Strachey’s Martiall Lawes of 1611 for Virginia indicates that sergeants had to carry halberds when in garrison, but that they should be abandoned for firearms when in the field. Cape Town Subway Map The records of the Pequot War (16371638) indicate that halberds were actually used in combat, and the settlers of Massachusetts Bay Colony purchased three halberds for their sergeants.
In the report of expenses for the costs of King Philip’s War, Pole axesâ are noted. And, in 1689, Governor Leisler of New York threatened to run one of the councilors through with a halberd. The partizan, about 6 or 7 feet in length with the head at one point and one or more branches at the base, was typically a weapon used by officers. Basically, this would describe any short spear used by an officer during the colonial period. In 1628, colonists preparing for the trip to found the Massachusetts Bay Colony purchased 2 partizans, for capten & lieftenant (sic).â Another type of polearm was the bill, or, as it was sometimes called, the brown bill, due to the browned finish of its blade.
It had evolved from the farming tool of the same name. The bill had a hook-shaped blade with a cutting edge on the concave side along with a variety of spikes and projections on the opposite side. Bills were rather common in England, but there is only one report of them in the colonies. The Virginia Company petitioned the King for arms from the Tower of London after the Massacre of 1622. Among the arms requested and received were 1,000 brown bills, of which 50 were diverted to Bermuda, the remaining 950 finding their way to Jamestown in 1623.
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