QUESTION: I have a bayonet that has been identified by family members as belonging to two different relatives. One great grandfather who fought in the civil war and another grandfather who fought in France during WWI. It clearly was made by Solingen and has "A&E Holl" markings above the company name. Please help clarify in which conflict this bayonet/sabre was used.
What you have is a sword bayonet. It looks to be a German Model 1871 which precludes it from being used in our Civil War. The civil war did see similar sword bayonets used by both sides intiially particularly by the Zouave troops (dressed in the style and manner of North African colonial French Troops with colorful blousy trousers, short waist coats and Fez hats.
These were quickly replaced by the familiar triangular socket bayonets.
They stayed in use in Europe.
Several ways to tell what you have. First the muzzle hole will be larger on civil war bayonets and the bayonet handguard is simpler being straight with the ring on one side and a straight extension on the other.
The 1871 was for use on the Gewehr M1871 rifle in 11 mm and had a smaller barrel diameter than the .58 caliber springfields and enfields used in the Civil War.
Look at the markings. On the upper blade edge just before the cross piece you should see some stampings. A crown, a letter and a number. The crown designates it was made during the "Imperial" period. The letter probably a W designates Kaiser Willhelm, the number is the last two numbers of the year 18-. Other markings will designate the regiment, and the number of the weapon as they were inventoried by the regiment by number when issued.
Here is an example of another like it.
If you can send me the markings or pictures of them, I can fill in more details of its provenance.
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QUESTION: The markings indicate it was made in 1861.
Don't know about the date, since the model was introduced in 1871. You might be mistaking the regimental number for the date.
If you see a number like so: 22.R.6.114
The 22 is the regiment, the R means Infantry
The 6 is the company in the regiment.
The 114 would be the bayonet number in that company.