A Confederate Enfield Rifle Bayonet, 28 ¼” overall. 23” Yatagan sword blade with deep fuller engraved “Chavasse” . Hard leather grips riveted to hilt. Beak shaped pommel numbered 118.
Blade with some pitting and staining, grip rubbed.
Horace Chavasse was a cutler & sword maker in the Birmingham area of England. 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 superiority of quality. He would then hilt the blades and then retail the arms. He apparently used Belgian makers as well, as at least one Chavasse marked Pattern 1853 socket bayonet is known with Belgian poincon marks on the blade as well as Birmingham inspector initials. 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 Dolphin and Nicolai I. The Federal blockading fleet captured both of these 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 goals of selling arms to the South. 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 a Lawrence & Company who had obtained a ship from W.C. Pearson & Co - 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 of 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 Modern Greece cargo, claiming he was due at least a portion of the funds that Grazebrook had received from the sale of the salvaged cargo. An 1865 English Bankruptcy Court of Appeals Document upheld Canvasses’ claim but made it clear that Grazebrook was truly bankrupt and was insolvent.