Original British 1796 3rd Model India Pattern Brown Bess Musket - Princeton Battlefield Museum

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. IMA has acquired a collection of authentic American Revolutionary War weapons which, for the past 20 years, have been on display at the Princeton Battlefield State Park Clarke House Museum located in Princeton, New Jersey. This musket was part of that renowned collection.

In 1794 the British Ordnance Department sanctioned the use of muskets which in modem times has become known as the Third model or India pattern Brown Bess. Its .75 caliber barrel had been reduced to 39 inches, only three ramrod guides were provided, the escutcheon plate was discarded, and the simplified brass furniture of the East India pattern muskets was used.

Whether any of these Third models were used here during the American Revolution is questionable. However, some evidence does exist to show that while they were not accepted as an official British shoulder arm until 1794, prototype Third model weapons might have been used here during the Revolutionary war. Recent evidence from excavated Revolutionary War battle sites tends to show that some India pattern guns might have been used in America. Noted historian and collector Dale Anderson states that the Smithsonian Institute is now certain that Third models appeared about 1777 and that the National Park Service has a complete Third model confiscated from the British at Yorktown. There is also some evidence to show that captured Third models might have been stored in Federal armories after the war.It is known that simplified India pattern type furniture was used on privately made British firearms before and during the Revolution.

This weapon is an excellent example of the British India pattern musket. It is 55 inches overall and has the standard .75 caliber, 39 inch barrel. The lock is marked TOWER and has the crown over GR mark. The stock is marked with a BO (Board of Ordnance) with broad Arrow indicating that it is a British Military issued example. This example has a later fitted back sight which is unusual for a musket.

The Third Model Brown Bess may therefore have served, to a degree in the 1777-1784 conflict but most certainly they did in the War of 1812 when the British burned the White House. However, its most famous success was as the British Line Musket that defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Included with the Musket we provide the original museum display printed description card with its detailed Inventory description file sheet referring to the Musket as ITEM 35. You can't ask for better provenance than that!

This amazing musket is correct in every respect and shows use commensurate with its age and military service. Offered in wonderful condition having been on public display in the Sate of New Jersey Revolutionary War Museum for over 20 years.


Year of Manufacture: Circa 1796

Caliber: .75" Musket
Ammunition Type: Lead Ball & Powder
Overall Length: 55 inches
Barrel Length: 39 inches
Action: Flintlock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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