British P-1859 Type II Naval Rifle Cutlass Bayonet
British P-1859 Type II Naval Rifle Cutlass Bayonet – This is a scarce example of a Confederate imported British P-1859 Type II Naval Rifle Cutlass Bayonet, for use on the Pattern 1858 “Enfield” Naval Rifle. According to noted Confederate weapons expert, Tim Prince, these weapons were manufactured because the British military wanted to create a dual-purpose bayonet for the rifle, thereby choosing this design for a naval cutlass and bayonet. The bayonet has a massive 26” long blade and an overall length of 32”; the muzzle ring diameter is .75”. The British military contracted for about 80,000 of these cutlass bayonets; of note, is that aside from a small contract of less than 800, delivered by Reeves of Birmingham, all of the other contractors involved used Solingen made blades in the fabrication of their bayonets. Large numbers of the British military used cutlass bayonets were altered, after the Civil War, some for use with the smaller bore Snider Naval Rifle from 1870-1871. For this reason, the unaltered, original bore sized bayonets are a great rarity. Markedly scarcer than these original, unaltered cutlass bayonets, are those purchased and imported by the Confederacy during the Civil War. Among the 10,000 Enfield Short Rifles imported to the Confederacy, were some P-1858 Naval Rifles. Again according to noted Confederate arms expert, Tim Prince: “Based upon extant invoices, it appears that those rifles were ordered with conventional saber bayonets, not cutlass bayonets; however, during the summer of 1861, Commander James D Bullock of the Confederate Navy placed a separate order for 1,000 Pattern 1858 Naval Rifles, complete with Cutlass Bayonets. These short rifles with their cutlass bayonets (and 1,000 rounds of ammunition for each gun) were noted to have arrived in the Confederate port city of Savannah, GA on November 14, 1861, aboard the blockade runner, Fingal. Researchers believe that these Confederate purchased Naval rifles and their accompanying bayonets were numbered in their own series from 1-1000. To date a total of 19 extant examples of Confederate marked and numbered P-1858 Naval Rifles are known, along with a total of 34 Confederate numbered cutlass bayonets. The highest known number for either the rifles or bayonets is 999, which is found on a cutlass bayonet. This provides relatively concrete proof that only 1,000 of the numbered naval rifles and bayonets were purchased and imported into the Confederacy, making them incredibly scarce today. All known examples of the Confederate purchased cutlass bayonets have blades that are either unmarked, or marked with Solingen maker names or logos”.
This example of a Confederate purchased and numbered Pattern 1859 Type II Naval Cutlass Bayonet offered here is in fair condition; it was discovered in the Charleston, South Carolina area. All of the metal surfaces have a dark, untouched patina, with some obvious pitting overall; there is some surface rust, which is not flaking, on the hilt. The blade exhibits moderate pitting along its entire length and is unmarked. The muzzle ring is in good condition, although also exhibiting some surface oxidation. The sheet metal basket- guard is complete and does not show any dents, but is somewhat pitted, showing, as does the hilt, light oxidation, overall. Clearly engraved on the left pommel cap is the Confederate inventory number 112. The original locking stud is present, but is no longer functional; the locking spring is no longer present. Of the original two-piece pressed leather grip panels, only one is present; this panel exhibits some age and water shrinkage. The remaining grip retains strong traces of its roll embossed knurling or checkering.
This rare bayonet is one of under 50 Confederate numbered P-1859 Type II Cutlass Bayonets known to have survived since their original arrival in the Confederacy. Indeed, this cutlass / bayonet is a true rarity, most worthy of a place in an advanced collection.