1775-1783 period correct fighting knife?

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Or is there such a thing as a dedicated “fighting knife” for this period? Knife fighting couldn’t have been a odd thing during this time, everyone must have carried one for general use, but any specific type for the “military?”
Anyone have photos (real or repros) or drawings of fixed blade knives the Continental Army or Militia would be carrying?
 

Loyalist Dave

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The earliest "pattern" that I know of was the 1849 Rifleman's knife, which may have been issued as of 1841-1845...,

From what may be gleaned from records at a frontier trading post, namely George Morgan's store in Kaskaskia in the 1760,'s, it appears the guys with rifles preferred an inexpensive butcher knife. That was also the case with Meeshach Browning, author of Forty-four Years in The Life of a Hunter, which was penned after 1800, and he too preferred a butcher knife. I mention this wide range of dates, as it seems to show an established trend.

However, we don't know if that was preferred because they had a choice, or if the best knife from what was available was a good sized butcher knife. Today we see all sorts of custom made knives, but whether that was the norm, or the trading post butcher knife was the norm, is anybody's guess.

I prefer a good carbon steel, plain, butcher knife with small steel pins. To be even more accurate, I really should have a half-tang, knife, with a boxwood handle, and two, small steel pins, but mine is full tang, with three pins in a yellow poplar wood handle.

BUT I'm very Scottish, and such a blade is sharp, and inexpensive, which I like.

LD
 
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kid_couteau

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I think it would depend on the country.
Spaniards of non officer rank may have carried a navaja or similar

Corsicans a vendetta style knife

I am not an expert in this area but I think you will find that many soldiers carried whatever they had available so probably cultural type knives of their country.

Hope this helps
KC
 
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Okay thanks Dave.
Now I have a name upon which to try my google-fu.
Not looking for a exact replica (though that’d be nice) but looking to capture the look and feel.
 
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I think it would depend on the country.
Spaniards of non officer rank may have carried a navaja or similar

Corsicans a vendetta style knife

I am not an expert in this area but I think you will find that many soldiers carried whatever they had available so probably cultural type knives of their country.

Hope this helps
KC
No doubt you are right about “whatever was available” and cultural considerations for the time but, in this electronic age, I have fewer constraints.
 
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Modern interpretation of the 1849 Rifleman’s knife. At least the first one to pop up being called that. Looks nice.
 

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kid_couteau

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Hi
Are you specifically talking about USA military of that time period?

That would be a bit easier. You probably would have seen a lot of rough made knives by the local blacksmith, trade knives and maybe even some high end knives. Butcher knives things like that. Broken sword blades turned into knives.
 

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Yes sorry. I didn’t specifically say “USA” just Continental.
For the time period in your title, the 1849 is a little late.
For most Colonial or early American use, whatever knife one had would have been used should things get that bad. Mostly trade knives, butcher knives, and maybe closer to the coast large filet knives.... whatever was sharp and handy.

Keeping in mind that what most people think of when they think of "knife fighting" is total b.s. 💩
 
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Everything LD said is spot on. Except the "issued" part. I believe most Rev. Riflemen brought what they had or got something made by a local blacksmith. A preferred (fighting) knife had a blade 10" to 14" long. After researching the subject this is what I had made in 1976. The blade is 11 1/2" long.
riflemans knife.JPG
 
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Or is there such a thing as a dedicated “fighting knife” for this period? Knife fighting couldn’t have been a odd thing during this time, everyone must have carried one for general use, but any specific type for the “military?”
Anyone have photos (real or repros) or drawings of fixed blade knives the Continental Army or Militia would be carrying?
I believe many people had need of a knife at the time. But a specific knife just for fighting probably would have been pretty rarified.
 
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Or is there such a thing as a dedicated “fighting knife” for this period? Knife fighting couldn’t have been a odd thing during this time, everyone must have carried one for general use, but any specific type for the “military?”
Anyone have photos (real or repros) or drawings of fixed blade knives the Continental Army or Militia would be carrying?
Here's a LOT of the info commonly found all over the internet on period fixed blade knives and sort of wrapped up in one link:

Gus
 

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In the rural southern mountains and southward, fighting was brutal. Commonly one lost and eye, or an ear, or fingers. There were NO rules (just like a real fight these days) - and very rarely recriminations for what you did to your opponent. So to say what we have heard about knife fighting being BS is not accurate - a brawl could easily be life-ending, if not just merely crippling.

David
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Thanks for the link. While I read and search I picked up the “Riflemen’s Knife” above, made by Cold Steel, at 50% off.
Not period correct but until I find and get one…nice knife! I’m a sucker for American military related items.
 
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Except for the well to do, I would think most knives used for fighting or self-defense came from the kitchen. Many of the early knives I've seen if photos and paintings look to be not much more then butcher or chef's knives. The dedicated fighting knifes would have cost more than most could afford, unless they made them themselves.
 
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Let me start by being clear that I have not studied this in depth at all, and these are just my thoughts based on what I happened to have seen over the years reading various primary and secondary sources on the history of the period, and much of that reading was a decade ago.

I imagine that many men in the Continental Army did not carry any sort of real "fighting knife," especially those from the coast and cities. While a select few men may have carried dirks or daggers, those don't appear to have been all that common here. I would imagine many men did have knifes on them for general use, probably something fairly convenient to carry like a pocket knife or some other general purpose belt knife that they could use in camp. Those armed with proper muskets would have had bayonets. The woodsmen types probably carried their usual hunting/"butcher" knives. Some of the more gentlemanly men had hunting swords and smallswords.

Knife fighting and fighting knives became a bit of a craze in the 19th century, and just about everyone you see armed in photos has a "Bowie" knife or decent sized belt knife in the antebellum and Civil War era.

FYI, the whole Americans being called "Long Knives" or "Big Knives" thing by the Natives is more complicated than it sounds like and may not be related to knives at all but rather swords and/or an issue of Iroquois semantics and originally had to do with the governor of Virginia and then Virginians more broadly. I haven't read the book in quite a while, but I want to say that this is discussed in one of Daniel Richter's excellent books, probably "Before the Revolution."

If you look up "trade knives," I imagine those were the most common types of knives being carried. The huge ones probably weren't as common given they would have been more cumbersome for most men, and the war was fought with muskets and bayonets far more than anything else.
 
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