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Re-stocked Fredericksburg Infantry Musket

ca.1776-1820
Origin: America, Virginia, Fredericksburg
Overall: 57" Barrel: 41 1/4" x .80 cal (approx.)
Maple, iron, steel and brass
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1975-66
Infantry musket executed in the British style with Short Land Pattern type brass hardware and flat lock. Round barrel with baluster-filed breech and front sight in place of a bayonet lug. Steel or iron rammer held by three pipes, including a long trumpet pipe and a tailpipe. Later maple stock with prominent lock and sideplate flats, and rounded, flat-sided buttstock.
Label:Virginia’s first official foray into the treatment of firearms on an industrial scale came in July of 1775. The Convention of Delegates, in looking to the future, enacted an ordinance calling for the establishment of an arms-making “Gunnery” at Fredericksburg, and the purchase of muskets from Philadelphia. Fielding Lewis, George Washington’s brother in law, and Charles Dick were placed in change of the operation. Always underfunded and short of raw material, their activities focused more on the repair of arms than their wholesale manufacture. During especially active periods, the Gunnery employed up to sixty workmen, and is known to have produced muskets similar in design to the Brown Bess. Lewis was financially ruined by the venture, and died in late 1781 while Dick was incompetent. Leaving a scant record of their activities behind, the Gunnery shut down in 1783, having produced an unknown number of firearms.

Amongst the first tasks completed by the Gunnery was the manufacture of locks to replace those removed, under order from Lord Dunmore, from some “old muskets” at the Powder Magazine in Williamsburg. No doubt, those locks were similar, if not identical to the 1776-dated example in this example. The original wooden stock of this musket was likely broken through the wrist, evidenced by the repaired triggerguard. When the musket was restocked at the end of the 18th century, it was done in a more up to date style, with a plainer buttstock than those fashioned during the Revolutionary War years.
Mark(s):Tail of lockplate engraved "FREDG over 1776." Two letter or monogram marks struck into the left side of the breech, are now worn and difficulty to decipher.