Georgia Governor Joseph Brown Addresses the Mechanics, 1862

From Allen Candler. The Confederate Records from the State of Georgia, Vol. II, 1860-65: State Papers of Governor Joseph E. Brown. Atlanta, Ga.: Chas. P. Byrd, State Printer, 1909. 199-201.

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,



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