Cook & Brother Shotgun Bayonet with Scabbard
There are few images as iconic as the Confederate soldier off to war armed with his hunting rifle or shotgun. And while man a southerner did march off to war straight off the farm with his shotgun, numerous shotguns would be pressed into service by the Confederate Ordnance Department to arms the thousands of soldiers with no weapons at all. While a large portion of those shotguns received no military adaptations others were arsenal modified into cavalry weapons via the shortening of the barrels and addition of sling bars, and others still were adapted into infantry weapons via the addition of sling swivels and modifying them to mount bayonets.
The bayonet offered here is a wonderful example of a Confederate made saber bayonet intended to be mounted on a shotgun or other sporting arm. This style of bayonet was first documented in the 1964 volume "The American Bayonet 1776-1964" by Albert N. Hardin, Jr. listed as "Unknown Confederate sword / saber bayonet, Type No. II". This style of bayonet was eventually thought to represent those manufactured for the Mobile Depot which is known to have adapted a number of sporting arms to accept a saber bayonet of some sort. More recent research has, however, positively identified these bayonets as being the product of the New Orleans, Louisiana based firm of Cook & Brother. The full story of these fascinating bayonets is well detailed in the recent book "Confederate & Southern Agent Marked Shotguns" by Pritchard and Ashworth, which I highly recommend.
Our bayonet is marked with serial number 407 on the right side guard. Based on the surviving examples surveyed in "Confederate & Southern Agent Marked Shotguns" it is believed that approximately 1,000 bayonets were manufactured by Cook & Brother.
The bayonet has been cleaned and polished, leaving the blade quite bright. The brass has toned down slightly and has an attractive color to it. Fortunately, the blade has not been sharpened. It measures an impressive 20.25 inches, and the bayonet has an overall length of 24 and 5/8 inches. The locking spring is intact and functions properly, and has been polished bright like the blade.
As rare as these bayonets are, only 8 known examples are mentioned in the Southern Shotgun book, their scabbards are immeasurably more scarce, and this example retains its original leather scabbard.
The scabbard has its original brass throat and drag pieces, which are retained by a single brass staple each. Both pieces have been polished to the same finish as the bayonet's hilt. The throat piece shows some filing marks and a mismatched seam where the piece was brazed together. The button that was used to secure the bayonet to its frog has been reattached with some kind of epoxy, some of which is visible around the base of the button.
The leather is still fairly pliable, although the surface has numerous cracks and some flaking. The leather was re-blacked at some point, some of which has work off. The stitching remains tight and I do not see any broken areas. In all, the scabbard is in good condition given its rarity.
This bayonet and scabbard display quite well together and would make an excellent addition to a collection of Confederate blades, or a selection of fine Cook & Brother weapons. These bayonets are quite scarce, and many advanced collections lack one, especially one with the original scabbard.