Alamo relics: Need help with identifying

OldSarge79

Corporal
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Location
Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
A couple of weeks ago, I won two lots, at auction, of Alamo battlefield relics from a 2008 dig. Along with some recognizable items (rifle and musket balls, buttons, shoe buckles and pottery) there are these metal relics, which I am hoping a few can be identified as to what they are.

The long piece on the right appears to be either a long nail or a ramrod. The swelled area about 1 1/2 inches from the head is square (four-sided). It then reverts again to round. The square section is about 3/4 inch long.

One item looks like a nail punch. Its head is square.

The interior area of the long hook is filled in with solid mineral/rust, the the interior top and bottom edges are flat, at about a 45 degree angle. Maybe it is a wagon attachment or something similar.

Lastly, there are two balls described as "rifle shot." I don't have a caliper but one is about .45 to .50 caliber, the other is a little larger. The largest is one of the musket balls, about .75 caliber, which I included for size comparison.
Two questions:
Other than the smaller size, is there anything about these two that would identify them as rifle rounds? I don't see any rifling marks on them.
Also, one is somewhat flattened on one side, as can be seen in one of the photos. I am assuming this hit something. For those of you who know, does this look right for a "hit?"

I will probably keep some and sell the remainder before long.

Thanks in advance.

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Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Keep in mind that the area of the History Shop was technically out side of the mission, if I recall correctly there were corrals in that area. After the battle the mission was pretty badly damaged by Santa Anna’s directive so that it could not be used for a similar purpose again. Below is an overlay of the mission on a current map, the History Shop was in the white almost parallelogram building to the top center/right. Bullets found here would have either been fired from the mission or drops by Mexican troops. Very neat acquisition!
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OldSarge79

Corporal
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Location
Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
There are some nice items in this group. I take it the original seller did not have any idea as to the identity of all of the objects.
The rusted metal objects were not identified. There are, however, also 5 rifle and musket balls, 7 buttons, 2 shoe buckles and a piece of pottery in the lots. I'll probably post what I don't keep in the Sutlers and Soldiers Classified forum later this week or next week.
 
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OldSarge79

Corporal
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Location
Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
The long nail-lookin´ thing does look like the tip of a Brown Bess rammer.
That would be great if it was, but I'm not so sure.

I know that some British East India Company ramrods were squared behind the tip (I have one) but I've never heard of one that was round, then square, then round again.
Then again, I've never heard of a nail like that either.

Also, I have found that it is likely at least a few of the Mexicans were armed with British Baker rifles. They were .615 caliber, which does not appear to fit with any of the balls in this group. A good sign, perhaps, that the two rifle balls were Texan.

The Mexicans bought 90,000 British muskets and 2,000 Baker rifles in 1825. As far as I can tell, there has only been one piece of a Baker rifle found at the Alamo over the years....so there was at least one.
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
The Mexicans used Surplus British Brown Bess Muskets which were .75 caliber smoothbores.

A certain someone who isn't the most active here anymore recently got his hands on a certifiable Mexican Brown Bess. Hope he got a rubbing of the Mexican Eagle and Snake of the lockplate for me.

A repro 3rd Pattern Brown Bess for "Mexican-fying" is in my hopefully near future plans.
 

Peter Stines

Sergeant
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
The "nail" you describe with the swollen section is probably part of a ramrod from a Baker rifle. The Mexicans bought 75,000 stands of arms along with other items from England in 1824. The muskets were primarily the India Pattern "Brown Bess". There were some 2,000 Bakers in that purchase. The "Bess" was issued to line troops while the Baker was used by "Cazadores" or riflemen. During the Texas War The ratio of muskets and rifles is unclear. But I doubt if there were more than 500 in use. Santa Anna 's force was 6,000 not the 7,000 to 10,000 often quoted. And there were only 1,400 or so at the Alamo.



A certain someone who isn't the most active here anymore recently got his hands on a certifiable Mexican Brown Bess. Hope he got a rubbing of the Mexican Eagle and Snake of the lockplate for me.

