Confederate Retractable Pikes

For the longest time I’ve been wanting and waiting for a Retractable Pike to become available that had all the characteristics that I demand for my collection. I’ve seen a few over the past years that drew my interest and curiosity but it wasn’t until I examined them that I realized they didn’t meet my expectations. So year after year, show after show it’s been one of those Southern Weapons that I’ve been on the hunt for but never could find that ONE that I could call mine.

As luck would have it I was on one of the more prominent Civil War Dealers web sites and low and behold their it was in all its glory, the retractable pike that said “I’m yours, buy me”. Interestingly enough there wasn’t just one pike to choose from there we’re two. One had a lighter wood finish, that may have been cleaned at some time and it had a shorter blade by about 2 inches. Then their was the pike that called to me.

This pike has a beautiful blackened wood and metal finish. Unlike so many of the pikes that I’ve handled over the years that always seemed to be missing a part or two or had cracks in the wood or a damaged blade, this pike was just stunning it wasn’t missing anything. It had all its hardware and a longer blade then most, which really drew my curiosity.

The pike has a spear point blade that’s extremely sharp. The shaft is six foot 1 inch long when the blade is in the closed position, the blade is 16 inches long and the pike has an overall length of 7 foot 5 inches when the blade is in the opened position.

The retractable pike was invented by Reverend Doctor Graves, a Methodist minister originally from Vermont, living in Georgia at the time of the war. Probably made in Macon Georgia these pikes were originally designed to have a spring that would eject the blade (kinda like a large stiletto or switchblade) to the open position however the South didn’t have the capabilities of making such a spring so they were made without them. The user would slide the bolt on the side to manually move the blade to open and closed position.

Georgia Governor Joseph Brown gave an address in February, 1862 appealing to the blacksmiths and mechanics throughout the state to show there patriotism and turn out ten thousand pikes to be six feet long and have an eighteen inch blade.

Suggesting that armies should be armed with pikes and a long heavy side knives and when advancing columns come within reach of the balls, let them move in double time and rush with terrible impetuosity into the lines of the enemy.

Governor Brown stated in his address that long range guns sometimes fail to fire and waste hundreds of balls to one that takes effect, but the short range pike and terrible knife when brought within their proper range, and wielded by a stalwarts patriots arm never fail to fire and never waste a single load.

There’s no doubt Gov. Browns intentions were good but I’m not fighting anyone who has a gun that shots lead with an accuracy of 500 yards if I’m only armed with a 6 foot pike. I Believe a Georgia Regiment almost committed mutiny when told they would have to fight with such a weapon. Can’t say I blame them.

So there you have it, yet another fine example of a Southern Edged Weapon. I hope you enjoy the photos if you have any questions about this weapon or any of the other weapons here at the Civil War Arsenal I can be reached at genx1969@yahoo.com attn: Eugene West

Confederate, Joseph Brown Georgia Pike

The outbreak of the war left the the Southern states without much of the resources there Northern counterparts had. Rifles, pistols, swords, uniforms and least we forget people were just some of the needs lacking to fight a war. Because of this the ingenuity of the Southern war machine, i.e. politicians, blacksmiths, mechanics and farmers would have to think outside the box.

In February of 1862, Georgia Governor Joseph Brown gave an address to mechanics throughout the state.

Executive Department,
Milledgeville, Georgia,
February 20th, 1862.

To the Mechanics of Georgia:

The late reverses which have attended our arms, show the absolute necessity of renewed energy and determination on our part. We are left to choose between freedom at the end of a desperate and heroic struggle and submission to tyranny, followed by the most abject and degraded slavery to which a patriotic and generous people were ever exposed. Surely we can not hesitate. Independence or death should be the watchword and reply of every freeborn son of the South. Our enemies have vastly superior numbers and greatly the advantage in the quantity and quality of their arms. Including those, however, which have and will be imported, in spite of the blockade, we have guns enough in the Confederacy to arm a very large force, but not enough for all the troops which have been and must be called to the field. What shall be done in this emergency? I answer: Use the “Georgia Pike” with six feet staff, and the side knife eighteen inches blade, weighing about three pounds.

