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.