views updated


SPONTOON. The espontoon, spontoon, or half pike was a badge of officer's rank that evolved from the halberd, and until a few years before the American Revolution it was carried by all foot officers of all armies. It was replaced by the fusil, the change taking place in France in 1754 and in England in 1786. British troops in America started abandoning spontoons much earlier, however. Braddock ordered them left behind in 1755 when he departed Alexandria, Virginia, for his defeat in the wilderness, and almost all British regiments abandoned them for active field service during the American Revolution.

SEE ALSO Fusils and Fusiliers.


Peterson, Harold L. Arms and Armor in Colonial America, 1526–1783. Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 1956.