Let every army have a large reserve, armed with a good pike, and a long heavy side knife, to be brought upon the field, with a shout for victory, when the contending forced are much exhausted, or when the time comes for the charge of bayonets. When the advancing columns come within reach of the balls, let them move in double quick time and rush with terrible impetuosity into the lines of the enemy. Hand to hand, the pike has vastly the advantage of the bayonet, and those having the bayonet, which is itself but a crooked pike, with shorter staff, must retreat before it. When the retreat commences, let the pursuit be rapid, and if the enemy throw down their guns and are likely to outrun us, if need be, throw down the pike and keep close at their heels with the knife, till each man has hewed down, at least, one of his adversaries.

Had five thousand reserves thus armed and well trained to the use of these terrible weapons been brought to the charge at the proper time, who can say that the victory would not have been ours at Fort Donaldson?

But it was probably important that I state here the use to be made of that which I wish you to manufacture. I have already a considerable number of these pikes and knives, but I desire, within the next month, ten thousand more of each. I must have them; and I appeal to you, as one of the most patriotic classes of our fellow citizens, to make them for me immediately. I trust every mechanic, who has the means of turning them out rapidly, and the owner of every machine shop in this State, will at once lay aside, as far as possible, all other business and appropriate a month or two to the relief of the country in this emergency. Each workman who has the means of turning them out in large numbers without delay will be supplied with a proper pattern by application at the Ordinance Office at Milledgeville.

Appealing to your patriotism as a class and to your interest as citizens, whose all is at stake in the great contest in which we are engaged, I ask an immediate response.

In ancient times, that nation, it is said, usually extended its conquests furthest whose arms were shortest. Long range guns sometimes fail to fire and waste an hundred balls to one that takes effect; but the short range pike and the 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.

I am, very respectfully, your fellow citizen,

After reading such a decree you can better understand the sentiment and feelings of the Southerner at the time of the war. The institutions have dumbed down the facts since the War of Northern Aggression with political correctness. But it’s obvious that the Southerner was defending his freedoms, they were fighting the second revolution the same fight there Grandfathers had fought some 80 years earlier against the British.

Calling for mechanics throughout the state to make six foot staffs with eighteen inch blades shows just how desperate the Southern war machine was. Still thinking in terms of a Napoleonic type war, where armies lined up in open fields with smooth bore rifles and blades of all types believing a Divine Spirit was on there side and would protect them the sorrows of death.

There Northern counterparts were manufacturing state of the art breech loading repeating carbines and rifles, rifled cannons that could launch explosive projectiles accurately for miles, building the largest wartime Navy the world had ever seen.

Seems hard to believe that these two countries/armies could have been fighting against each other with such a difference in the types of weapons they hoped would bring them victory. It’s a credit to the South that the war lasted as long as it did, just goes to show how difficult it is to strip someone of there freedom without them fighting back like a caged rabbit dog, after all they were willing to use pikes against men with guns, sounds crazy too me.

Which brings me to the next weapon in the Civil War Arsenal. This Joseph Brown Georgia Pike has a spear point blade that measures 12 ¼” long, the overall length of the pike is 8’ & ¼” from the butt to the point of the blade. It has no cracks in the wood shaft and no makers marks, which is not uncommon for these pikes. The brass butt collar at the base of the shaft is still in place, which is generally lost on most examples. The wood shaft has what appears to be the markings ( indentations ) of rope that was once wrapped around it. I’ve seen this before on other pikes and it’s my opinion that the shaft was wrapped with rope to better grasp for lungeing forward. However I’ve never seen a pike with the rope still in place. This pike was purchased from Sam, at the Horse Soldiers store in Gettysburg Pa. I’m guessing due to its great condition it was a war souvenir shipped north after the war and displayed at a G.A.R hall, just an educated guess.

So there you have it another fine example of a Southern Edged Weapon in the ever growing Civil War Arsenal, a Confederate Georgia Pike. If you have any questions about this weapon feel free to contact me. And if you have a civil war weapon that you’d like know more about or perhaps you’d like to sell feel free to contact me at genx1969@yahoo.com , attn: Eugene West. Thanks for stopping by.

