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American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume I

Colonial and Revolutionary War Arms

George D. Moller

Publication Year: 2011

American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume I: Colonial and Revolutionary War Arms focuses on the arms used from the early exploratory period throughout the colonial period and the American Revolution. Arranged chronologically, it contains definitive descriptions of the pre-flintlock and flintlock shoulder arms used in North America and detailed accounts of the development and progression of military regulation shoulder arms of the major colonial powers from the early eighteenth century through the Revolutionary War.

Lavishly illustrated with more than four hundred vivid photographs of muskets, rifles, carbines, and other arms, this book offers an intelligent analysis of the shoulder arms procured and used by the colonists, colonial and state governments, and the Continental Congress.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

Cover

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pp. i-ii

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv

CONTENTS

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pp. v-x

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PREFACE

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pp. xi-xii

In 1956 I made the decision to concentrate my collecting interests in the field of U.S. military shoulder arms. Because of this, I became interested in the published works on the subject and purchased the available books of Claud E. Fuller, James E. Hicks, Arcadi...

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. xiii-xvi

The work of every historian owes a great deal to the efforts of fellow scholars past and present. As Cervantes observed: "Though seemingly the parent, I am in truth only the step-father."...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. xvii-xxiv

The field of American military shoulder arms includes the muskets, rifles, carbines, musketoons, and blunderbusses used in the field by American armed forces. This volume also briefly describes some of the arms primarily designed for hunting that were used for military purposes, because during the early colonial period, and especially during the...

PART I

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AMERICAN COLONIAL. ARMS HISTORY

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pp. 3-12

Some historians divide North American history, between Columbus's discovery of the New World and the outbreak of the American Revolution, into three time periods. The pre-colonial period extended from 1492, the year of Columbus's discovery, to 1607, the year the first...

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IGNITION SYSTEMS OF COLONIAL ARMS

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pp. 13-25

The matchlock system takes its name from the "slow match" used to ignite the priming powder. Because the hand cannon, which was ignited by a hot wire or glowing ember, required the shooter to remain in some proximity to a fire, the invention of the slow match provided...

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COLONIAL SHOULDER ARMS

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pp. 26-96

Several different types of shoulder arms were used by the colonial militias of the British North American colonies. Records of the early colonial period indicate that the militia relied on matchlock muskets, bastard muskets, and limited numbers of long fowlers. By the late...

PART II

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DEFINITION OF ARMS BY TYPE, SOURCE, AND ORIGIN

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pp. 99-104

The extreme diversity of shoulder arms used by the American revolutionaries ranged from arms that had been made over eighty years before the Revolution to the latest and best European military muskets of the period. They included long, awkward fowling...

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PRIVATELY OWNED ARMS PROCURED DURING THE REVOLUTION

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pp. 105-

These arms were supplied during the early part of the war, often by the individual soldier when he entered military service. Less frequently, they were procured through purchase by colonial or state authority, and even less frequently they were procured by authority of the Continental...

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MUSKETS PROCURED BY AUTHORITY OF A COLONY OR STATE

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pp. 106-130

It is a misconception that all American-made British pattern Revolutionary War muskets were "Committee of Safety" muskets. As it is explained below, the colonies1 committees of safety procured muskets between late spring of 1775 and 1778. By 1778 the legislatures of the several colonies had adopted new constitutions and had become...

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MUSKETS PROCURED BY AUTHORITY OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS

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pp. 131-136

Continental contract muskets are those American-made muskets that were procured by contract with private gunmakers under the direct or indirect authority of the Continental Congress....

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CONTINENTAL ARSENALS AND LABORATORIES

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pp. 137-140

The terms used to describe manufacturing and storage facilities in 18th-century America are often misunderstood. An "arsenal" differs from an "armory" in that an arsenal was usually a place where arms and military supplies were stored, whereas an armory was a place...

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CONTINENTAL MUSKET PARTS PROCUREMENT

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pp. 141-145

Most of the American gunmakers did not manufacture all of the metal components of the muskets they produced during the Revolutionary War. They often stocked muskets using metal components made by others. Some gunmakers could fabricate all of a musket's metal...

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REVOLUTIONARY WAR REPAIR OF ARMS

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pp. 146-158

Little is known of the repair of arms for the continental government prior to 1780, when the Philadelphia Supply Agencies were established A few of the records of William Henry, Sr., who was appointed superintendent of arms and military accoutrements by the U.S. Board of War in 1778, have survived along with the family papers and are...

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"US" IDENTIFICATION OF CONTINENTAL MUSKETS

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pp. 159-162

In order to reduce the theft of continental muskets, on February 14, 1777, the Board of War recommended to Congress that all continental arms be stamped with "United States," On February 24 the Continental Congress resolved: "The arms and accouterments, belonging...

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AMERICAN-ASSEMBLED MUSKETS OF BRITISH, FRENCH,AND GERMAN STATES' PATTERNS

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pp. 163-177

A commonly encountered type of Revolutionary War musket in American collections is one that has been assembled or restocked in America using regulation metal components of British, French, or German manufacture or American-made components of the British or French military style. Very few surviving muskets assembled...

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THE AMERICAN LONG RIFLE

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pp. 178-186

Immigrants to the British North American colonies began arriving from the German states shortly after the turn of the 18th century. Because most of the Atlantic coast was already occupied, they settled further inland, in Pennsylvania, and then spread to Virginia, the...

