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Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History


Catalog #: 34301    Accession #: 71258
Credit: Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 5" H x 65" W x 3.75" D

Physical Description

Forged steel on wooden shaft.

General History

On December 22, 1777 George Washington issued the following General Orders for the junior officers in the Continental Army Headquarters at Valley Forge making the spontoon standard sidearm of junior officers. As the proper arming of the officers would add considerable strength to the army, and the officers themselves derive great confidence from being armed in time of action, the General orders every one of them to provide himself with a half-pike or spear, as soon as possible; firearms when made use of with drawing their attention too much from the men; and to be without either, has a very awkward and un officer-like appearance. That these half-pikes may be of one length and uniformly made, the Brigadiers are to meet at General Maxwell's quarters to morrow at 10 o'clock in the forenoon and direct their size and form. The Quarter Master General is to provide a number of pails, that every hut may have one. Any soldier, who shall be found discharging his musket without leave and in an irregular manner, is to receive 20 lashes immediately on the spot.


Country: United States
Era: Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s)
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