Civil War Guns

Sitting around the house today not knowing what to do, outside the snow is coming down and there calling this the storm of the century with up to 2 feet of snow and 50 MPH winds expected, sounds cold to me….

Anyway I decided to take some photos of my history room, a.k.a. the “Civil War Arsenal”. As you can see many of my antique weapons are displayed throughout the room. I recently had a carpenter build the racks that the rifles are mounted on, all in all I think the racks came out pretty nice and compliment the rifles and corresponding bayonets.

You’ll also notice some D-Handle, Side Knives, Pikes and Artillery Swords displayed as well. Its my opinion that these weapons should be displayed so friends and family can see and handle them. I don’t quite get the fun in collecting antique guns and swords then putting them in the safe or some out of the way place where no one can appreciate them. But thats just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions.

Also scattered throughout the room are a number of paintings, historical photos, bronze castings and dozens of other historical items. You’ll notice that I am a big “John Paul Strain” fan he is perhaps one of the best artist in his field I have a bunch of his paintings. I also have some of “Karl Anderson’s” sculptures, he’s a less know artist then John however just as good and I believe the best in his field, especially when it comes to historical accuracy.

Well there you have it, another story that no one will read. Just Kidding…. If you have any questions about this post or any of the weapons in the “Civil War Arsenal” feel free to contact me at genx1969@yahoo.com attn: Gene West

Kerr Patent, .44 Caliber, Percussion Revolver

Imported by the Confederate Government, the Kerr Revolver was made by the London Armory Company in London England, approximately 7,500 were imported by the South with a serial number range from about 3000 – 10000, interestingly enough the U.S. Government imported 16 revolvers in 1861.

The revolver was made in both .36 and .44 calibers with a double action version released in 1863, however the Confederacy only purchased single action .44 caliber revolvers. The overall length is 10 ¾” with a 5 ½” barrel that has London proof marks. The lock plate is marked London Armory as well as the left side of the frame. The serial number is located on the cylinder and the bottom right side of the frame under the cylinder compartment.

Many, but not all of the Confederate Kerr Revolvers are marked with the C/S import proof/inspection stamp of John Southgate, Chief CS viewer/proofer for the Confederacy in England, with the JS/Anchor demarcation.

Which brings me to the next example in the Civil War Arsenal. This relic condition revolver is a true Southern classic. I consider it relic condition due to the pitting on the lock plate, hammer that doesn’t stay in the cocked position all the time and the poor condition of the wood hand. It seems to me at one time or another it must have been dropped or crushed causing a crack to the wood handle, some damage to the checking on the handle and the worst part of the damage is a small portion of wood is missing from the area of the handle where the JS/anchor demarcation is located. It’s still clearly visible but the top portion of the JS is missing, it’s still a bummer (the damage that is).

This Revolver has a serial number of 6605 on the cylinder as well as the frame which puts it in the range of confederate purchases. Along with the JS/Anchor demarcation assures us this is a Southern Imported Revolver.

I first saw this weapon a couple of years ago on a web site of one of the more prominent Civil War dealers, I called him up and negotiated a price. The photos that he used to advertise the revolver were not the best quality and did not show the damage to the handle. I trusted his reputation and that he would alert me to any condition issues (he didn’t). So I probably paid more then I should have for this weapon due to the damage on the handle but I guess it’s all part of the learning experience. I’ll be certain to be more careful in the future and not trust the reputations of dealers.

So there you have it another Confederate beauty and another addition to the Civil War Arsenal. If you have any questions about this Revolver or any of the weapons in my Arsenal fell free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attn Gene West.

Confederate, Tennessee Side Knife and Rig

This is a great example of a Side knife that a Confederate Infantrymen would have carried throughout the War Between the States. Small and light enough to be worn day and night. Many of the large D Handle knives were way too big, clumsy and heavy to be totted around day in and day out, many were tossed to the side of the road in favor of a lighter and more useful knife, such as this.

