An extremely rare yataghan sword bayonet for the 1863 Whitworth rifled musket. Only 8,200 Whitworth rifles were made. One thousand of these rifles were sold to the Confederate forces during the American Civil War.
The Whitworth rifle was the most accurate rifle available at the time and was issued to Confederate snipers. In the UK, the rifle was issued to the Rifle Brigade and to several guards regiments. Despite their accuracy, the cost of production and the need for constant cleaning to maintain accuracy meant that the British Army never adopted them in great numbers.
The Whitworth sword bayonet is almost identical to the 1856 pattern Enfield sword bayonet, differing only in having a smaller muzzle ring and a circular mounting hole below the mortise slot.
The 580mm heavy recurved (yataghan) blade has a broad, flat spine and a 190mm upper false edge. The single edged blade is deeply fullered on both sides and terminates in a spear point. The blade is bright and clean without damage or rust. There are a few tiny nicks to the edge and a pale, mottled age patina (more apparent on one side). The ricasso bears the crowned VR cypher of Queen Victoria while the obverse bears an Enfield inspection stamp. The spine is stamped with the letter J.
The steel hilt and crosspiece are in good condition, the crosspiece terminating in a disk finial opposite the coxcomb muzzle ring. The beaked steel pommel bears an Enfield inspection stamp at the top of the mortice slot. The press-stud and leaf spring are in good working order. The leather grip scales are in good condition and each scale bears an Enfield inspection mark.
The bayonet is complete with its original issue scabbard. The leather scabbard with steel furniture is in excellent condition. The frog stud is stamped with the issue number 239.
This bayonet came from the sale of a closed museum and the back of the scabbard throat bears the museum’s catalogue stickers.
This is a very rare mid-19th Century British sword bayonet in excellent condition.