Discover Concord - Spring 2022 Issue

Page 22

“I Picked Up a Good French Gun” The Muskets of the Battles of Lexington and Concord

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In 1774, a war between England and Massachusetts Bay Colony appeared inevitable. In preparation, Massachusetts militiamen relied upon muskets obtained from various sources: inheritance, the French and Indian War, the Siege of Louisbourg, and commercial markets. The result was a variety of weapons of different caliber, origins, and values. Thus, as Massachusetts soldiers marched off to war on April 19, 1775, it would not have been uncommon within the same militia company to see hunting guns, English muskets, Dutch muskets, Americanmade muskets (with parts from several sources), and French muskets. BRITISH-MADE GUNS Historically, pre-revolutionary Massachusetts Bay Colony encouraged its provincial soldiers to provide their own guns rather than rely upon the government to supply them. This effort was met with moderate success, and, as a

result, a wartime shortage often existed. Massachusetts was forced to petition Britain for military supplies. Unfortunately, the muskets and related equipment provided by the British government were not at the top of the line. Colonial governments traditionally received obsolete and older arms from Britain in times of crisis. For example, in the fall of 1755, thenGovernor Shirley described the 2,000 weapons he received from England as “Land muskets of the King’s pattern with double bridle locks, old pattern nosebands and wood rammers.” In 1756, an additional 10,000 similar muskets were shipped to the colonies, including Massachusetts. The descriptions of these muskets, particularly with the emphasis on “double

bridle locks,” suggest the muskets issued to Massachusetts provincial troops were the outdated 1730 King’s Pattern (often and erroneously referred to as the 1st Model Brown Bess). The 1730 King’s Pattern represented most muskets shipped from England to Massachusetts during the French and Indian War. The 1730 musket’s overall length was sixtyone inches, its barrel length was forty-five inches, and its caliber was .77. This firelock featured a double bridled lock, a wood ramrod, a brass noseband to slow wear on the stock’s fore end, and a redesigned oval trigger lock. Many of these English weapons remained in the hands of provincial troops following their service against the French and would have seen action again on April 19, 1775.

Original 1730 King’s Pattern musket manufactured by gunmaker Edward Cookes. International Military Antiques Quotation in the title is from Recollections of an Old Soldier: The Life of Captain David Perry, A Soldier of the French and Revolutionary Wars, self-published in 1822 by Captain Perry.

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Discover CONCORD

| Spring 2022

©istock.com/Allkindza

BY ALEX CAIN


Articles inside

A Fresh New Spring

2min
pages 76-77

Arts Around Town

5min
pages 74-75

Barrow Bookstore Presents: Concord Trivia

7min
pages 70-71

Explorations of Black Past, Present, and Future

3min
page 66

Opening the Library’s Next Chapter

6min
pages 64-65

Artist Spotlight

4min
page 62

HARRY B. LITTLE: Colonial Revival Architecture in Concord

6min
pages 60-61

The French Countryside Arrives in Concord

3min
pages 58-59

Stories From Special Collections: The Art Collection

3min
page 56

Concord's Conantum: A Satisfying Place to Live

5min
pages 54-55

Flipping the Script: The Women of the Old Manse

3min
page 52

Relocated: Displaced Civilians and the Siege of Boston

4min
pages 50-51

The Wright Tavern Reveals its Historic Roots

6min
pages 48-49

EMERSON: Bridging Concord’s Past and Future

6min
pages 40-41

Finding the Balance: The Attias Group Works to Restore historic Homes While Innovating for the Future

6min
pages 38-39

Alive with Birds: William Brewster in Concord

6min
pages 36-37

Friend of the Poor and Needy: The Life of Reverend Daniel Foster

7min
pages 32-33

H.W. Brands Uncovers America’s Long History of Civil Conflict

5min
pages 28-29

The Deadly Hand of "The Irish Lafayette"

7min
pages 26-27

The Muskets of the Battles of Lexington and Concord

6min
pages 22-23

AN ILLUSTRATED TIMELINE OF April 19, 1775

5min
pages 20-21

PATRIOTS' DAY 2022

5min
pages 16-17

16 Things to See & Do in Concord this Spring

5min
pages 14-15
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