Confederate Cloverleaf Flagstaff

Over the past year or so my collection of Confederate Pikes has grown expediently in relation to the rest of my collection. Like the other categories of weapons I collect (e.i. guns,, knives, swords etc…) my end goal to to have at least one of every example that exist. Whether or not I will have the resources or the access to all the neat pieces is another story.

The Flagstaff you see here is one I purchased a few months ago from Brian Akins of www.rebelrelics.com. I had purchased a few Confederate Pikes prior to this accusation from Brian and knowing that I had an interest in pikes/poles he asked if I’d be interested in the featured Flagstaff. After reviewing the photos and haggling a bit over price we negotiated and I became the owner of the historic gem.

Until recently these poles were thought to be pikes by collectors and dealers alike. But the collecting community generally agrees these are not at all pikes but Flagstaffs. The book “Collecting The Confederacy” by Shannon Pritchard who happens to be one of the leading experts in everything about the American Civil War, especially Confederate. Mr. Pritchard makes a valid case why these poles should be recategorized as Flagstaffs and not Pikes.

Only a handful of these Cloverleaf Flagstaffs are know to exist so much of there history is sketchy at best. Here are a few of the reason Mr. Pritchard suggest these be reclassified.

1. Some of the ones that do exist are painted with gold on the cloverleaf and red on there hickory wood poles. There would have been no reason to paint these poles if they were pikes.

2. Many of existing examples are stamped with makers marks, and all have tapered shafts these would have been unnecessary expenses.

3. Pikes would generally be jammed into the ground by the pikeman giving them leverage against charging horses/Calvary-men, but as you can see in the photos the Flagstaff has a baseball bat type butt which would be suitable for resting on the outer thigh or on the ground.

4. The area where the Cloverleaf meets the wood shaft is weak point. It is only 11/16” in diameter and would have surely broken if used against charging Calvarymen. All other known pikes have larger diameter shafts with the exception of the retractable pike.

5. It’s also thought that the Cloverleaf design wasn’t practicable as a pike however was attractive as an ornament atop a flagstaff.

6. Mr Pritchard write that he has seen an example that was excavated near the Burnside Bridge where Toomb’s Georgians were overrun in Sharpsburg Maryland. He suggest that they wouldn’t have been carrying pikes, but flags, when they were overrun.

So now that we’ve cleared up all the reasons why this is not a pike and is indeed a Flagstaff we can move on to the featured Confederate Cloverleaf Flagstaff.
The overall length from top to bottom is 84”, the metal straps on either side of the pole holding the Cloverleaf in place is 16.5” long and has 4 rivets holding all in place. The Cloverleaf measures 10.5” tall X 7.5” wide.

At one time or another the pole and cloverleaf were shellacked, however it was done a very long time ago. This is not unusual for items such as this since many were displayed in SCV OR GAR halls. There does seem to be a gold hue in the metal of the cloverleaf under the shellac suggesting that at one time it was painted gold that may have worn off or was removed prior to shellacking.

The two know makers of Flagstaff for the Confederacy were H. Stevens and Sam Griswold. It’s my opinion that this Flagstaff was made by H. Stevens of Georgia, however there’s no makers mark and it is speculation on my part.

There is a few small nails in the wood shaft of the flagstaff suggesting to me that this is were the flags or company pennants that it carried were fastened.

So there you have it another piece of Southern history brought to you by the Civil War Arsenal. If you have any questions about this item or any other items in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attention Gene West. Thanks for stopping by.

10 thoughts on “Confederate Cloverleaf Flagstaff

  1. Good afternoon Gene West, I have a real CSA Flag Staff Finial that I bought 30 years ago at an estate sale. It was in and Museum that closed down and the lady that had it on loan received it back after it closed down. I would like to sell it and if you want I will send you photos of the CSA Item along with the history that came with it. The CSA Brass Flag Staff Finial was with the Co. D 27Th. Battalion, Ga. Infantry with Capt. Mceedr in command at that time, and they were from Washington, Ga. Wilkes County. I had Historian John Coski from the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Va. and he conducted a background history study. E-mail me back if you think you may want to buy my CSA Item. Ernest Wayne Toney…….

