Museum Custer's Bowie knife. Would an officer really need a Bowie knife?

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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I was at a museum today and on display was a Bowie knife made by Eliza E. Frazer for George Custer. Here it is.
g cus.jpg


I was wondering if an officer really needed a Bowie knife. I am not sure what an officer would use a Bowie knife for. A private, other than foe fighting, could use a Bowie knife to clear bush, chop wood, cook a piece of meat on, etc. A typical officers would do none of these tasks and I am not sure what use a Bowie knife would be to an officer
 

ucvrelics

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I really have my doubts that this was Custer's, was there any documentation or just that blurry photo and tag? As far as officers and these items, a lot of makers would give them in order to promote sales but this ain't one of them IMHO
 
I was at a museum today and on display was a Bowie knife made by Eliza E. Frazer for George Custer. Here it is.
View attachment 398063

I was wondering if an officer really needed a Bowie knife. I am not sure what an officer would use a Bowie knife for. A private, other than foe fighting, could use a Bowie knife to clear bush, chop wood, cook a piece of meat on, etc. A typical officers would do none of these tasks and I am not sure what use a Bowie knife would be to an officer
Did he carry it during the Civil War or during the Indian Wars? If during the Indian Wars, that may be clue as to what it could be used for.
 

Rebforever

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Oct 26, 2012
I was at a museum today and on display was a Bowie knife made by Eliza E. Frazer for George Custer. Here it is.
View attachment 398063

I was wondering if an officer really needed a Bowie knife. I am not sure what an officer would use a Bowie knife for. A private, other than foe fighting, could use a Bowie knife to clear bush, chop wood, cook a piece of meat on, etc. A typical officers would do none of these tasks and I am not sure what use a Bowie knife would be to an officer
When Custer was hunting with his dogs, he may have had one. There are pictures of him with his hunting dogs and might be able to see it.
 

major bill

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I am sorry I did not get a better photograph of the Custer Bowie knife, I guess the camera moved a bit. The signage did not give a date for when Eliza E. Frazer made it for Custer. The Bowie knife was not very fancy and I wondered if it was a presentation item or intended to be useful. If Mr. Frazer made it as a presentation knife one would think it would be of higher quality.

I may visit Monroe in a week or so to visit a CWT forum member and if the museum is open that day I will try to take a better photograph. The museum in Monroe is open for limited hours and limited visitors. Basically you go the back door of the museum, buzz the bell and see if they will let you in. Does this make me a 'backdoor man'?
 

major bill

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If this was made by Frazer for Custer it would be engraved ie: "Presented To GA Custer" etc etc etc, Its just another wanna be item.

Museums do make mistakes and one would have to believe the people who gave it to the museum. Perhaps some forum member from the Detroit or Monroe area has more information on this Bowie knife. My wife and I were driving through Monroe so I stopped at the museum to see if I could take some images of a couple Civil War flags. Like I pointed out in post #6 I felt like a bit of an intruder walking about a "limited" open museum all alone in the museum except for the person who buzzed me in. Besides that my wife was waiting for me in the car so I did not take too much time to take photos.
 

ucvrelics

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Museums do make mistakes and one would have to believe the people who gave it to the museum. Perhaps some forum member from the Detroit or Monroe area has more information on this Bowie knife. My wife and I were driving through Monroe so I stopped at the museum to see if I could take some images of a couple Civil War flags. Like I pointed out in post #6 I felt like a bit of an intruder walking about a "limited" open museum all alone in the museum except for the person who buzzed me in. Besides that my wife was waiting for me in the car so I did not take too much time to take photos.
What ever they say I guess is yada yada yada
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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A second Custer owned Bowie knife.
Bowie 4.jpg


I also took this photo as I walked by another display case. The signage claims it is a captured Louisiana Tigers short sword captured on the Chickaminy and given to Custer. Looks like a long Bowie knife to me but the museum says it is a short sword. When did the member of the 4th Michigan Infantry give it to George Custer? Again I hope we have a Detroit or Monroe forum member who could give us more information on this short sword.
 

Skilledhunter

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Jan 21, 2021
Well, I can’t tell a thing from that photo...but the Bowie period really ended around 1871, with the advancement in metallic cartridges and the Colt revolver.....Bowie’s knives got smaller and we refer to them as Bowie hunters now. So it probably was a Bowie style knife ..but more utilitarian not a fighting knife.
 

CW Appraiser

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A second Custer owned Bowie knife.
View attachment 398066

I also took this photo as I walked by another display case. The signage claims it is a captured Louisiana Tigers short sword captured on the Chickaminy and given to Custer. Looks like a long Bowie knife to me but the museum says it is a short sword. When did the member of the 4th Michigan Infantry give it to George Custer? Again I hope we have a Detroit or Monroe forum member who could give us more information on this short sword.
This is a classic Confederate clip point D-Guard bowie attributed to Louis Froelich at his impressive sounding "Confederate States Armory" located in Kenansville, NC. My 2012 co-authored text "Confederate Bowie Knives" attributes to same maker but possibly these were made in Richmond, VA according to another article, regardless it is rare form by manufacturer as most are doubled edged and not clip point.
 
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