Though long spears known as Pikes dominated warfare during the time of Henry VIII and Jamestown, they largely disappeared in the late 17th century. The pike was usually relegated to anti-riot duties, guerilla raids, and naval ship defense until the Napoleonic Wars saw its desperate and limited revival for war when firearms grew scarce. Later, the Confederacy issued thousands of pikes to arm its ill-equipped men and civilians in Union-held areas. Early war confidence and frequent Union capture ensured most went unused.
The hooked form of this “Bridle Cutter”-type pike head could be used to unhorse or disarm a rider and attack their horse reins.