    • Mr Toney,
      Thank you for considering me in the purchase of your Confederate item. If you would please forward quality images and any history you have on it I will evaluate and make an offer. Look forward to hearing back from you.

      With Kind Regards, Gene West

      • Good afternoon Gene West I will e-mail you photos of the Brass CSA Flag Staff Finial and the history that came with it. I am going to use you e-mail address so I can send you the info. Just give me your e-mail address and we will try and make a deal. Wayne. My e-mail address is ewtRanger68@yahoo.com.

  2. Good Afternoon Gene West, Look down below in this e-mail and you will see photos of the old Brass CSA Flag Staff Finial that has the history that came with it, The CSA Flag Staff Finial was with the Co. D 27Th. Battalion, Ga. Infantry and they were from Washington, Ga. Wilkes County and Capt. Mceedr was in command at that time. The Historian John Jcoski with the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Va. and he did a background history study on battle unit details of Confederate Georgia Infantry overview for me and this is what he found out. The battalion started in Washington, Ga. Wilkes County and was organized in Savannah, Ga. during the Summer of 1863 with five other companies. They were assigned to McLaw’s Division, than J.C. Fisher’s Brigade, Department of S.C., Ga. and Fla. The unit participated in the defense of Savannah, Ga. and in December of 1864 they had 447 officers and enlisted men present for duty and in the Spring of 1865 they fought with the Army of Tennessee in N.C. and they surrendered on April 26 under the commands of Majors A.L. Hartridge and William B. Stubbs. The Historian John Jcoski stated that the CSA Brass Flag Staff Finial is worth $10,000.00 and if I could put it in and auction house I would more than likely get more for it. If you would like to buy my CSA Item please give me a price that you will be willing to pay, I am open minded for a price. As you can see I have contacted a lot of folks but no one wanted to give me a price. Ernest Wayne Toney…….

    • Wayne,
      There isn’t a collector or dealer that I know that would be willing to pay you 10K for the brass finial your attempting to sell. If Mr. Coski told you it was worth that, he was wrong…….here’s a link http://www.civilwararsenal.com/confederate-cloverleaf-flagstaff/ to a “complete” Confederate flagstaff I own which only cost a fraction of the monies your asking for your finial…….so I guess I’m not the guy how will purchase the finial.

      With Kind Regards, Gene West

      • Gene I know no one is willing to pay out 10K for my CSA Item but we can make some type of deal that both of us will be making some good money and both of us will be happy and I would like for it to go to a good CSA Home. Wayne

  3. Gene I am open for a price that you be willing to pay for my Brass CSA Flag Staff Finial. I will be looking for a e-mail from you to let me know what you would pay for it. I know that was a lot of money for my CSA Item and I didn’t think I would get that much for it because that is a lot of money these days for folks to pay for most anything these days, so I am down to earth on what you might be willing to pay for it. If you are like me I am on a fixed income retirement and my Disable Vet. pay I receive from the VA each month. I am trying to get some money for up because my wife is going to have open heart surgery in the next week or so and my health insurance will not cover all for her surgery so that is why I am trying to sale it. Wayne

  4. Gene I just look at your web site and boy do you have some real Great CSA Items that you have collected over the years. Did you think it over last night about my Brass CSA Flag Staff Finial??? We can come to some price agreement for both of us. I really need to sale it because my wife of 51 years is going to have open heart surgery next week when they have a opening in the OR. She is going to have to have three by passes and she is 69 years old and not in real good health because of several other health problems. I need to sale my CSA Item because all my health insurance will not pay for all her surgery, so what ever I may get for my CSA Item from you I am going to put it on her surgery bill. I am waiting for a e-mail from you Gene telling me if you will buy it or not. Wayne

    • Gene did you get my e-mail I sent you yesterday??? If you still would like to buy my Brass CSA Flag Staff Finial I am willing to work with you on a price. Wayne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *