When I acquired this sailors knife many years ago I had no idea who Lt. B.K. Howell was although I did know about the CSS Sumter . It turns out he was CSA Pres. Jefferson Davis' brother-in-law. Howell was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the U.S Marines on Aug.1st, 1860 . He resigned on March 1st, 1861 and was comissioned a 1st Lt. in the CSA Marine corp.on March 29th,1861. He was shortly thereafter assigned to the CSS. Sumter under the command of Rapheal Semmes and put in charge of the Marine Guard. When Semmes was assembling his Officers for the CSS Alabama , Howell was included. He participated in the famous battle with the USS Kearsarge off Cherbourg, France and after the sinking was rescued from the water by the English yacht Deerhound. He wasn't able to complete his journey back to the States before the War ended.
The knife is a typical sailors knife of the Civil War period . It's blade is 7 1/4" with some engaving and is 11" o/a .The cross guard has a nice clam shell design. It comes with it's original scabbard which is in very good shape. The knife was dropped at one time which dented it's pommel and chipped out the LL in Howell. This was crudely glued back in place. I believe the scrimshaw on the handle was done by Lt. Howell himself when he first shipped out on the Sumter as it's very crude and exhibits much wear and a great patina over it..