Society of the Old West

From early westward expansion through the early 20th Century.


At the beginning stages of the war, men were volunteering and being conscripted into the Federal ranks faster than muskets could be supplied to them.  An ingenious Pennsylvania politician urged Governor Curtin, who urged the War Department to issue a contract for 1000 lances copied from an Austrian design.  It was a 9 foot staff, capped with a foot long, three edged blade.  People of Philadelphia were so fascinated by the "Rebel Devastating weapon",  they contributed bright red swallow tail ensigns to hang from them.  Surely the Rebel forces would be decimated by them.

The Sixth Cavalry Regiment,  issued these weapons to Company C, led by English born Col. Richard Rush. On May 25, 1862, Rush led his Lancers on a charge toward a Confederate picket line.  It was noted that there was heavy laughter from the Confederates as they cut down the Yankees before they could achieve lance range.
Later, Rush's Lancers were involved at Savage's Station, Malvern Hill, and other battles.  The heavy, awkward lances didn't cause a single Confederate death and were discarded in May of 63, being replaced by sabers.

Here, again, we see what happens when politicians try to fight a war. 

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