Original Revolutionary War British York City Militia Short Land Pattern Dragoon Brown Bess Musket by Watkin - 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.

This shoulder arm is an early 18th century (Circa 1730) British contract militia weapon sometimes referred to as a Heavy Dragoon musket. This type firearm greatly resembles the Long Land pattern British Brown Bess musket but employs a shorter 42 inch .75 caliber barrel, a feature adopted by the British Ordnance some years later.

The early lock mechanism encompasses an unbridled flashpan, a feature prevalent on British military weapons until about 1740. It is marked R WATKIN forward of the cock. It is recorded that Robert Watkin was a contract musket maker in London from 1710 until 1740, see English, Irish and Scottish Firearms Makers – 1954, by A. Merwyn Carey page 104. The barrel is marked N.109

The stock of this musket is made of walnut and has the mark YC 19 branded in 1 inch high letters into the left side of the butt. It's believed that this mark identifies the weapon as being at one point the property of the York City Militia unit (could also mean York Castle Militia).

All furniture is made of brass and conforms in style with that used on Long Land British muskets. However it only uses three ram rod pipes and no nose cap, furthermore, it came with a brass tipped wood ram rod which was standard until about 1745 when iron became the standard.

This type musket represents one the earliest versions of Brown Bess musket. Its' branded regimental mark and signed lockplate make it a very old and rare early 18th century British military weapon. A photograph of this musket was illustrated in an article written by Don Carrol for the January 1990 issue of "The Brown Bess Musket Regimentally Marked". Furthermore, this musket is featured in the wonderful book Muskets of the Revolution and the French & Indian Wars by Bill Ahearn pages 54-55.

With the outbreak of the French and Indian Wars in the United States, referred to as the Seven Years War in Europe, many of these DRAGOON BROWN BESSES were shipped to over for the conflict, 1756-1763, and continued to see service during the Revolutionary War. A truly lovely Dragoon Brown Bess Musket from an extremely early period of the 1730s that saw service through the American War of Independence.

Included with the Musket we provide the original museum printed display card on together with its detailed Inventory description file sheet referring to the Musket as ITEM 22. 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 1730-1740

Caliber: .75" Musket
Ammunition Type: Lead Ball & Powder
Overall Length: 57.5 inches
Barrel Length: 42 inches
Action: Flintlock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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