Blockade Run Enfield P56 Rifle Sword Bayonet

Our Price: sold

This is a solid example of the British Pattern 1856 sword bayonet for use with the Pattern 1856 Enfield Rifle. The blade is clearly marked CHAVASSE near the ricasso, and this mark suggests that this bayonet was almost certainly a Confederate purchase.

Horace Chavasse was a Solingen born, Birmingham (England) based, cutler and was also a Confederate blockade-runner financier. He was noted to primarily be an “assembler and retailer” of swords and bayonets and relied on imported blades (mostly from Solingen) due to their perceived superior quality. He would then hilt the blades and retail the arms. Chavasse purchased land on Alma Street, in Aston, Newton (near Birmingham) in 1860 and his operation was running by the end of that year. He remained in business at that address until 1868, when the financial ruin visited upon him by his support of the Confederacy finally caught up with him. Chavasse apparently sold bayonets and edged weapons to the Confederacy during the early days of the war and became acquainted with Liverpool based arms speculator William Joshua Grazebrook. Grazebrook not only purchased arms and equipment for sale to the Confederacy, but he also owned a few blockade running vessels, including the ill-fated ships Dolphin and Nicolai I. The Federal blockading fleet captured both vessels in March of 1863. Grazebrook was the first vendor to sell Enfield “short rifles” to the Confederacy, during the middle of 1861, and it makes good sense that he would try to partner with a bayonet maker and retailer to help further his goal of selling arms to the Confederacy. The Chavasse & Grazebrook business partnership was formalized in early 1862, when the two purchased a large amount of arms and equipment for sale to the Confederacy. Chavasse made most of the purchases on his account and credit, and Grazebrook apparently brokered the deal with Lawrence & Company who had obtained a ship from W.C. Pearson & Co. This ship was the ill-fated The Modern Greece. The blockade-runner sailed from Hull on April 20, 1862 and she was wrecked off Wilmington, NC on June 27, 1862. The result was that nearly all her cargo was lost and much of what was salvaged was in a damaged state and of greatly reduced value. Chavasse received none of the monies from the roughly 2,000 pounds sterling that the damaged goods realized at auction. Grazebrook continued to purchase arms and attempt to run the blockade, but the loss of the steamers Dolphin and Nicolai I finally ruined him and resulted in his being declared “a bankrupt” on June 17th, 1863. Even with this declaration, Chavasse continued to pursue Grazebrook in court for at least partial restitution for the loss of the The Modern Greece cargo, claiming that at a minimum he was due a portion of the funds that Grazebrook had received from the auction of the salvaged cargo. An 1865 English Bankruptcy Court of Appeals Document upheld Chavasse’s claim but made it clear that Grazebrook was truly bankrupt and was insolvent. Thus, Chavasse was unable to recoup any of his losses.

The bayonet is a nice example in about  condition. The bayonet is full length. The bayonet has a nice, smooth untouched patina that has dulled and mottled and shows a moderate amount of scattered surface discoloration. The scabbard is complete with a weak area in the leather near the tip.

Overall this is a very attractive example of the classic Enfield sword bayonet imported for use by the Confederacy during the Civil War. It is clearly marked by Chavasse, who was one of the more interesting English figures to be involved with blockading running the financing of the Confederate cause. This bayonet would be the perfect companion to your Confederate inspected Civil War Enfield rifle or would be a great addition to any collection of Civil War edge weapons and bayonets, especially one that concentrates on southern used examples.

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