This Brown Bess has brass furniture and an early trigger guard. Additionally, the bulge in the stock and single stem at the rear of the trigger are also early features. The GR proof mark with crown is the cipher for Georgious Rex (George I - George III).
The musket includes the early “banana-style” lock plate which is stamped with the lock manufacturer's name “R Watkin.”
The stock butt is crudely carved with the letters “E*D” which may be the initials of the musket's owner at one time. The brass furniture includes a trigger-guard plate, flat side plate and a shorter tang on the stock's butt plate.
The top of the barrel is clearly stamped with the heart-shaped “EIC” markings of the East India Company. Additional barrel markings include “WILSON 1779.” These marks represent the London lock maker Richard Wilson. Other barrel markings include English government proof stamps and “RW.”
This model offered advanced improvements in French musket design during the 18th century which would carry into the Napoleonic War years. The earliest muskets of the 1777 model were issued to forces under General Rochambeau's Army who arrived in America in 1780.
The Flintlock Musket was a smoothbored, large calibered weapon that was perfectly suited for the military tactics of the period. The formation for an engagement was a line of battle, two to three lines deep, with soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder. In this formation, soldiers advanced to within surge distance of the enemy, delivered a volley, and again moved forward. Similarly, when receiving an attack in the open field, soldiers waited until the enemy was in range, fired a volley, loaded, and if possible, fired one or two more vollies before the enemy closed upon their position. With this form of tactic, rate of fire - not accuracy - was the objective. Thus, the Musket was the perfect weapon for the task.
A charge often consisted of one regiment on each side. If each regiment consisted of 500 soldiers, this means an attacking force would suffer the effects of at least 1,000 bullets from two volleys (20-25 seconds total) within 100 yards and the third volley would be taken within 30 yards. This was a treacherous obstacle to overcome on the battlefield.