Any soldier will tell you that equipment gets damaged or broken in the field. In some cases the soldier will be charged for the broken or lost piece of equipment. In some cases the soldier, or someone else, will keep that piece of broken equipment. On occasion the soldier will find a good use for that broken piece of Army property.
This rather vicious knife started life as a bayonet for an M1842 musket. Through some trick of fate it was broken. An industrious smith with access to a saw and a grinding wheel cut away the socket and ground down part of the blade to create the tang. A little more work with a draw knife and some scrap wood created a usable handle and viola a knife was reborn from a damaged bayonet.
Who made it or when I do not know. It came to my tavern one night tucked into the boot of a would be tough who felt one of my customers had wronged him somehow. The young fool was determined to start a fight. As the young tough had no intention of paying for a drink before he picked the fight I persuaded him that carrying such a tool in his boot might be dangerous. After all, someone might get hurt. As I was the man holding a rifle at the moment it was most likely to be him. While I have no problem with an occasional fist thrown about in my tavern when a young fool brings a knife intending to start a fight he is taking it too far. The man he was hoping to pick a fight with is a good hard working man but most importantly he is a paying customer. When I am given the choice between a loyal paying customer and a foolish child who thinks himself a tough man there is no choice. The paying customer is always right.
I kept the knife and the young mans boots as well as his trousers and jacket. I am no savage, I allowed him to keep his hat and his drawers as it is several miles back to town from my place. Contrary to the accusations he leveled afterwards I did not rob him.
When the sheriff arrived to speak to me of the incident I handed him the boys jacket and trousers. I then showed him the knife and gave him a list of the men who had been in the tavern that night if he might wish to question men that might back my side of the story. The sheriff knew me as an old soldier and trusted my word enough that I suffered no problems from the law.
I saw the fool the next time I went to town with my mule cart for supplies. He hefted a hammer as to strike me and called me some rather rude names. I said nothing and merely inserted my rifle into his stomach and brought it to full cock. I rather suspect the muzzle of my M1841 jammed into his belly felt rather uncomfortable.
I walked him to the Sheriff’s office and let him have his say with the Sheriff. I was some impressed that the Sheriff advised him that there was good work on the railroad off to the west. In thanks to the Sheriff’s eloquence I gave the fool his jacket and trousers back. Though I will admit that I kept his shoes and the hammer. The hammer needed a better sort of home and the shoes were new. Good footwear is not inexpensive.