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by Charlie McCulloh

This is one of the recovered items from the CSS Jackson. I have always been interested in the lowly pocketknife. Although ordinary and mundane it is truly one of the most universally carried items by soldiers, sailors and civilians. The basic structure has not varied since its inception. The large display of recovered pocketknives at the 1850’s steamboat Arabia Museum show knives that look remarkably like what we carry today. As you will see in the photos the knife is of standard construction, looking very similar to the sutler G.G. Godwin’s 18th Century knife. The overall length is about 10 inches when extended and at one time had attached with three brads wooden handle facings. Most of the wooden handle material is gone. The handle appears to be approximately ¾” wide and has metal facing caps at both ends. Construction is standard with the one blade encasement. Due to deterioration I can’t tell if the blade was originally locking. The overall look of the item is of simple construction designed for utility use. Considering the age and the fact that this was recovered from a wreak site, I would consider this an excellent specimen of what a Confederate sailor would carry in his pocket.

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