The Virginia Rangers' Knife

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Pat Holscher
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Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:16 am

The Virginia Rangers' Knife by Josh Phillips, Vol 64, No. 4, Military Collector & Historian.

The current CMH journal has an interesting article about a sort of bizarre topic, that being Confederate pikes and knives.

That the CSA contracted for pikes is well known, but that their origin was supposed to be an arm for Partisan Rangers is now. Apparently the entire idea came about as one John Scott, pre war lawyer and captain of the Virginia Black Horse Cavalry hoped to raise and equip a Partisan Ranger outfit in 1862 and was able to secure funding for the purchase of pikes, firearms being in short supply.

The pikes were made, and Scott did form his Partisan Ranger unit, but it was so under subscribed that in December 1862 Robert E. Lee had it disbanded. It doesn't appear to have ever actually been issued pikes, or the accompanying knives, but the number of men joining it was so small that the CSA was probably able to round up firearms for it, while it briefly existed.

I have to say the idea of being a pike armed partisan ranger is not an attractive one.

The author speculates that a "shoe" on the pikes which has been the subject of speculation is likely explained by the original design contemplating some sort of boot for carrying.

Animadvertistine, ubicumque stes, fumum recta in faciem ferri?
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