in boarding an enemy ship or repelling attackers. The short blades were handy for hacking through the nets hoisted by watchful crews to keep attackers at bay and for wielding in the confined spaces and passage ways of the deck. This is very good example of a no-doubt-about-it Confederate navy cutlass.  [sr][ph:m]

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