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Confederate Fighting Knives

By Brad Ireland, 4th Virginia, Co. A

When one thinks of a fighting knife, the first image that comes to mind is the Bowie Knife. The Bowie knife first became famous after Jim Bowie used a large knife at a duel know as the “Sandbar Fight” in 1827. This historic knife has seen many different designs. The most common design has a six inch blade but some are as long as twelve inches. In 1861, as the south was arming for war, many southern soldiers considered a large fighting knife an essential piece of equipment. Soon however the soldier realized the implacability of carrying such a large and heavy knife on long marches and they soon disappeared. Below are some examples of fighting knives of the period.

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  1. Johan says:

    Hello mr. Ireland,

    I enjoyed your article. I found it very interesting.
    I have a question of the portrait which came with your article.
    Is this a member of the 4th Virginia company A ?
    I’m researching uniforms worn by the First Brigade (later Stonewall Brigade) at First Manassas.

    Many thanks in advance.

    Best wishes,


    • SWB1861 says:

      Thank you so much for reaching out. We’ve contacted you directly to help point you towards some additional resources, but, no, the photos in this article are not of members of the 4th VA. Thanks for stopping by!

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