Skip to comments.CA-AB50 in 1775 MA: No Shot Heard Round World?
Posted on 09/15/2004 4:31:52 AM PDT by risk
The fully functional Short Land Service Musket (New Pattern) used by the 64th Regiment of Foot replicates the firearm issued by the British Army as a result of the 1768 Clothing Warrant. This musket came to be affectionately called the "Brown Bess". While the exact origin of this nickname has become obscured over the years, one explanation states that the name came from the colour of the walnut stock. Prior to the "Brown Bess", stocks were painted black.
The predecessor of the Short Land Service Musket was the Long Land Service Musket, developed during the late 1720s. Primary differences between the two were barrel length (42 in. vice 46 in.), and the metal ramrod of the New Pattern Musket vice the wooden ramrod of the older model. Although production of the Long Land Pattern Musket did not cease until 1790, the vast majority of muskets used in the Colonial conflict were the new pattern. The 1768 Clothing Warrant attempted to decrease the load an individual soldier of the period had to carry. Accordingly, the musket length was shortened, swords for privates (except Highland and Grenadier units) were abolished, and uniforms were trimmer with less bulk.
The musket was of .75 caliber, smoothbore design, and weighed about 10 lbs. Soldiers were drilled constantly on formation firing and tactical movement, but only fired several times per year. The effectiveness of the musket was not impressive. Major George Hanger, who fought in the American Revolution, described it thusly:
"A soldier's musket, if not exceedingly ill-bored... will strike the figure of a man at eighty yards; it may even at 100; but a soldier must be very unfortunate indeed who shall be wounded...at 150 yards, provided his antagonist aims at him..."
The British soldier was expected to fire one shot upon command every fifteen seconds, although one every twenty to thirty seconds would be more realistic. Formation firing was designed to simply unleash a volume of projectiles in hopes of inflicting some casualties, but the 14-inch bayonet was the true determining factor on the battlefield. Robert Jackson, one-time inspector-general of army hospitals during the Revolution, wrote:
"Such explosions may intimidate by their noise: it is mere chance if they destroy by their impression... History furnishes proof that the battle is rarely gained by the scientific use of the musket: noise intimidates; platoon firing strikes only at random; the charge with the bayonet decides the question..."
Ammunition came in the form of rolled paper cartridges containing six or eight drams of powder, and a one ounce lead ball. Each end was sealed with pack thread. On loading, the rear end was bitten off and a priming charge of powder placed in the pan. The remaining powder was poured in the muzzle followed by the ball. The paper was then packed down by the ramrod as wadding. When fired an intense amount of smoke engulfed the firer.
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Last Modified: 01/22/99
Black Powder RevWar PING!
Key-word Banglist has been added..
Banglist should be added to keywords any time a gun related issue is posted.. ( self-defense, 2nd amendment, gun laws, etc.. ) as well as historical articles on all types of guns.
Thank you for your informative posting..
In New Jersey, a proposal to ban all firearms of .50 cal or more, was made last year. A key issue in stopping this proposal was the fact that it would have put an end to all of the big Revolutionary War re-enactments in the state (e.g. Battle of Trenton/Princeton, Battle of Monmouth, Battle of Bound Brook etc.) It also would have affected the dozens of smaller living history events involving Revolutionary War and Civil War re-enactors. Since tourism is one of NJ's biggest industries and historical re-enactments are a part of that, pressure came not only from pro gun groups but historical organizations and tourism officials as well. The ban proposal was reconsidered and dropped.