Specializing in Authentic Civil War Artifacts
  • Louis Froelich Arms-Maker to the Confederacy by Chris E. Fonvielle Jr. and John McAden, Jr.


    Louis Froelich Arms-Maker to the Confederacy by Chris E. Fonvielle Jr. and John McAden, Jr. - Inventory Number: BOO 056

    Military arms collectors and museum curators have long sought and prized the serviceable swords, sabers, cutlasses, bayonets, and bowie knives known as "Kenansville" weapons, denoting the small town in Duplin County, North Carolina where many of them were manufactured for the Confederacy. One of the most recognizable Kenansville staff and field swords features "CSA" (Confederate States of America) cast into the knucklebow of its brass guard.

    Extant Kenansville blades offer useful information about weaponry and technology during the Civil War, but less about the man--Louis Froelich, a Bavarian-born industrialist and entrepreneur--who designed and manufactured them. Highly skilled and ambitious, Froelich exploited old-world craftsmanship to make weapons and military equipment for both the North Carolina and Confederate quartermaster departments. In September 1861, he established an arms-manufacturing business known as the Wilmington Sword Factory on the Cape Fear River in southeastern North Carolina. When a destructive fire burned him out in early 1863, Froelich rebuilt his business in nearby Kenansville, the town with which he and his weapons are most closely identified. There he continued to produce weapons until the end of the war.

    For more than forty years, John W. McAden, Jr. has acquired Froelich-made edged weapons, putting together one of the finest collections of its kind in the country. Determined to share his finds with like-minded enthusiasts, McAden had his collection photographed, principally by Jack W. Melton, Jr., the most respected photographer of Civil War products. McAden also examined extant and unique Froelich weapons in other private collections and public institutions, receiving permission to photograph examples for this book.

    Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr., a professor of Civil War history at UNC Wilmington, scoured newspapers, manuscripts, and official documents for information on Louis Froelich's business operations and his personal life. Together McAden and Fonvielle have put together a fascinating study of a man, his weapons, and the Civil War in Louis Froelich: Arms-Maker to the Confederacy.