Confederate Bowie Knife

This bowie knife was found on the battlefield of Perryville, Kentucky. It is brass mounted and has wooden grips and a blade 12 7/8 inches long. The bowie is usually classified as any large knife with a chipped point. This type of knife was popular from the 1840s through 1865. They were used by United States troops during the Mexican War and on the frontier during the disturbances in Kansas and Missouri in the 1850s. They were also popular with troopers during the Civil War, especially with Confederates, whose arms generally were inferior to the Yankees.

Description (physical):

L: 12.875"

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington,District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.019
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Ketchum’s Patent Hand Grenades

Creator:
William F. Ketchum

These hand grenades were designed and patented by William F. Ketchum of Buffalo, New York. They were designed to be thrown like a dart, and upon impact, an internal plunger would strike a percussion cap that would ignite the powder. Made as one-, three-, and five-pounder grenades, they were used by both the federal army and navy. Ketchum grenades have been recovered at Petersburg, Port Hudson, Vicksburg, and in the USS Cairo, the Union gunboat that was sunk in the Yazoo River in Mississippi.

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington,District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.02
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Pike

Pole-arms were not widely used during the American Civil War, in fact, United States cavalry rarely used lances as did European cavalry. American cavalry was patterned more along the lines of dragoons or mounted riflemen, where the horse was used primarily as transportation to the battlefield. European cavalry, on the other hand, maintained the lance, even until World War I, for close-action cavalry charges. There were, however, a few regiments and companies of lancers organized during the Civil War, the most well known being Rush’s Lancers from Pennsylvania. One problem with lances was that they were only effective in a charge, and the lances were difficult to carry through rugged forests. Rush’s Lancers realized the burden they were carrying and turned in their lances in May 1863. The Confederacy also used lances and pikes, not by choice, but because they were weapons that could easily be made to arm the troops. There was a variety of pole-arms manufactured by the Confederacy during the Civil War. Some were made with a double-edged blade at the end of a seven-foot pole. Another type was known as a “bridle-cutter pike,” which was similar to the aforementioned pole-arm but with an extension of a crescent-shaped blade at a right angle to the main blade that was used to cut the bridles of enemy soldiers. The most interesting pikes were those made with a retractable blade. A fourth type had a cloverleaf design and were known as “Joe Brown Pikes.” These were named after Joseph E. Brown, the governor of Georgia. In February 1862 he issued a call to the state's mechanics to manufacture 10,000 pikes to arm the troops. They did not have enough firearms to arm every soldier, and the pike was an easy and cheap weapon to manufacture. As the governor stated, "the short range pike and terrible knife, when brought within their proper range, (as they can be almost in a moment) and wielded by a stalwart patriot’s arm, never fail to fire and never waste a single load.”

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington,District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.021
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Confederate Saber

Creator:
Confederate States Armory

This saber has the initials “CSA” between the bands of the brass knuckle guard, and was made by the Confederate States Armory in Kenansville, North Carolina.

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington,District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.022
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

General McClellan’s Sword

This saber and scabbard were owned by Major General George B. McClellan, U.S. Army. It is a cavalry officers’s saber, Model 1840. This model sword was used by cavalry officers, Union and Confederate, during the Civil War.

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington, District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.023
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

General Sheridan’s Sword

General Philip H. Sheridan used this saber in the Civil War. The scabbard is engraved with the names of battles in which he participated.

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington,District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.024
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

General Sherman's sword

Creator:
Ames Manufacturing Company

General William T. Sherman wore this Model 1850 staff and field officers’s sword during the battle of Shiloh, April 6–8, 1862. It was manufactured by Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts.

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington,District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.025
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Jeb Stuart’s Pistol

This English-made, cased Tranter revolver was given to Confederate Major General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart by Heros von Borcke. Von Borcke was a Prussian officer who took leave from his country’s services to serve in the American Civil War. He served as Stuart’s chief of staff, with the rank of major, until he was seriously wounded at Middleburg, Virginia, in June 1863. That same month, von Borcke gave this revolver to Stuart, in the expectation that Stuart would have attained the rank of lieutenant general. Stuart had hopes of receiving this rank after commanding “Stonewall” Jackson’s corps when that officer was mortally wounded during the battle of Chancellorsville. Unfortunately he never obtained that rank, but the inscription on the cover of the cased revolver states: “LT. GEN J.E.B. STUART C.S.A. CULPEPPER, VA JUNE 1863/ FROM HEROS VON BORCKE.”

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington,District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.027
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

"Winchester," General Sheridan's horse

Presented by officers of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry to General Sheridan in Rienzi, Mississippi, in 1862, this black horse was ridden by him in nearly every engagement in which he participated during the remainder of the Civil War, including the occasion of his ride from Winchester to Cedar Creek, Virginia, October 19, 1864, immortalized by Thomas Buchanan Read in his poem entitled, “Sheridan’s Ride.” After the Battle of Cedar Creek, the name of the horse was changed by General Sheridan from Rienzi to Winchester. Standing sixteen hands high and of Morgan blood, he was, in Sheridan’s words, “an animal of great intelligence and immense strength and endurance. He always held his head high, and by the quickness of his movements gave many persons the idea that he was exceedingly impetuous. This was not so, for I could at any time control him by a firm hand and a few words, and he was as cool and quiet under fire as one of my soldiers. I doubt if his superior as a horse for field service was ever ridden by any one.” The saddle, bridle, and other trappings shown on Winchester were used by General Sheridan.

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington,District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.03
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Lemat Revolver

This .42 caliber LeMat revolver has a nine-chambered cylinder and weighs about four pounds. What makes this revolver unique is the addition of a second smoothbore barrel, of approximately .63 caliber, underneath the barrel. This larger barrel was designed to fire buckshot. The top of the hammer was fitted with a pivoting striker that could be rotated to fire the .42 caliber rounds or changed to fire the lower, larger barrel. This percussion revolver was designed by Dr. Jean Alexandre Francois LeMat, of New Orleans. LeMat was assisted in this enterprise by P. G. T. Beauregard, one of the Confederacy’s well known generals. These revolvers were manufactured from 1856 to 1865, with less than 2,900 being produced. They were made in Paris, France, and Birmingham, England. Many were purchased by the Confederacy and used by such famous high-ranking Confederate officers as J. E. B. Stuart.

Location:
Constitution Ave. between 12th and 14th Sts. NW Washington,District of Columbia 20560
Identifier:
0.015
Institution:
Smithsonian National Museum of American History