This knife is extra neat since it still has its wood lined scabbard and belt rig. Both of these pieces are hand sewed which was common for most Confederate rigging. The Spear Point blade is single edged with a sharpened 2 3/4″ top edge. The overall length of the knife is 14 ¾”, with the blade measuring 10 ¼ “and width 1 3/8”.

This knife was formally in the collection of Lee Hadaway, who is one of the leading experts in Confederate Edged Weapons and author of the “Confederate Bowie Knife Guide” which this Knife and Rig is published in. This knife is also published in “Confederate Bowie Knives” on page 253 as a Tennessee Side Knife.

I hope you enjoy the photos and if you have any questions about this knife please feel free to contact me at genx1969@yahoo.com attn. Gene West

1863 Dickson, Nelson & Co. Rifle

With the outbreak of the war in 1861, William Dickson (a planter from Alabama), Owen Nelson (an attorney from Tuscumbia) and Lewis Sadler (a physician) started the Shakanoosa Arms Company. Operations began at there first plant in Buzzard Roost, Colbert County, Alabama. A $7000.00 advance for funding to manufacture U.S. Model 1841 “Mississippi” type rifles for the state of Alabama was received.

In the summer of 1862 the Shakanoosa Arms Company was forced to move its operation to Rome Georgia in fear of the nearing Union forces, after a while at this location the armory again suffered a setback when there building was destroyed by fire. Again they were forced to move to Adairsville, Georgia under the name Dickson, Nelson & Company and in August 1863, Union advances forced them have to move further south to Macon, Georgia. Finally in February of 1864 the company moved to its final home in Dawson, Georgia.

Rifles under the supervision of inspecting officer, Captain B.J. McCormick were to conform to the U.S. Model 1841 Mississippi pattern, having 33” barrels of .58 caliber and stocks 48” in length. Brass hardware on these rifles included a straight butt plate, two piece trigger guard, barrel bands and nose cap with many of these parts having casting flaws throughout and some having reddish color indicating high copper content.

It’s estimated that about 3600 rifles were manufactured from 1862 thru 1865, but there’s no documentation to prove that. It’s the authors opinion that this number is way to high for the number of surviving rifles. Most of the surviving specimens are dated 1864 and 1865.

“Flaydermans Guide to Antique American Firearms” states that there are only 3 recorded 1863 dated lockplates. Two of these lockplates are not attached and the other is on a two-band rifle.

Which brings me to the newest member in the “Civil War Arsenals” ever growing collection. This 1863 Dickson, Nelson Rifle is truly a rare Southern Beauty. Based on Flaydermans Guide, this new addition is the rarest example of any weapon the Arsenal has to offer, making it the forth known 63 lockplate and only the second one attached to a stock.

I first saw this rifle a couple years ago at a gun show in Gettysburg, the fellow that was selling it had a large collection of Southern Weapons. I purchased another from him at the time (63 Fayetteville) that is one of the nicest examples in my collection. I had made him an offer on this rifle but he wasn’t willing to negotiate off his price. Fast forward two years and I ran into him at another Civil War Show and it turned out he still had the rifle. So after a little bit of haggling we settled on a price and I became the new owner of this 1863 Dickson, Nelson Rifle.

This rifle is in very good condition considering its history. The lock plate is dated 1863 ALA. behind the hammer which means the rifle was manufactured through contract for the state of Alabama. Forward the hammer is stamped DICKSON, NELSON & CO. and C.S. on the bottom line. The upper left surface of the barrel is date stamped ALA. 1863/65 (can’t really tell due to pitting)and the under surface of the barrel is stamped with a “windmill” or “Maltese Cross”armorers mark, attributed to Nathaniel D. Cross an inspector at the Selma Arsenal. The rear sight is fixed and located 3 1/8” forward the barrels breech. All of the brass hardware has casting flaws and lots of great patina. The barrel shows three broad lands and grooves and the ram rod appears to be original with some pitting but still showing its thread. The stock is in extremely good condition with the exception of what appears to be bug/termite damage on the left side by the butt plate, but it’s my opinion that this damage was original to the weapon when manufactured and not after the war while in storage, but it’s only my opinion. Included with the purchase of this weapon was an original confederate linen sling which compliments the rifle well based on its condition. I’m not certain it’s original to the rifle but based on the sling folds it’s been on the rifle for a long time.

