Kenansville D-Guard Artillery Short Sword

The following Confederate Short Sword is attributed to Louis Froelich of Wilmington North Carolina. Mr. Froelich born 1817 in Bavaria (Germany), he and his family soon traveled to Liverpool England where he worked as a mechanic/machinist. June of 1860 he and his family leave Liverpool for New York. By the spring of 1861 he and his family are living in Wilmington North Carolina.

At the start of the War Of Northern Aggression, Wilmington was North Carolina’s busiest seaport and largest city with a thriving German community and probably the reason Froelich chooses it for his home. He takes a job working at the Wilmington Button Manufactory where he is soon promoted as “Director” but the factory closes in the summer of 1861.

Not one to sit idle the highly skilled Froelich recognizes the need for arms and equipment the new Southern Government would need. He soon starts manufacturing quality edged weapons, such as Bowie Knifes, Swords, Pikes, and D-Handles. In September 1861 he partners with a Hungarian immigrant named Bela Estvan and they name there weapons manufacturing firm “Wilmington Sword Factory”. Although the circumstances surrounding their business connection remain unclear, Froelich apparently planned to produce the weapons while Estvan would handle sales and distribution.

Soon after opening the Wilmington Sword Factory they change the name to C.S.A. Arms Factory. The change perhaps reflects the owners concern that potential customers might mistakenly believe the Wilmington Sword Factory was limited to the manufacture of only swords. The change also reflected there devotion to the Confederate States of America. There loyalty apparently impressed the government in Richmond and led to a lucrative arms contract.

During the morning hours of February 1863 the Confederate States Armory catches fire and destroys the industrial complex. Shortly after he dissolves his partnership with Bela Estvan and relocates his armory in Kenansville, North Carolina.

In July 1863 the Union Army storms the town and burns the factory. Not one for giving up so quickly Froelich rebuilds and by November 1863 is producing edged weapons, knapsacks and accoutrements. He is financially troubled at this point due to relocation and fires but he continues to do whatever he can for the Southern Government.

After the war Froelich and his family become farmers, planting orchards of apples trees, pear trees, peach trees, plum, apricot and fig trees. Records show that the family had profits of $2663.25 from their agricultural pursuits in 1870. He must have been as good as a farmer as he was a businessman. Louis Froelich dies of consumption (tuberculosis) in Halifax County N.C. October 27,1873 at the age of 56.

Louis Froelich’s legacy as an arms maker to the Confederacy survives today. The Bavarian craftsman immigrated to America seeking a new life, only to find himself situated in the South as war breaks out. He took advantage of the opportunity to provide for his growing family by manufacturing the much needed weapons and equipment for North Carolina and Confederate Troops.

His skills as an industrial craftsman are evident in examples of his now scarce swords, sabers, bayonets, pikes and Bowie Knives. They were all of high quality and were widely used by the Army of Northern Virginia. For the duration of the war North Carolina armed and supplied its 125,000 troops more effectively than any other Southern State, in large part because of the efforts of independent industrialists like Louis Froelich.

So is everybody still with me? I’m hoping that you haven’t zoned out by now,lol…..

I have the pleasure of introducing the newest member of the Civil War Arsenal, which is a Artillery Short Sword sometimes referred to as a Kenansville D-Handle or D-Guard. It’s overall length is 21” long, the blade measures 15 ¾”. The spear point blade is about ¼” thick towards the center of the oval shaped cross section. The grip handle is made of walnut and the guards are of steel stock. The grip is basically round in shape except for a flattened area on either side running up about 3 ¼” up from the guard.

Scabbards are extremely rare especially ones with the leather throat belt loop still in tact. The example that we see here is far from complete but it is a survivor with probably about 65% of it intact. The leather they used for these knifes was usually poor quality which became brittle and cracked easy. The design flaw to this scabbard was the leather belt loop would rub against the D-Handle guard. Over time this would tear though the leather loop dropping it from the belt it was attached too hindering it useless.

So that just about does it for now, I hope you enjoy the photos and if you have any questions about this Knife or any of the other weapons in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact me.
Attn: Gene West civilwararsenal@yahoo.com

Confederate, Tennessee Side Knife and Rig

This is a great example of a Side knife that a Confederate Infantrymen would have carried throughout the War Between the States. Small and light enough to be worn day and night. Many of the large D Handle knives were way too big, clumsy and heavy to be totted around day in and day out, many were tossed to the side of the road in favor of a lighter and more useful knife, such as this.

