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Pattern 1779-S Land Service musket

ca.1779-1780
Origin: England, London & Birmingham
OL: 57 11/16" Barrel: 42" x .82 caliber
Walnut, iron, steel and brass
Museum Purchase, Mr. Gordon Barlow
Acc. No. 1987-24
Pattern 1779-S Short Land Pattern musket with walnut stock, round barrel, brass mounts including rounded "S" shaped sideplate, flared second rammer pipe and Pattern 1777 lock.
Label:Of the almost 20,000 complete muskets supplied to the Board of Ordnance from British sources between 1778 and 1780, only the Pattern 1779-S made by John Pratt has been positively identified. Long misunderstood as some weird hybrid Short Land / India Pattern musket, this firearm is easily spotted by the presence of the a convex “S” shaped sideplate on what otherwise would be a straight up Pattern 1777. First brought to attention in Darling’s "Red Coat and Brown Bess" in 1970, the 1779-S was thought by the author, and everyone else, to be a product of the 1790s.

As with any expediency or economy, this arm fails to meet the quality of its Ordnance contemporary, and was treated as such, seeing almost immediate shipment for use by British & perhaps Loyalist units serving in the rebellious colonies. With only 5103 of these arms supplied (versus some 172,000 P-1777 muskets), the fact that so many turn up in North America in well-worn condition supports the theory that the Pattern 1779-S saw extensive use here.

To date, three specimens bearing full British regimental markings have been identified, one marked to the 23rd Regt., and the other pair to the 76th Regt (aka MacDonald‘s Highlanders, disbanded in 1784). Markings for the two regiments are engraved in a different style, and were likely applied “in the field, “or perhaps at the anonymous American storehouse that issued them. This example of Pratt's work is identical in form to the regimental muskets, and first saw service during the American Revolution.
Mark(s):Lock engraved with "Crown GR" ahead of cock and "TOWER" behind, with a "Crowned Broad Arrow" struck under the pan. Barrel is struck with the usual Ordnance View & Proof marks, in addition to the "MB" barrel maker's mark of Matthias Barker.