Muskets: Weapons of War

Long-land pattern musket

Muskets were perfect for militia use. Americans who could afford multiple firearms often bought muskets for militia muster, leaving their rifles and fowlers at home. After the Revolution, some states began issuing muskets to the militia. Some Pennsylvanians actually took those muskets and put them to personal use.

Some Americans owned muskets to comply with the law. Muskets have a large caliber, are heavy and long, and are very durable. This means they use more precious powder and lead every time they fire, but can be reloaded much faster. They can also mount bayonets, and the extra weight is essential in close combat. By law, all colonists were required to own muskets for militia use. However, many Americans simply brought their unsuitable fowlers or rifles to the militia--with disasterous results when the American Revolution started.

Long-land pattern musket

This is the long-land pattern English musket, also known as the Brown Bess. The pattern was widespread in America under British rule, and colonial gunsmiths often copied it. After the Revolutionary War, Americans switched to the French Charleville pattern, since so many French muskets had been imported during the fighting.

Muskets: Weapons of War