Topic: Cold Steel
The Abuse of Bayonets
The Pittsburgh Press, 25 June 1911
A veteran soldier was talking about bayonets.
"A lot of unjust obloquy was heaped on our bayonet makers during the Civil War," he said, "The makers were blamed for defects that were really the fault of the soldiers."
"I saw some interesting bayonet tests the other day that proved this. First, in these tests, a lot of swords and bayonets were put through the severest ordeals proper to swords and bayonets, and they came out in superb condition. Then they were put through the improper ordeals that too many of us subjected them to during the war.
"A piece of bread was toasted on a fine bayonet, and then the hot steel was thrust suddenly into cold water, as often happened in the field on the sudden appearance of an officer. The result was that the magnificent metal became as brittle as glass. Dropped on the floor, it broke into five pieces.
"Three bayonets were arranged in tripod shape and a steak was cooked under them. These bayonets cooled slowly, and, when cold, they were soft as lead.
"And as for these things, in the Civil War, many a bayonet maker's name was disgraced."