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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Info On 1864 Ames Dahlgren Bowie Knife Bayonet Please Reply to topic
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Charlie Griffith




Location: United States
Joined: 24 Jul 2014

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu 24 Jul, 2014 4:09 am    Post subject: Info On 1864 Ames Dahlgren Bowie Knife Bayonet Please         Reply with quote

Hi all, first timer here.
I bought this 1864 AMES DAHLGREN BOWIE KNIFE BAYONET from a high end pawn shop here in Miami. They'd authenticated it before making the loan on it.
One thing - mine has a image of an anchor & P GG stamped on the hilt of the blade, on the same side as the 1864 date, the arsenal inspector Daniel Reynolds" DR" initials & USN is stamped. - What do the anchor & P GG mean?
I was told it had something to do with the knife/bayonet being shipped or sold to England, and then it was brought back here for the American civil war - any truth to that?

I appreciate any help - I bought this at a great price (under $1,000) and plan on reselling it. Any information would be a great help in that regard.
Thanks!

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The Miami Picker
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,820

PostPosted: Thu 24 Jul, 2014 2:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Charlie

Welcome aboard

The Dahlgren has an interesting story behind it and some differing stories / truths behind it. Presumably designed by Admiral John Dahlgren during the late 1950s along with a rifled musket, there were more sabre bayonets initially supplied for the Plymouth (ship)-Whitney(musket producer) 1861 rifled musket. Both types of bayonets required individually fitting and in the sabre examples, serial numbered to their mated muskets.

The records of production and delivery for the Dahlgren are a bit incomplete but in inventory after the Civil War, some 6,264 were counted in the USN arsenal.

The P GG on the 1864 bayonets represent Plymouth and inspector/commander Guert Gansevoort. The anchor and letters are correct. The June 1864 delivery noted as merely 500 but as mentioned, Ames records are not complete.

I would disregard the story about transport or export to the UK and back. As they were specifically designed for the 1861 Whitney, few were mounted and as mentioned all the !0,000 or so muskets needed to be hand fitted and those noted that were, used the sabre bayonet. I highly doubt they were sold as surplus but the muskets with sabre bayonets may have ended up in third world use. It is of course entirely possible an example has made a two way trans-Atlantic journey. The final ordnance disposition of them most possibly sold off as generally useless aside from utility work. The thought of them being used as fighting knives a bit ludicrous, in my opinion. Ships arms were racked or stowed and as the Dahlgrens are rarely found to have ever been mounted/fitted, a novelty then as it is now (however desirable). This entire paragraph just my speculations based on existing notes I am familiar with.

Further reading and notes in some detail can be found in


Rankin's 1972 Small Arms of the Sea Services isbn 0-910598-10-x ( the most complete story of the rifled musket, both bayonets and their fitting difficulties)

John Hamilton's 1983 The Ames Sword Company 1829-1935 isbn 0-917218-18-3

Ron Hickox's 1992 Collector's Guide to Ames U.S. Contract Military Edged Weapons isbn 1-877704-11-3

Cheers

GC
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,820

PostPosted: Thu 24 Jul, 2014 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://relicman.com/weapons/zArchiveWeaponMusketNavyPlymouth.htm

http://milpas.cc/rifles/ZFiles/Sporting%20Rif...Rifle.html

http://www.rockislandauction.com/viewitem/aid/56/lid/3079

One will occasionally see a musket set up for a Dahlgren bowie and I have seen a scant number of serialized bowie bayonets but have never seen a complete fitted pair together. Note the rail/lug fitments on the side.of the musket barrel below
http://jamesdjulia.com/item/lot-1683-whitney-...fle-45433/

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-dahlgren-...864.20257/

Cheers

GC[/img]



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Charlie Griffith




Location: United States
Joined: 24 Jul 2014

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu 24 Jul, 2014 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Glen! Very informative! This is what I found that supposedly came - at least in part - from letters by Adm. Dahlgren himself. See below.

Can you tell me why all but 1 other one I've been able to find do not have the P GG & anchor (the other one with the P GG & anchor was also a 1864)? Is this one more rare (like the 500 est.) because of the P GG & anchor markings?

