British 1858 Pattern 'Bar on Band' 2-Band Enfield Short Rifle Bayonet
Single-fullered ‘yataghan’ downward-curving blade, cross hilt with lower quillon with round finial, and upper quillon projecting from the muzzle ring. Black chequered grips of pressed leather, attached to the tang with three rivets on one side and four on the other. External leaf spring which actuates the locking catch, attached by a single screw. Steel beaked pommel. Black leather scabbard with steel locket and chape. Blade length: 58.75cm (~23 inches), overall length 72.2cm (~28.5 inches), muzzle ring diameter 20mm
These bayonets were made for the post-1858 'Bar on band' version of the Model 1853 Enfield 2-band infantry short rifle, chambered in .577 calibre - sometimes called the Pattern 1858, although this risks confusion with the Navy rifle of the same name. The only design difference was that the bayonet bar was incorporated into the top barrel band rather than being brazed onto the barrel itself, which had been found to risk damaging the barrel during manufacture as well as risking damage to the barrel when the bayonet was used. It is difficult to determine the numbers produced because no differentiation was made in production figures between the various derivative types of the 1853, but the bar-on-band Enfield is rare today and it is likely no more than a few thousand saw British service.
All British government purchases of these rifles and their bayonets would have received the appropriate service stamps. However, this example has none, suggesting that it might be a version intended for export. The US Civil War provided a huge export market for all versions of the M1853 Enfield, agents of both sides purchasing as many as the British commercial gun trade could supply, although only a small proportion would have been the 'bar on band' versions. The Confederacy is known to have ordered 10,000 short Enfields, a mixture of standard and bar-on-band types. These are also very rare today, few having survived. Without marks to positively prove it, it cannot be said for certain that this bayonet was made for the war in America, but it was overwhelmingly the destination for commercial arms production during that period.
The blade is clean and bright with only tiny spots of patination. The leather grips are very good, with little wear to the crisp chequering and only a few small scuffs. The scabbard fittings have a dark patina. There is some surface flaking to the scabbard leather.