Original French Napoleonic Swivel Blunderbuss Captured by HMS Alacrity in 1807 from the French Ship Friedland

Item Description

Original Item. One-of-a-kind. This is a head turner. Dating from the late 18th century, this is a continental Iron barrel flintlock ship's swivel gun bluderbuss of massive proportions. It has an overall length of 49 inches, and the the 31 inch iron barrel has an oval muzzle that measures four inches across.

The large wood stock comes almost all the way to the muzzle and is supported in the middle by a truly enormous swivel yoke, with a 5" x 1" base pin for securing to the ship's rail. The musket style lock has a flash guard fitted to the exterior side of the pan. The mounts, butt plate, trigger guard, side plates and ramrod pipes are all iron and it retains its original iron ramrod. It has been placed on a wood display block, which has a hook connected to the trigger guard in order to keep the muzzle at the correct angle.

On the downside, the entire gun is in neglected and pitted condition. Clearly from a long time ago, but there is a very good explanation. On the left side of the dark wood butt there is a 3" x  2" engraved silver oval plaque that reads:

- Taken From -
Under the command of
- Dec. 14th 1807 -
By the men of H.M.S. ALACRITY
later discovered in the
- 1856 -


So it appears this fabulous swivel gun was taken as a prize from the French ship Friedland, which research tells us was a Privateer. It was then taken to Portsmouth, stored and forgotten, in miserable seaport conditions, only to be discovered 49 years later!

A fascinating story of a terrific trophy of war. If only it had been treated with more respect at the time.


Year of Manufacture: c. 1780-1805
Caliber:  Blunderbuss - 4 inches wide
Ammunition Type: Lead Shot & Powder
Barrel Length: 31 inches
Overall Length: 49 inches
Action: Flintlock Side Action
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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