I agree the shipping overseas, getting stamped, and then being sent back for the war was wrong (I tried googling that every way possible & nada).

Again, thank you Glen; tou've been an incredible help to me. Below is story I found researching it - now I am going to see what I have to do to place this in your market here!
Cheers!


Ames' Dahlgren Pattern USN Bowie Bayonet:

The first Knife Bladed bayonet is considered to be the Model 1861 for the Plymouth / Whitneyville rifle. It is perhaps better known by its nickname the Dahlgren Bowie Bayonet, named for it inventor Admiral John A. Dahlgren.

Many articles have been written about the Dahlgren bayonet but what is most intriguing are the actual letters from the Admiral himself regarding its design and use. As we know the basic use of a bayonet is mounted to the end of a rifle or musket. To Dahlgren's thinking this is not the proper use of his newly invented arm. It should be known that Admiral Dahlgren was in command of several Navy ships and knew first hand what close quarters fighting was about. With this in mind perhaps we can relate to the admirals thought when he wrote that the bayonet was best used in the hand not mounted on the end of the rifle it was designed for.

It is also interesting to note that the 1861 rifle already had a sword bayonet designed for it at the time of Dahlgren's invention of the new bayonet. In Dahlgren's own words he called it the "most useless thing in the world except at the end of a musket." Perhaps this explains why most Dahlgren bayonets DO NOT fit the Model 1861 rifle! They were meant to, but they were also designed to be used as a close quarters fighting weapon in a sailor's or marine's hand.

The Admiral invented a bayonet because a knife would not be sanctioned by the Ordnance Board. But being the clever fellow he was the bayonet did not really have to fit the rifle either! The Dahlgren Bowie was made for the kind of brutal, up-close combat that unfolds during boarding actions, shore landings, and similar events.

The Miami Picker
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,820

PostPosted: Thu 24 Jul, 2014 4:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Ames' Dahlgren Pattern USN Bowie Bayonet:

The first Knife Bladed bayonet is considered to be the Model 1861 for the Plymouth / Whitneyville rifle. It is perhaps better known by its nickname the Dahlgren Bowie Bayonet, named for it inventor Admiral John A. Dahlgren.

Many articles have been written about the Dahlgren bayonet but what is most intriguing are the actual letters from the Admiral himself regarding its design and use. As we know the basic use of a bayonet is mounted to the end of a rifle or musket. To Dahlgren's thinking this is not the proper use of his newly invented arm. It should be known that Admiral Dahlgren was in command of several Navy ships and knew first hand what close quarters fighting was about. With this in mind perhaps we can relate to the admirals thought when he wrote that the bayonet was best used in the hand not mounted on the end of the rifle it was designed for.

It is also interesting to note that the 1861 rifle already had a sword bayonet designed for it at the time of Dahlgren's invention of the new bayonet. In Dahlgren's own words he called it the "most useless thing in the world except at the end of a musket." Perhaps this explains why most Dahlgren bayonets DO NOT fit the Model 1861 rifle! They were meant to, but they were also designed to be used as a close quarters fighting weapon in a sailor's or marine's hand.

The Admiral invented a bayonet because a knife would not be sanctioned by the Ordnance Board. But being the clever fellow he was the bayonet did not really have to fit the rifle either! The Dahlgren Bowie was made for the kind of brutal, up-close combat that unfolds during boarding actions, shore landings, and similar events.


This is all badly paraphrased and misquoted from both the Rankin pages and the correspondence with Ames that can be found in the Hickox guide. The quoted section above from that other thread linked.

Cheers

GC
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Charlie Griffith




Location: United States
Joined: 24 Jul 2014

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu 24 Jul, 2014 4:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know alot about bayonets - but I Love the way the Admiral got his knife/bayonet passed - even if it didn't fit the rifle - to give his men weapons they could better use to defend themselves in close up fighting besides the sabre bayonet.
I like this Adm. Dahlgren!
Thanks again for all your help, Glen.

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