My book Bowie Knife Fights, Fighters, and Fighting Techniques is available from Paladin Press. This blog contains additional information about the bowie knife, as well as the fighting knives of other nations.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Bowie-Knife Armed Confederate Dies at Manassas

Beautiful Randall Bowie--few knives of anything like this quality were found among Confederate troops.
 
The first major land battle between Union and Confederate troops was the Battle of Bull Run, or the First Battle of Manassas as it is known in the South, fought on July 21, 1861, near Washington, DC. To the consternation of the North, Union troops broke and ran in the face of a strong Confederate counterattack. The collapse of Northern morale was attributed by many Southerners to the fearsome bowie knives in the hands of their troops, which brings up a story told in the Atlanta Constitution of September 28, 1888,  about how a Northern Zouave killed his first Confederate.
He said that he marched out to the battle of Bull Run, and when about half way there he met a Johnny Reb in ambush.
  
“What did you do then?” I asked.
  
“Well, sir,” he answered, “I drew out my revolver and he drew out his bowie knife, then I took the lead from the start and kept it clear into Washington City, and -- “
  
“But how did you kill the man?”
  
“Run him to death!” was the reply.

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