This pattern 1856 British sword bayonet was made for the Model 1853, .577 calibre Enfield rifled infantry short-musket. As well as being issued to British units, these rifles and bayonets were sold in large numbers to both the Union and Confederate armies during the American Civil War.
The 577mm yataghan blade has a flat spine and broad single fuller on both sides. The recurved (Yataghan) blade is double-edged for the last 120mm. The blade was service sharpened and is in excellent condition. There are some minor scratches along the edge, consistent with sharpening and cleaning. The ricasso bears the British War Department inverted arrows stamp, indicating that the bayonet was sold out of British military service – possibly to America for use in the civil war? The ricasso also bears a crowned inspection stamp over the numeral 18 and two partially struck stamps.
The iconic steel crosspiece with cockscomb and button finials is bright and free of rust. The interior of the muzzle ring is flush with the tang of the blade, indicating that this is a true 1856 model bayonet, as opposed to the later, re-worked 1858 model. The step up to the muzzle ring on the later versions was to allow for the barrel band, which included the lug onto which the 1858 model bayonet was fixed. The press-stud and external spring locking mechanism work perfectly and the sharply beaked pommel bears a stamped numeral 18. The leather grip scales are in good condition, with a small patch of wear around the external leaf spring.
The bayonet is complete with its original leather scabbard with steel mounts. The scabbard is in excellent condition. The steel furniture is bright and free of rust or damage, with a pale, mottled patina. The leather is in excellent condition and the stitching is intact and tight.
This is a scarce British bayonet in exceptional condition and may have seen service during the American Civil War.