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AMERICAN-ASSEMBLED CARBINES

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pp. 187-189

Surviving examples of American-assembled Revolutionary War carbines are fairly rare, probably because there were only limited numbers of mounted troops in comparison with infantry. Many of the carbines observed, which have been attributed to Revolutionary...

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AMERICAN-ASSEMBLED BLUNDERBUSS ARMS

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pp. 190-192

The known examples of blunderbuss arms attributed to Revolutionary War use were assembled using existing barrels. Their use is obscure, but some may have seen service aboard the several hundred American privateers during that war....

PART III

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FOREIGN SHOULDER ARMS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

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pp. 195-

Over 90 percent of the small arms used by the American forces during the Revolutionary War were of foreign manufacture. In addition, due to the lack of an established firearms manufacturing industry in America, a large percentage of both state-owned and...

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ARMS CAPTURED DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

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pp. 196-197

Early in any revolution the revolutionary forces frequently obtain arms and other military stores from the government in power. The American Revolution was no exception. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities in April 1775, the British and loyalists confiscated military...

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FOREIGN DIPLOMACY AND ARMS PROCUREMENT DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

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pp. 198-205

The outbreak of the Revolution in the British North American colonies was received with a wide variety of reactions by the various European powers. It was natural that some monarchs would feel threatened by the colonies' revolt against their king. Others opposed the...

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FOREIGN ARMS PROCURED BY INDIVIDUAL COLONIES

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pp. 206-210

During the colonial period, each colony had functioned more or less independently of the others under the authority of the British Crown, as represented by the colonial governor. The unification into the United Colonies and then the United States achieved...

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BRITISH MILITARY SHOULDER ARMS

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pp. 211-290

As has been discussed in the colonial period sections of this work, British military shoulder arms had been used in the British North American colonies since their establishment. From the early 1690s to the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), over 107,000 Americans saw service in...

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FRENCH ARMS

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pp. 291-371

The vast majority of arms imported into the United States for the use of the American revolutionary forces were French. Well over 100,000 French muskets are known to have been imported, as well as enough metal components to complete half again as many more. It is possible...

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LIEGE ARMS

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pp. 372-378

The arms manufacturing city of Liege is located astride the Meuse River, in what is today eastern Belgium....

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DUTCH ARMS

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pp. 379-403

Dutch archives have not yet been located that show the vast quantity of arms sold to the British from the 16th century. This information has come from England and is explained in a previous section, "British Foreign Purchase Arms." Dutch sources do show the sales to other...

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SPANISH ARMS

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pp. 404-412

Spanish military shoulder arms saw service in North America during the colonial period and later during the American Revolution. However, little is known of the use of Spanish military arms by American revolutionaries....

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GERMAN STATES' FORCES IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

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pp. 413-417

Few arms students understand the many, almost feudalistic, Germanic states that made up north-central Europe in the 18th century. These states were ruled by various princes, dukes, landgraves, and electors. Many small groups of states were interdependent and intertwined...

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GERMAN STATES' MUSKETS

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pp. 418-447

Limited information has been obtained from authoritative European and American sources about the muskets used by the soldiers of the six German states who served in North America during the Revolution. Research in public and private collections in America has yielded...

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JAGER RIFLES

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pp. 448-462

The German word Jtiger means "hunter." The early Jager short rifles of the 17th century were equipped with wheel-locks and massive butts, designed to be fired from the chest. By the first quarter of the 18th century the flintlock short Jager rifle, fired from the shoulder, was...

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APPENDIX 1:BRIEF MILITARY HISTORY OF COLONIAL AMERICA

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pp. 463-473

Columbus's discovery of the New World in the late 15th century was followed by Spanish, English, and French military and quasi-military expeditions to North America. Others were undertaken by the Swedes and the Dutch. Most of these early expeditions were exploratory in...

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APPENDIX 217TH-CENTURY BRITISH ARMY ORGANIZATION AND LINEAR TACTICS IN EUROPE

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pp. 474-475

It is likely that British North American colonial militias were generally patterned after the organization of the British Army, although the sizes of the respective units may have been smaller. Therefore, an...

APPENDIX 3:DATES OF WARS AND MILITARY ACTIONS THAT INVOLVED COLONIAL NORTH AMERICAN ARMED FORCES AND THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES

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pp. 476-477

APPENDIX 4:REVOLUTIONARY WAR BACK GROUND INFORMATION

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pp. 478-483

APPENDIX 5:SHOULDER ARMS KNOWN IMPORTED DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

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pp. 484-485

APPENDIX 6:PERSONNEL IN CHARGE OF SMALL ARMS PROCUREMENT TO 1815

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pp. 486-487

APPENDIX 7:CALIBER DESIGNATIONS OF AMERICAN MILITARY SHOULDER ARMS AND AMMUNITION

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pp. 488-489

APPENDIX 8:REVOLUTIONARY WAR NAVIES AND PRIVATEERS

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pp. 490-494

GLOSSARY

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pp. 495-498

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 499-504

INDEX

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pp. 505-517


E-ISBN-13: 9780826349965
E-ISBN-10: 082634996X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826349958
Print-ISBN-10: 0826349951

Page Count: 540
Illustrations: 435 halftones
Publication Year: 2011