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In the colonies, swords were not the all-around type of cutting tool needed for purposes other than simple cutting or thrusting. Tampa Metro Map As a result, the colony of Connecticut in 1675 directed that Ten good and serviceable hatchets be provided in each county for the use of the army, and ten soldiers to carry them instead of swords. Those carrying hatchets would become known as pioneers, cutting the way for the rest of the force following them. Due to the flexibility of the hatchet, it quickly grew in popularity, and the colonists begin to abandon their heavier, more awkward swords for this lighter and more adaptable tool.

Economics also played a major role, since a sword, imported from Europe, would be a very costly alternative to a device more easily manufactured nearby. The hatchet also had the advantage of dual purpose, since it had numerous domestic applications. Because many colonists were required to furnish and provide their own weapons when they served in the militia, the versatile hatchet found its place in history. To complement the weapon arrangement of the day, the constant companion of the sword and hatchet was the dagger.

Colonial references to daggers abound. Miles Standish and his force totally depended upon the use of daggers when they eliminated troublemakers in a locked room in Wessagusset. Velasco noted his gilded dagger on the 1597 expedition, and forty daggers were requested to be a part of the arms order for thirty-five men to be sent to Smythes Hundred in 1678.

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