So there you have it, yet another addition to the Civil War Arsenal. I hope you enjoy the photos, if you have any questions or thoughts on this rifle feel free to contact me at genx1969@yahoo.com, attn: Eugene West, hope to hear from you soon

1864 C.S. Richmond Carbine

Finally a 1864 Richmond that was affordable enough to add to the ever growing Civil War Arsenal. This fine Richmond Armory weapon is 100% Southern manufactured. The stock has no cut out for the Maynard Primer system on the mule’s foot, suggesting that it is wood that was shipped up from Macon Georgia and shaped in Richmond Virginia.

The lock plate has a nice brown patina with fine markings that we like to see on these models. The barrel also has a brown patina with clear V.P. and eagle inspection markings however their is no date stamped. The rear sight is missing however it does have the cut for the steady pin which holds the sight straight. The only problem with the barrel is the front sight has been filed down, however based on the color it was done a very long time ago.

The barrel bands are both stamped with the off set U (for up) which tells us they were hand stamped at the Richmond Armory, however the front barrel band is missing its sling and unlike most Richmond Carbines that are missing the rear sling that screws into the stock this one has its correct one. The butt plate and the nose cap are both brass which is common amongst 1864 Richmonds.

If you haven’t noticed by now I should tell you I love these Richmond Armory weapons. I can’t seem to get enough of them. Each and every one tells its own story, I guess that’s what fascinates me about them.

I’m hoping to add more late model Richmonds to my collection over the next year. It’s my opinion that the late 1863 and 1864 models with there brass butt plates and Macon Ga. stocks tell great stories and show case well. So with any luck you will see my collection grow with those models and if I get really lucky I just may have the opportunity to add more short rifles to my collection. I think there my favorite, but like everything else that changes with time.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my garble. I hope you enjoy the photo’s and if you have a Richmond no matter what year or condition and want to sell it, shoot me an email at genx1969@yahoo.com attn Eugene West

E.P. Bond Enfield Rifle Musket, JS/Anchor


At the outbreak of the War Between the States the Confederate Central Government contracted for the purchase of 30,000 Enfield Rifle Muskets to be delivered between October 1861 and April 1862. These Weapons had hand engraved inventory numbers put on the tang of the butt plates, 3 series were to be delivered each numbered 1 to 10,000, with the second series engraved with an A suffix and the third series an B suffix.

This is one of those historically significant Imports.

The Civil War Arsenal newest member is an E.P. Bond Enfield Rifle musket that has many of the distinguishing marks that collectors want to see with any Confederate Imported Weapon. The JS / Anchor is the stamp of John Southgate who was the Confederate States Chief Enfield Inspector, kind of like a quality inspector, hand engraved # 8199 on the tang of the brass butt plate, and B for Bond stamped on the comb of the stock which represents the maker/furnisher of the weapon.

Overall this E.P. Bond Enfield is a beauty, missing its rear adjustable sight is a bummer but it’s not that unusual since they were soldered on and either broke off or fell off due to the barrel heating up during rapid fire. It was missing the rear sling swivel which I replaced with original that I purchased from Lodgewood Mfg.

I purchased the socket bayonet made by J.R. Field from an EBAY auction. Its not a Salter made bayonet but I thought it was appropriate for the Bond Enfield since it was from a private contractor rather a British government contract.

Hope you enjoy the photos and if you have any questions about this weapon or any of the other Weapons in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact: Eugene West at genx1969@yahoo.com

1863 Richmond Rifled Musket

Another fine example of an 1863 Richmond Long Rifle pieced together from a collection of Harpers Ferry captured parts, battlefield pick up parts and Richmond Armory parts. I purchased this Richmond from William Adams at the Gettysburg show in June of 2014. William is one of the leading experts in Civil War weapons, especially in Richmond Armory and Confederate Imports.

