“The most asked question in the world of knives is a double-edged one: What knife did James Bowie use in the Sandbar Fight and where is it today? James L. Batson provides the best answer yet in his new book.

No one has researched Bowie and Bowie knives as exhaustively as Batson, and his book harvests the fruits of that research in Sherlock Holmes fashion, providing documents, dates and other data that support his claim of the knife in question. While the assertion that the knife in question belonged to Bowie is not new, Batson’s step-by-step analysis of why he believes it was the knife Bowie used in the Sandbar Fight is.

Batson is an award-winning ABS master smith, past ABS chairman, leader of the annual Batson Bladesmithing Symposium and a mentor to scores of bladesmiths wordwide. Among other things, he not only knows how Bowie and other knives were made in Bowie’s time but of which materials, how they were tempered, how they were ground and the nature of their accouterment. Just as important he is familiar withth the top knifemakers of Bowie’s time, the ones who actually built Bowie knives of the type in question and where those makers lived and worked.

Batson takes all this information and forges it into an intriguing who-done-it that supplies the facts in a fashion that makes good old common sense. Along the way he provides much new
information about the Sandbar Fight from the viewpoints of those who were there or knew those who were there, other legendary Bowie knives with links to James and Rezin Bowie, and more.

Hats off to an inspirational bladesmithing leader who provides an engrossing explanation done in the scientific method that must be considered the best proof to date of the specific knife James
Bowie used in the Sandbar Fight, who made it, how and when.”

Steve Shackleford



“James Batson’s extensive and wide ranging contributions to blacksmithing, bladesmithing, and the ongoing study of history as it relates to knives are widely recognized. For decades he’s poured his endless energy into these passions, passing on his enthusiasm to a grateful audience at every opportunity. In this volume, Dr. Batson enhances his 1992 classic “James Bowie and the Sandbar Fight” with a second work containing further explorations into the history of the people, places and circumstances that led to that fateful day on a sandbar above Natchez — the day a man named Bowie wrote the first chapter of his legend with a knife that would come to bear his name. Also presented here is an extensive evaluation of the “Edwin Forrest” knife, from which he draws some intriguing conclusions.

The result is a book that is as entertaining as it is historically reliable, at once a leaping off point for future researchers and a book to be worn dog-eared by knife enthusiasts and history buffs alike.”

Mark D. Zalesky,
Editor-Publisher of KNIFE Magazine
and Bowie knife collector/historian