A Bit of History
This instrument of battle illustrates the “business end” of a weapon known as a pike or lance. It is an ancient pole-weapon, basically a spear head mounted on a long wood shaft and carried by cavalry. These pole-arms saw limited use in the Civil War. In the Union Army there were several regiments of Lancers, the most well-known being Rush’s Lancers from Pennsylvania.
The Confederacy also used pikes when muskets were in short supply because they were easily and economically manufactured. They were made in several forms, for specialized applications, such as cutting the bridles of enemy soldiers.
The history of the pike goes back to the 14th century. Scottish Pikemen called schiltrons were able to best the English knights and heavy cavalry at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, bringing the pike to the battlefield with thundering success. The Pike formation was perfected by the Swiss in the 15th Century and their mercenaries carried them into battle on all sides for nearly 200 years.
Two such pikes were the property of American Legion Post 283 of Lunenburg. They had been among approximately 2500 ordered by proclamation of Governor Joseph E. Brown of Georgia in 1862. The pikes were donated to the Lunenburg Historical Society in 1972.
You can see these historic artifacts and more at the Lunenburg Historical Society, open Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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