Like many of the Richmond’s for sale these days this one has some questionable characteristics that question its authenticity; however that’s the beauty with Richmond Armory weapons. The barrel on this weapon is not Harpers Ferry nor is it Southern made; I believe it’s a Springfield barrel with inspectors marks on it. The stock is split under the barrel band closest to the breach plug with the rear portion of the stock being either a Springfield or Whitney I’m not really sure. The end of the stock closest to the muzzle is from a Springfield rifle with the metal nose cap attached with a screw.

Some of the neat features of this weapon that any collector loves to see when it comes to Richmond rifles is the 1863 lock plate, which is in fine condition, the center barrel band has an offset U (for up) on both sides which suggests that it was hand stamped at the Richmond Armory unlike the Union counterparts that were machine stamped with almost perfect placement every time. And let’s not forget the stock that’s been pieced together under the barrel band.

If this weapon is authentic, (cause whom am I to say it is or isn’t since I’ve only owned it for a short while) it’s fair to say that is was assembled late 1863 when the Richmond Armory was struggling to supply weapons to the front lines because of a shortage of black maple to make stocks from as well as quality steel to produce barrels with.

Either way I love it, I didn’t pay as much for it as I have for others and it tells a story and yes we can debate the story but sometimes that’s half the fun.

I hope you enjoy the photos and if you have any questions about this weapon feel free to contact me.

P.S. I’m always looking to grow my collection, if you have any Richmond’s that you’d like to sell please contact: Eugene West at genx1969@yahoo.com

1863 Richmond Virginia Carbine and Linen Sling

Summers almost over which is a bummer but I’ve been busy buying lots of new Southern Weapons for my arsenal. I haven’t been written much lately since I’ve been so busy at work. It’s a necessary evil (work that is) if I want to continue collecting and growing my weapons collection.

Just some of my new pieces include 1863 Richmond long rifle that I purchased from William Adams at the Gettysburg Civil War show back in June, E.P. Bond Enfield with the JS & anchor cartouche and hand engraved inventory # 8199 on the butt plate and 1864 Richmond Virginia Carbine out of a collection from Georgia.

But the Weapon I’ll write about today is the 1863 Richmond Carbine, I purchased this weapon from the good people at Lodgewood Mfg. I believe the carbine was on consignment and while surfing their web site I stumbled upon it, immediately I called David and negotiated a price.

The carbine is in pretty good shape especially for the price I paid. The only replacement parts is the front barrel band and the ram rod, but you can tell the ram rod has been with the weapon for a very long time and is hand made with many forging flaws throughout, oh and its missing the rear sight which is not uncommon for Richmond carbines everything else on the weapon is correct.

The wood stock is complete and has a great aged/blackened color to it, the brass tip towards the muzzle is correct with the extra thickness on the bottom to hold the ram rod. The stock has the Maynard Primer cut out under the lock plate so we know this was made with one of the condemned rifle stocks confiscated when the Harpers Ferry Arsenal was raided back in April 1861.

All the metal on the carbine except for the lock plate has a sweetened chocolate color to it, I’m thinking that this was probably a wall hanger at one time and someone polished the lock plate to make it look pretty (bummer) but at least they didn’t polish the whole carbine. The front pinched sight has been filed down a bit and the butt plate is metal with no U.S. stamp on it.

This weapon has the rear sling swivel that screws into the stock behind the trigger guard generally lost on these carbines. A month or two after I purchased this carbine, Brian Akins from “Rebel Relics” had a confedrate linen sling for sale on his web site, so here I go again I call Brian a negotiate a price for the sling.

I wasn’t certain which weapon I would place my new sling on but it seemed as though it was meant for this 1863 Richmond carbine.

So there you have it another story told and another weapon for the Civil War Arsenal. My collection of Richmond rifles is growing quickly, if you have a Richmond rifle, short rifle or carbine that you’d like to sell please contact me at genx1969@yahoo.com. Attn: Gene West

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the photos.