Original French and Indian Wars British 1742 Pattern Long Land Brown Bess Musket by Jordan - Dated 1744 - 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 magnificent 46 inch long barreled Brown Bess Musket was exactly what the British used in those early Colonial days and saw service throughout the French & Indian War (Seven years War 1756-1763) and on through the Revolutionary War of 1775-1784.

The Long Land Pattern British Brown Bess musket was the primary weapon of the British soldier throughout the early and mid-18th century. They were the standard weapon of the British army and colonial provincial militia troops during the French-Indian War in America and many were used during the American Revolution. Close range combat was the order of the day and these smoothbore weapons were terribly effective when volleys were fired at massed troops.

The manufacture of muskets in 18th century Great Britain entailed a system where metal gun parts which were stored in the Tower of London were distributed to gunmakers for manufacture into complete weapons. The gunmaker firms were comprised of two groups of workers called "roughstockers" and "setters-up". The roughstockers formed the finished gunstocks from rough blanks and the setters-up fit the metal components to the finished gunstocks. In many cases the stocks of completed muskets contain a proofmark found in the ramrod channel. This mark is usually found between the third ramrod guide and the tailpipe. Usually these marks are comprised of a letter or number but in some instances whole names appear. Quite often the metal parts are also marked with Roman numerals. These marks represent the stockmaker's mark, and the mark of the person setting up the metal parts of the gun, as proof for payment of their services.

This example is a Long Land Pattern British Brown Bess musket. It has all the features of the early Long Land guns. The convex "banana" shaped lockplate is engraved with the standard British military marks of a crown over a GR, plus a crown over a broadarrow. The name of the lockmaker, IORDAN, and the 1744 date of lock manufacture, are also stamped on the lockplate. 18th century J's were engraved as I's. The brass tipped wooden ramrod is held by three barrel shaped thimbles plus a tailpipe. The 46 inch pinned .82 caliber barrel is marked with private proofmarks instead of those of the Tower. The "V" stamp signifies the first rough proofing and the "GP" is the gunmaker's final proof. These marks indicate that the gun was produced under private contract for commercial use and not for the Board of Ordnance.

This musket has the mark I.LOCK stamped into the ramrod channel between the third ramrod guide and the tailpipe. It's recorded that in 1741 John Lock began his seven year apprenticeship as a stocker to John Hall of the Gunmakers Company (1). Hall was a gunmaker who manufactured weapons from 1727 until 1760 and it's quite possible that his firm produced this Brown Bess.

British historian Doctor DeWitt Bailey describes Long Land Pattern muskets marked such as this. He states that private contractors bought government parts to be used in the manufacture of Long Land muskets for private contract or commercial sales (2) These muskets are distinguished from government owned arms in that at least one component of the gun has private proofmarks. The late Anthony Darling's research indicated that large numbers of these muskets were manufactured for militia use during the 1740's and early 1750's. In 1756 alone records show that 3,741 Long Land muskets were shipped to the colonies (3). Whether these were standard government issue or were privately contracted for is not known. Mr. Darling believed it possible that muskets marked like this could have been used to arm the ten regiments of Marines that were in existence between 1739 and 1748 (4).

During the French-Indian War in America the provincial militia troops saw considerable action and existing records show specific instances where they were armed with Long Land Pattern private contract muskets (5). Whether this weapon was used by a colonial militiaman or not will never be known but it does represent the type of musket carried by colonials during the wars in the Colonies prior to the Revolution.

Photographs of the marks on this musket appeared in the May 1994 issue of The Gun Report, in an article entitled, "Colonial Firearms Displayed at the Princeton Battlefield". This musket was previously on display at the Thomas Clarke House, in the Princeton Battlefield State Park, in an exhibit entitled, "Arms of the Revolution".

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


Year of Manufacture: Circa 1744

Caliber: .75" Musket
Ammunition Type: Lead Ball & Powder
Barrel Length: 46 inches
Overall Length: 62 inches
Action: Flintlock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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1) Blackmore, Gunmakers of London 1350-1850, p.81.
2) Bailey, British Military Longarms 1715-1865, p. 79.
3) Reilly, United States Martial Flintlocks, p.17.
4) Darling, Red Coat and Brown Bess, p. 23.
5) Mulligan, The City of New York Muskets 1755-1775, Man at Arms Magazine, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 35-36.
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