Possibly the greatest individual grouping of an identified Confederate D-Guard Bowie ever assembled. These are wonderful examples of the products made at the former prison in Georgia that was turned into a manufactory or "Georgia Armory". Here are two Milledgeville D-Guards, a nearly mint example along with a second river find. The mint example is surely the best conditioned example known and is accompanied with its equally impressive sheath, belt and capture tag. In 2003, the knife surfaced on the Antique Roadshow. It was brought in by Mrs. Lorraine Nelson Lindfors of Wisconsin. She said her grandfather, Capt. Isaac C. Nelson had brought this knife home from the Civil War as a souvenir. Capt. Nelson was with the 89th Ohio and marched through Georgia with Sherman. The capture tag that Capt Nelson affixed to the scabbard reads;
"Confederate short sword Nov 24, 1864
Sherman’s march to the sea
This was never used but similar ones were found
on battle fields in the South.
Prior to the discovery of this knife, it was thought that this pattern of knife was made in Richmond. This is THE knife that identified ALL of the Georgia Contract Bowies! It is probably the most published Confederate Bowie. It is in "The Updated Confederate Bowie Knife Guide" by Lee Hadaway, "Confederate Bowie Knives of the Georgia State Arsenal" by Josh Phillips, and "Confederate Bowie Knives" by Melton, Phillips & Sexton. It is also featured in an article in North South Trader’s Civil War Vol. 35 No 2/2010. It is accompanied by the complete military & pension records of Capt. Nelson, a copy of Capt’s Nelson’s diary that pertains to the knife and a video of the knife on the Antique Roadshow.
It has never been offered publicly before and has never been sold by a dealer. It has always transferred from collector to collector.
It is also accompanied with its original Milledgeville belt, plucked from the factory upon the arrival of Union troops and all fully documented. The knife, sheath and belt are virtually perfect. With a huge 18" blade, the knife is 23 & 3/4" long, of classic Confederate form and is the standard by which all others might be judged.
This second knife or "River Find' knife was also in the arsenal at the same time as the Nelson knife. The Yankees destroyed 1500 Bowies, many by throwing them in the Oconee river which ran behind the arsenal. In the mid 1980s some relic hunters set up a dredging and diving operation to try and recover some of the relics. They pulled up hundreds of artillery shells but less than 10 knives. Most of the knives recovered were in very bad shape. This is one is of best of the recovered knives. It still retains its grip and a remnant of the leather scabbard that was protected under the tin tip.The second knife is also of the same maker and is documented as having been recovered from the river adjacent to the factory. All details of these knives as well as full documentation are available on request. For the finest Bowie or Georgia collection.