The Bayonet: Ultimate in Old School Social Distancing
By Chris Eger
“Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Sergeant George Camblair learning to use the bayonet, 1942” (Photo: Library of Congress)
The humble bayonet has been around for centuries and, for guys who like both knives and guns, is a no-brainer when it comes to collectors.
While Americans would have scant experience with bayonets in the lead up to the Revolutionary War– primarily with British Brown Bess muskets– the weapons soon became a standard-issue item as the conflict with the King worn on. Baron Von Steuben, the German officer, and drillmaster who crafted the Continental Army’s first training manual, included detailed instructions on the massed use of the bayonet. Fleshed out with French-made Charleville muskets, the plucky Continentals were able to employ the bayonet at the Battle of Stony Point in New York and by the time of Washington’s ultimate victory at Yorktown, the weapon was common.
The first officially produced musket for the U.S. Army, the Springfield M1795, came standard with a bayonet and virtually every rifle used by Uncle Sam since then has included the pointed-edged accessory.
Charleville flintlock musket, 1763 pattern. The U.S. Model 1795 musket was based on the design. (Photo: Springfield Armory National Historic Site)
Through the 19th Century, successive Army musket and rifle designs