Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Revolutionary War weapons

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by michaelyates1, Dec 22, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,913
    Location:
    People's Republic of Maryland
    Many of the committee of safety muskets were cobbled together from surplus parts from other muskets. It is not unusual to find an "American made Bess" that has a British lock, a French side plate, and a French or Dutch barrel. Calibers could range from .69 up to .80. There are examples of British Bess muskets with flat, unmarked lock plates as well. In such cases the muskets in disrepair were brought back into service by American smiths and armorers, with whatever was handy.

    As for the .69 caliber musket with the markings, is the barrel pinned or does it have barrel bands like a French musket? Also, remember that the front line weapons of the day, were relegated to state militias after the war, so it may indeed be Baltimore County, but for the war of 1812. :D

    Actually Gary it's a common myth, but buck-n-ball wasn't the standard load for the majority of the folks during the AWI in any of the armies, and neither was buckshot. Buckshot, and cutting musket balls, and putting a nail through the ball, were probably only done in the first few battles of the war. The problem was the rebels had very few bayonets, and the standard tactic in the minds of both side's generals was to win the battles with bayonet charges. Well, if you are George W and you don't have bayonets, then you need to stop the bayonet charge before it gets to you..., hence the use of buckshot or buck and ball.

    This quickly halted though, for to use buck and ball, or buckshot, you have to use more lead than a single ball, and for the supply strapped Continentals, this was not a good idea. Plus the Continentals began to get more bayonets. Further, even though there wasn't an actual "convention" on warfare, such as the Hague or Geneva conventions..., it was considered by the gentlemen who were the officers on both sides, that using buckshot was "against the rules of war". (Note: such rules don't apply when they fought Indians) If you got caught by the enemy with buck and ball or a nail through your musket ball in your musket, you got hanged. :eek:

    Washington was also not above working at, gaining and maintaining the respect of his opponents, and so such a load was frowned upon in his army. As an example, at one battle (iirc Harlem Heights) where Washington retreated, the British horners (they used horns, plus fife, and drum) sounded the fox hunting call gone away. It is used when the hunters see the fox, and the fox is running for its life..., this REALLY insulted Washington, so he did care what the British Officers thought of him. Following the rules of war was very important to him..., remember the British thought he was not worthy of a regular commission in their army..., George had some things to prove to his counterparts beyond simply winning.

    LD
     
  2. xXxplosive

    xXxplosive Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,223
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Well as I posted....Buckshot was very prevelent here with the NJ Militia Cos.....also, it was discovered that here at Artillery Park in Pluckemen NJ that 69 Cal. ball was used not only for loading in muskets but for starting fires as well.....seems many balls were found in and around fire pits as the cartridges / powder in them was being used to start fires in the cabins....the balls were either cast aside or tossed in the fire places....some didn't melt and have been recoverd.
     
  3. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
    5,810
    Location:
    Northern California
    Prolly just ripped the paper case open and sparked it off with a flint and steel, or even a unloaded flintlock pistol held close to the case. a little bit of straw and some twigs laid on top, and you were soon drying out your socks!Kinda how we use a magnesium fire starter nowdays.
     
  4. xXxplosive

    xXxplosive Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,223
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Yup..........and they had plenty of cartridges to spare....easy way to start a fire.
     
  5. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    23,648
    Location:
    Los Anchorage
    As I recall, he had hoped to become a prominent officer in the British Army after the F&I war. But he was stuck in the VA militia instead. I wonder how history would have turned out if Ft. Necessity had been a great victory for him and he'd been a career regular army officer for King George.
     
  6. Jim K

    Jim K Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    17,706
    Hi, Loyalist Dave,

    It has bands like the French muskets, and also has the dished out place on the right side of the butt stock and the "finger groove" extension on the trigger plate, all characteristics of French or Belgian work. But in my limited experience, French muskets are marked on the lockplate and this musket has (and apparently never had) any lockplate markings. It looks most like the French Model 1822, so that would of course not be in the AWI (aka Revolution) time frame.

    I suspect it was purchased from Belgium to arm the militia at some point when Springfield and Harpers Ferry could not meet requirements.

    Jim
     
  7. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,771
    Location:
    Central Florida
    They had a documentary re: GW on PBS and the main reason he married Martha was she had money from her previous husband's estate and her own family's money. The money was needed so that George could attempt to buy a commission in the British Army. As I understand it, this purchase of commission is still currently practiced in the British military. Its purpose is to finance a retiring officer in his waning years.
     
  8. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Messages:
    3,623
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    So in a time when folks were picking lead from the panes of their windows and we were in the infancy of producing our own gunpowder, the soldier was going to waste one or more to start a fire?
     
  9. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,913
    Location:
    People's Republic of Maryland
    A better interpretation of the musket balls would be that they were given them loose, to remold. A French musket does not shoot a military round of .69 caliber..., it shoots a .620 -.640 or so, while the Bess at .75 caliber shoots between a .69 and a .68. So if one issued the soldiers .690 ball (bess ammo) they may have been told to melt the stuff down and make proper ball for military rounds for their French muskets. The ball could be finished or have been awaiting remelt. (When you tell a private to pack and prepare to "move out"..., and you don't collect the ammo they haven't finished..., you don't expect the private to lug several pounds of loose lead even if the army is strapped for bullets. Privates don't care! hence the reason it may have been left behind...)

    Why do I think they might be remolding ball that is ".69 caliber" ?

    We have done live fire tests with modern powder..., and lesser loads (should foul up the barrels at a lesser rate). Now if you use a standard "box" of 24 rounds, and you take accounts from the war of troops firing full boxes and being out of ammo..., you know that they could shoot all 24 rounds without cleaning, as nobody mentions soldiers with jammed muskets or units disengaging in a battle to clean bores.

    So when you test repro muskets, and you find that you simply cannot load and fire a .75 Bess with a .710 ball in a paper cartridge, even if you remove the ball from the cartridge, 24 times in a row, using 10-15 grains of powder to prime and 85-90 grains for the main charge (100 grains total for the full cartridge)... as the barrel gets too clogged. The same is true for a .69 caliber French musket using a .675 ball. You really really have to reduce the size of the ball for any musket IF you are loading military cartridges.

    Now I am sure humidity played an important role, and as I am in a East Coast state, the finidings from the test shold be OK for a start. We really should get a batch of home made powder, of no smaller than 1Fg relative size, and redo the test to get a better idea, and at the same time get some chronography on the rounds and fire at some down range targets set up in a traditional formation for an accuracy check.

    LD
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page