Confederate Georgia Style Pike

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Confederate Georgia Style Pike – During the Civil War, literally thousands of pikes were manufactured in the South; although a vast array of styles are known, those that typically have a double-edged blade, iron cross guard and long, riveted side straps, have generally been entitled “Georgia Pikes”. Indeed, in early 1862, the governor of Georgia, Joseph E. Brown, asked the state’s machinists and blacksmiths to manufacture up to 10,000 military style pikes. Although exceedingly cumbersome and almost useless as dependable weapons, many of these pikes were actually manufactured. This example, which remains in very good condition, measures about 86” in length; it has the typical, Georgia style iron, double-edged blade, iron cross guard and long, riveted side straps. At the base of the blade, on one side, just above the cross guard, is a deeply impressed 8-arm, asterisk-like symbol which may be the original maker’s hallmark. The pike shaft appears to be hard, seasoned oak and is complete in length and remains in excellent condition. Interestingly, when we obtained this pike, it had an old, price tag still attached to the shaft, just below the cross guard that reads: “Original CSA Georgia Pike / Norm Flayderman purchase / 1960s”. Also attached to the shaft, a short ways below the old price tag label, is what appears to be a printed description from one of Norm Flayderman’s old catalogs; this description reads as follows:

CONFEDERATE PIKE made to arm the civilian populace for a last ditch stand against the advancing Yankees. Known as the ‘Georgia Pike.’ 12” d.e. spear point blade with deep hall mark maker’s mk; looks like 8-point star design (unidentified) but rarely observed. Deep age brown metal VG+. Still mounted on its orig. 6 ft. wood shaft with long iron side straps & exc. Fine example ……….

This is a fine example of an early war, Confederate pike; we obtained it from the collection of a long time Civil War enthusiast, who was a frequent visitor to the Bannerman castle, in the Hudson River, and Norm Flayderman’s Connecticut shop, in the 1960s.

*From an article about Civil War pikes, from the Division of the History of Technology, Armed Forces History National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Behring Center:
Pole-arms were not widely used during the American Civil War, in fact, United States cavalry rarely used lances as did European cavalry. American cavalry was patterned more along the lines of dragoons or mounted riflemen, where the horse was used primarily as transportation to the battlefield. European cavalry, on the other hand, maintained the lance, even until World War I, for close-action cavalry charges. There were, however, a few regiments and companies of lancers organized during the Civil War, the most well known being Rush’s Lancers from Pennsylvania. One problem with lances was that they were only effective in a charge, and the lances were difficult to carry through rugged forests. Rush’s Lancers realized the burden they were carrying and turned in their lances in May 1863.

The Confederacy also used lances and pikes, not by choice, but because they were weapons that could easily be made to arm the troops. There was a variety of pole-arms manufactured by the Confederacy during the Civil War. Some were made with a double-edged blade at the end of a seven-foot pole. Another type was known as a “bridle-cutter pike,” which was similar to the aforementioned pole-arm but with an extension of a crescent-shaped blade at a right angle to the main blade that was used to cut the bridles of enemy soldiers. The most interesting pikes were those made with a retractable blade. A fourth type had a cloverleaf design and were known as “Joe Brown Pikes.” These were named after Joseph E. Brown, the governor of Georgia. In February 1862 he issued a call to the state’s mechanics to manufacture 10,000 pikes to arm the troops. They did not have enough firearms to arm every soldier, and the pike was an easy and cheap weapon to manufacture. As the governor stated, “the short range pike and terrible knife, when brought within their proper range, (as they can be almost in a moment) and wielded by a stalwart patriot’s arm, never fail to fire and never waste a single load.”