War of 1812 American Socket Bayonet
This bayonet was found during an excavation of a structure at Fort Johnson/Cantonment Davis in Warsaw, in the immediate vicinity of a limestone fireplace. It is a standard United States issue model 1808 bayonet, representing the first regulation of U.S. accouterments of the type that remained in service until 1828. Bayonets were an almost useless piece of required military hardware on the frontier during the War of 1812. They were intended for use in large formations of infantry that delivered disciplined volleys of musket fire followed by a bayonet charge en masse. This type of battle formation was the norm on contemporary European battlefields but was never employed in combat situations in the Illinois Territory. In hand-to-hand combat situations, soldiers on the frontier preferred to use knives and hatchets (tomahawks) or wield their muskets as clubs. More often than not, bayonets were used as camp tools such as tent stakes, roasting spits, or candleholders, so it is not surprising that this was left behind when the time came to vacate Fort Johnson/Cantonment Davis.