An exceptional early British 2nd model Bess that was captured during the American Revolution. The lock is the pattern found on late 1st model and early 2nd model Brown Bess muskets with only one screw end visible behind the cock and early top jaw & back of cock features. Therefore one may believe this musket was either in the American colonies before the Revolution or came to America with British regiments sent to quell the revolution.
It is probable this musket was a battlefield capture damaged in combat. In the first years of the American Revolution, colonial forces were short of firearms and no musket, in whatever state it was found, was left on the field. This musket was probably captured in the Northeast – in New England or upstate NY – by Massachusetts or New Hampshire troops due to its having been restocked in birch. This strong and heavy wood was popular among 18th century cabinet makers and wood workers in the central and western areas of MA, and also in NH, but not so much in other locations. Birch could be stained and finished to look like walnut which made it appropriate for stocking military firearms in that period.
The birch stock was fashioned as close to British military pattern as possible and all the original British brass furniture was retained. This musket’s muzzle also had to be cut back an inch or so. Muskets of the period had thin walled muzzles. Many Brown Bess muskets had their muzzles cut back at least once. In combat on a battlefield rapid re-loading with steel ram rods along with fixing and/or un-fixing bayonets easily damaged musket muzzles. In the course of its active use this musket’ muzzle was cut back from 42” to 40 1/2” in two separate instances. In Americanizing this musket sling swivels were not fitted, in fact the forestock was not drilled for mounting a forward swivel (removal and/or lack of sling swivels on Brown Bess and Charleville muskets has long been accepted as evidence of American use, Colonials didn’t like to sling arms and swivels rattled in the woods). All British government marks on this musket’s barrel were deliberately removed which was common practice with captured arms during the Revolution. The ‘Tower, GR’ lock markings remain since their removal from the hardened steel lock plate would have been very difficult.
Condition: this musket is in excellent condition . The barrel retains its original in-the-black finish/patina, the only pitting of note is around the touch hole, the pan, and other lock surfaces exposed to firing. The lock has excellent matching untouched color/patina. The original brass hardware has excellent untouched patina. The stock has original color, proper handling wear, and excellent old surface. The lock mechanism works works well. It is interesting to note there is a light shadow at the forward end of the barrel indicating this musket was displayed/stored with its bayonet mounted for a very long time.
This musket is exceptional, a best-of-type American captured musket really used in the Revolution artifact. True American veterans like this were never easy to find and this one would be very hard to equal. We believe this musket has not previously been on the collector/dealer market. There is a strong possibility it also has an interesting post revolution history.
Dimensions: overall length 56″, barrel length 40 1/2″, caliber .75
Price: $7500.00 – SOLD