|Description and Photograph||
If you want to collect one quintessentially Confederate era manufactured D-Guard Bowie with a good, solid Confederate used provenance, this Bowie is as good as it gets. Its owner, William Hardy Burt, crosshatched his first two initials and his full last name into the brass back strap. He also carved a 5 surrounded by a six pointed star into the scabbard.
When Hardy Burt enlisted in Company E, 5th North Carolina Cavalry under Captain Thomas Harris on August 3, 1862 he was a five foot, ten inch, thirty-four year old farmer born and raised in Holly Springs, North Carolina.
The 5th North Carolina Cavalry was officially called the 63rd Regiment North Carolina State Troops but, the men always considered it, and called it, the 5th Cavalry. The 5th first saw combat on the east coast of Carolina at Washington and Plymouth. In the spring of 1863 they were transferred to JEB Stuart’s command in Virginia. The regiment served at Brandy, Upperville, Middleburg, the Gettysburg Campaign and Bristoe. The men were sent home during the winter of 1863 –1864 to recuperate and recruit their horses.
The regiment returned to Virginia in time for the spring campaign. Quickly put to work under James B. Gordon, the regiment pursued Sheridan towards Richmond, trying to hold him until Stuart could get between them and Richmond. Biting at his heels, Gordon brought Sheridan to bay at Ground Squirrel Bridge, until a rash charge and a Rebel yell by the 5th broke Sheridan’s line. In the weeks ahead the 5th skirmished almost daily, first on the outskirts of Richmond and later around Petersburg and through Southside Virginia.
At Five Forks the regiment was virtually destroyed. A few men, including Hardy Burt, regrouped after the battle and made their way towards Lee. After having served over three years in a hard fought cavalry regiment without being wounded, Burt was severely wounded in his right leg at Amelia Court House, Virginia two days before Appomattox.
Private Burt returned home to his family in Holly Springs. His wound never fully recovered but, he lived to the ripe old age of ninety-three. He died a well respected citizen of Holly Springs, involved in political, social and religious affairs until the end.
The huge knife Burt carried is 22” from point to pommel. It is exceptionally well made, having the characteristic quality of an arsenal made product. A most interesting feature is the iron ferrule and brass back strap that is so similar to the Nashville Plow Works Sword. The thin layer of leather over the wooden grip and the birds head pommel are also reminiscent of a Plow Works product. The scabbard is made from a single piece of heavy leather, folded double and riveted together with lead rivets. The toe is made of tin. The scabbard is missing the belt loop but, otherwise is as good as it gets.
I would very much appreciate hearing from anyone who owns one of these rare D-Guards or anyone who has more information on its manufacture.