Museum Number: M-001
Technical Description: Flintlock Musket, .75 caliber, closely resembles the second pattern English Brown Bess. The round iron pin fastened barrel is 41 ½ inches in length. The small letter “W” or “V” is stamped on the left side of the barrel breech, the barrel tang is finished with the tang end square, the bayonet lug is mounted on the barrel top 1 ¾ inches from the muzzle. No other markings were noted on the barrel. The unmarked, unornamented lock is round faced; English Brown Bess style with a gooseneck cock. Inletting of the lock is deeper than normally seen. The walnut stock has the typical swell behind the tail pipe; the butt is deeply fluted along the stock comb. Four heavy brass ramrod pipes secure the iron ramrod; the forward pipe is flared to receive the ramrod. The stock belly forward of the trigger guard strap has been chiseled away exposing the ramrod. The barrel tang is inletted into a raised oval on the stock wrist. The lower sling swivel is mounted on trigger guard bow, the upper swivel is mounted on a threaded pin passing through the stock forward of the second ramrod pipe, both sling swivels now missing. The stock furniture is brass, heavy, and ornate. The butt plate, with a long ornate tang, is marked “D / 104”, possibly meaning, D Company, 104th musket, or D Company, 104thRegiment. A large brass escutcheon plate is inletted into the top of the stock wrist, no markings were noted on the escutcheon plate. The trigger guard is brass, trigger plate is round faced with ornate finials at each end, and the side plate is flat without the ornamentation found on the rest of the stock furniture. The fore stock nose cap is missing. The trigger guard strap is broken at the screw behind the trigger guard bow. The stock has a number of splits from the stock top extending back approximately ten inches. Moderate pitting on the breech at the touchhole; metal is a deep age brown, showing great age. The brass furniture has a beautiful patina. The flash pan aligns with the barrel touch hole; however, the lock is likely a period replacement, inletting is much deeper than normal and fitting is sloppy in places. Ramrod is likely original, correct Brown Bess style. With some minor repair to the fore stock, this would be a fine display piece, beautiful and historic old musket with lots of character.
Historical Significance: Quite possibly a Committee of Safety musket manufactured in the Colonies for the Revolutionary War use. Despite the shortcomings of the Brown Bess musket the first approach to arming the Colonies was to encourage the local manufacturing of flintlock muskets virtually identical to the Brown Bess. In November of 1775, the Continental Congress made an attempt to unify muskets procured for the Continental Army by specifying a musket design based on the Brown Bess. Contracts were let to various small American gun makers, many adhering to the specifications of the Continental Congress. Committee of Safety muskets were made in small quantities, often makers did not mark the barrels or locks to indicate who made them. Purchasing agents also bought many gun parts in Europe, and had them shipped to the American Colonies where the parts were turned into finished muskets by American gun makers. An important piece of history are the Committee of Safety muskets, along with captured British arms and muskets purchased in Europe were the principal arms used to fight the Revolutionary War until France began to provide the arms in increasing numbers in 1777. Committee of Safety muskets cost the Continental Congress an average of $12.30 each, while improved models of the French muskets cost an average of $5.00 each and many were donated by the French government. This musket may have also been assembled from captured parts, during or after the Revolutionary War. Without proof marks or dates on the barrel or lock it is impossible to definitely establish a year of manufacture. Disassembly of the arm may provide additional information on the markers of the barrel and lock. This is believed to be a genuine Revolutionary War musket.