Confederate Civil War D-Guard bowie , Confederate States Armory, Kenansville, NC

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This massive double edged bowie knife or short sword is the product of Louis Froelich of the Confederate States Armory located in Wilmington (and later in Kenansville, North Carolina) and was manufactured circa late 1862 to mid 1863.  Some collectors call the large knives “cutlasses” but in fact they were mostly used as infantry and artillery fighting knives in the field.  This example retains a portion of the original tin mounted leather scabbard as shown.  The blade is very bright and has only very minor edge imperfections.  If you want a strong example of a fine piece of Southern iron, look no farther!

Louis Froelich was born 1817 in Bavaria (Germany) and he and his family moved to Liverpool, England where he worked as a mechanic/machinist.  In June of 1860, he and his family left Liverpool bound for New York City.  By the Spring of 1861, he and his family were living in Wilmington, North Carolina.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Wilmington was North Carolina’s busiest seaport and had a thriving German community, possibly the reason Froelich chose it for his home.   He took a job at the Wilmington Button Manufactory where he was promoted to “Director”, but the factory closed in the summer of 1861.

Froelich recognized the need for arms and equipment that the new Southern Government would need and started manufacturing  edged weapons (“Bowie” knives, swords, and pikes).  In September 1861, he partnered with Hungarian immigrant  Bela Estvan and together they named their weapons manufacturing firm the “Wilmington Sword Factory”.  Froelich apparently planned to produce the weapons while Estvan handled sales and distribution.

Soon after opening the Wilmington Sword Factory they changed the name to Confederate States Armory.  The change possibly reflects the owners concern that potential customers might mistakenly believe the Wilmington Sword Factory was limited to the manufacture of only swords.

During the morning hours of February, 1863 the Confederate States Armory caught fire and destroyed the industrial complex.  Shortly after, Froelich dissolved his partnership with Bela Estvan and relocated his armory to Kenansville, North Carolina.

In July 1863, the Union Army stormed the town and burned the new factory.  Froelich rebuilt and by November, 1863 was again producing a variety of edged weapons, knapsacks and accoutrements.

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Additional information

Weight 5 lbs