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Pattern 1738 Land Service pistol

ca. 1745-1750
Origin: Great Britain, England
OL: 19" Barrel: 12" x .58 caliber
Walnut, iron, steel and brass
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1949-204
Pattern 1738 Land Service pistol with walnut stock, round barrel, rounded cast brass mounts and "banana shaped" regulation lock. Reproduction brass tipped wood ramrod.
Label:Military pistols of this type are usually referred to as "horse pistols" because they were carried in pairs by heavy cavalry troopers in saddle holsters. Sometime before 1750, the Colony of Virginia also equipped a unit of horse soldiers. While the usual foot soldier carried a musket and bayonet, these cavalrymen were equipped with a carbine, a heavy cutting & thrusting sword and a pair of long pistols. It is likely that the 193 pistols recorded as being in the Governor's Palace in July 1750 were very similar to this fine example.
Provenance:Formerly part of an arms display at Stirling Castle, Scotland dismantled at the beginning of WWII. Sold to W. Keith Neal c.1940, and thence to Colonial Williamsburg. Quote from a letter dated 21 March 1949, from W. Keith Neal "They are all of the pattern used in the American War of Independence and are from a series of arms which were until recently in Stirling Castle, Scotland where they had been preserved ever since the time they were in service and sold to me by order of the War Office some years ago. Hence they are absolutely genuine service pistols..."
Mark(s):Lock engraved with "Crown GR" ahead of cock and "FARMER / 1745" in two lines behind, and a "Crowned Broad Arrow" is struck under the pan. Barrel is struck with the usual Ordnance View & Proof marks plus Farmer's initials "IF." Stock is marked with the Ordnance storekeepers mark above the tail of the lockplate.