Over the years, we have had a number of Confederate JS Anchor Marked Enfields muskets with blockade numbers. We've even had a couple with matching numbered ramrods. However, this is the first time we've been able to offer a numbered bayonet for one of these guns. The number engraved at the base of the sleeve is "6927" and would have been mated and crated with a Pattern 1853 3 band Musket bearing the same number. Its believed that a good many of these first JS Anchor marked guns were shipped aboard the ships Fingal, Gladiator, and Economist
As many of you know, the Confederates sent purchasing Agents to Great Britain in the early fall/late summer of 1861 to secure contracts for Enfield Pattern muskets, rifles, and carbines. Ideally, they were to secure a large contract with the London Armoury for the Machine Made Enfield w/interchangeable parts. However, the LA Co. was tied up with other contracts and could spare but a precious few, at least that was the case in 1861. However, the Superintendent of the London Armoury had plenty of connections throughout England who could provide arms for the Confederacy. It was at this point that the chief buyers for the Confederacy, Major Caleb Huse and Maj. Edward Anderson entered an agreement with Archibald Hamilton, the Superintendent of the London Armory to buy up arms from all the London makers as well as from makers in nearby Birmingham. Since all Enfields manufactured outside of the privately owned London Armoury and the National Armoury at Enfield were essentially hand-made/hand fitted weapons produced by a vast array of jobbers and/or guilds, it was necessary for the Confederates to hire a viewer in order to maintain an acceptable level of quality. Over the years, there has been a fair bit of speculation as to whose initials "JS" belongs to. Some have speculated it was a man named James Smiles, a LA Co viewer, others say John Slidell, Confederate ambassador to Europe, and even others have speculated that JS was an alias used as guise to bewilder Union Spies. My mind gets changed frequently on this subject but we found a recent 2007 dated article by Steven W. Knott in Vol. 32, No. 3 edition, in North South Trader's Civil War magazine to be quite compelling shedding light on another man named John Southgate. Knott's article is entitled "Will the Real "J.S." Please Stand Up? A great read and I would highly recommend it. The blockade numbers, as evidence on this bayonet, are tied into these Confederate purchased weapons like a bear to a jar of honey. This was probably due to the fact that so many guns purchased from such a wide array of hand-fitted London and Birmingham makers would need have critical components numbered....which is why you see blockade numbers on the ramrod and bayonets. This must have been an expensive and time-consuming practice that seems to have been used on almost all JS Anchors during 1861 and 1862. By 1863, most JS Anchors we've encountered from this year have no blockade numbers.
As to condition, this bayonet wood grade as Good+ but due to some restoration/repair work, we will just call it NRA Antique Fair or "wounded". Such is the case with a great many Confederate weapons as they were so often used beyond the breaking points of their design both during the war as instruments of War and afterwards as tools on farms throughout the South. The metal is in good shape overall with a fairly nice blade and good sharp contours. The metal sleeve or tube that a goes around the barrel has an old repair where someone has welded a split (see photos). My guess is that this area was badly bent or possibly crushed and someone put in a valiant effort to save it. The bottom of the blade is also marked J.R. with a double struck letter "c" nearby. If you've always wanted a real Confederate bayonet for you JS Anchor Enfield, but could never find one or afford one, this one should do nicely on display with your collection.