This knife is extra neat since it still has its wood lined scabbard and belt rig. Both of these pieces are hand sewed which was common for most Confederate rigging. The Spear Point blade is single edged with a sharpened 2 3/4″ top edge. The overall length of the knife is 14 ¾”, with the blade measuring 10 ¼ “and width 1 3/8”.

This knife was formally in the collection of Lee Hadaway, who is one of the leading experts in Confederate Edged Weapons and author of the “Confederate Bowie Knife Guide” which this Knife and Rig is published in. This knife is also published in “Confederate Bowie Knives” on page 253 as a Tennessee Side Knife.

I hope you enjoy the photos and if you have any questions about this knife please feel free to contact me at genx1969@yahoo.com attn. Gene West

Confederate D Handle Bowie Knife

It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting around the house bored so I’ve decided to write about one of the many weapons in the Civil War Arsenal.

A year or two ago I was at a Civil War show with my wife walking around looking at all the neat stuff laid out amongst all the tables not really seeing anything that jumped out at me and said buy me NOW. After one complete pass at the show that must have taken about 2 hours to complete I started my second pass knowing I must have missed at least one neat item.

I came across a fellow who had about 4 or 5 confederate knifes, and there it was the D Handle that said LOOK AT ME. This knife was stunning it had all the features I look for when purchasing confederate knifes, minus the scabbard.

Beautiful hardwood handle with knots in it, blackened metal blade, sturdy well made knife with a wonderful rasp/file blade that is just a work of art in itself. I must have spent an hour looking at this knife trying to walk away but it wouldn’t let me. It’s like the knife was talking to me saying take me home.

So I finally pulled myself away from the table only to be brought back time after time. It was like a magical spell had been put on me. Earlier I spoke to the fellow who was selling the knife (unfortunately I forgot his name) and he told me the price, which was a fair price but these days I tend to be more of a value shopper when making big purchases.
So I made him what I thought was a fair offer and after going back and forth with him for about ten minutes we finally agreed on a price.

This spear point D Handle has an overall length of 19” with a 14 ½” blade and a 4 ½”handle the blade is 2 1/4” wide at its widest point and it weighs 1 ½ pounds. The blacksmith or mechanic that made this knife was extremely skilled. The knife 150 years later is straight as an arrow, very sturdy and the D Handle doesn’t move like so many D Handle Knives I’ve handle over the years.

It’s my opinion this knife had a leather scabbard that probably rotted to the point that someone tossed it thinking there was no value in salvaging it, bummer I wish it was saved. Based on my research this knife was assembled in the Carolinas or Georgia but I’m sure that others may challenge that opinion. Either way this is a neat knife and I hope you enjoy the photos. Any questions about this knife please contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

Confederate Bowie Knife and Tin Scabbard

The Civil War Arsenal is proud to introduce to its ever growing collection this early version of a Confederate D Handle Bowie Knife with Tin Scabbard. More than likely manufactured early in the war probably 1861 or 1862 this is a fine example of what a Southern soldier would have carried to defend against the Northern aggressors.

When war broke out in 1861 the South was woefully ill equipped to fight against the industrious North so many of the Southern soldiers armed themselves with fighting knives made by capable craftsman. Blacksmiths, carriage makers and tin smiths were just a few of the professions that answered the call to arm the Southern army. While some of these knives were functional, some were poorly constructed and not very aesthetically pleasing. That is not the case with this knife.

This knife was made by a skilled craftsman. There are many flaws throughout the blade but that only adds to the character of the knife. The blade is well executed and the knife balances properly. Many of the knives this size were heavy with thick blades and were a chore to carry on long marches. This blade while heavy enough to serve its purpose wouldn’t wear the soldier out during long marches.

It has a simple turned wood handle made of hardwood, probably walnut. The tang is peened over the D guard and is undisturbed. The overall length is 20 ¾”, blade length is 16 ¼” and blade width is 1 ¾”.

Scabbards for Confederate knives are quite rare since most were made out of leather and didn’t far well over the past 150 years. This scabbard is made of tin which is scarcer than a leather scabbard.

Construction of this scabbard is a work of art. The lead soldier on the seams is evident and holds well to this day. Made of two pieces of tin, front and back with the tip added to the body probably because the maker didn’t have a single piece long enough to cover the knife. The belt loop is still in place, which is quite rare as well.

This D handle was in the private collection of Lee Hadaway who is the author of “The Updated Confederate Bowie Knife Guide”. He is the leading expert on Confederate D handle Bowie knives and side knives.

I am proud to have this Confederate D Handle Bowie Knife as one of the many center pieces of my ever growing Civil War collection.

Enjoy the photos.