A repro 3rd Pattern Brown Bess for "Mexican-fying" is in my hopefully near future plans.
Avoid the India made version. If you it want it done right get the parts set from the Rifle Shoppe and assemble it. Costs plenty but you get what you pay for. I have one of those and an original. Very close to just about identical.
 

Peter Stines

Sergeant
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
I got cut off. The Baker used a .59 caliber ball wrapped and sewn into a greased leather patch in the .62 caliber rifled barrel. The Bess fired a bare ball in .690 to .710 dia. The Mexicans also used buck and ball. The Baker ramrod has a swell near the tip and a hole under the button tip. This allows the use of a "torque" bar when cleaning or pulling a ball in case of a dead charge or no charge. The bar was part of the cleaning set issued with the rifle. There was a loop, ball screw, worm and turn screw. FWIW there were some 2,000 American muskets bought in 1824. Probably contract 1816 or maybe 1812 pattern. I don't know if any were carried to Texas since these were smaller bore (.69 cal) and lock parts were not useable on the English guns.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
The "nail" you describe with the swollen section is probably part of a ramrod from a Baker rifle. The Mexicans bought 75,000 stands of arms along with other items from England in 1824. The muskets were primarily the India Pattern "Brown Bess". There were some 2,000 Bakers in that purchase. The "Bess" was issued to line troops while the Baker was used by "Cazadores" or riflemen. During the Texas War The ratio of muskets and rifles is unclear. But I doubt if there were more than 500 in use. Santa Anna 's force was 6,000 not the 7,000 to 10,000 often quoted. And there were only 1,400 or so at the Alamo.




Avoid the India made version. If you it want it done right get the parts set from the Rifle Shoppe and assemble it. Costs plenty but you get what you pay for. I have one of those and an original. Very close to just about identical.

From the very few bona fide Mexican Besses I've seen, (three), their all commercial 3rd "India" Patterns, with the post-1809 cock. One in San Jacinto has the commercial markings, and I've seen two with British commercial marks removed and a Mexican Eagle and Snake with a sunburst engraved slash stamped.

As for Bakers....

While Mexico did buy them, I've about decided they were not used in the Texas Revolution. Kind of admission I hate to make as I love the Baker, but the evidence of their not being used to overwhelming. All the archeological dig data I've read, everyone I know who's dug Texas Rev. sites, has found ZERO evidence of Baker Rifles. No bullets, no parts, no nothing. Heck I know one guy who dug an area confirmed to have had Mexican Cazadores there and found a bunch of dropped Brown Bess balls, and even a Brown Bess lockplate.

I have read of smoothbore New Land Light Infantry musket parts and bullets being found. I'd personally hypothesize these and regular Brown Besses were the weapon of the Mexican light infantry. I know there's a picture of a Baker Rifle floating about the internet in a Mexican museum, but besides that and very outdated references to Mexican documents, (which an American would have better luck getting a private audience with the Pope than even locating much seeing due to Mexican suspicions of us), I'd say Bakers around is a big question mark.

If I were to make a guess about Santa Anna's light infantry, I'd say they didn't use Bakers but Besses and possibly New Lands. Reasons being to simplify supply of the troops in Texas, save money which was in short supply, and to avoid the necessary proper time consuming training in use of a Baker Rifle.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
Avoid the India made version. If you it want it done right get the parts set from the Rifle Shoppe and assemble it. Costs plenty but you get what you pay for. I have one of those and an original. Very close to just about identical.

Yeah I've no interest in waiting in line for years for an expensive Brown Bess kit. Especially when so many Texas and Rev. War reenactors have had used the India made ones for so many years with no issue. Though when I do order a repro, I will probably go to the Rifle Shoppe for a post-1809 cock and possibly a better frizzen. I wouldn't bother with a whole Rifle Shoppe kit unless it was something like the Ferguson Rifle, Spanish Escopeta, or a 1st Model Virginia musket. (None of which I can afford right now or I'd definitely be after a Ferguson.)

Only time I ever seen a India made musket blow up, it was on the second blank ever fired through it and the poor sap was loading it with modern smokeless powder.

While I'm a bit distrustful of India made guns and live rounds, and view all of them as projects, (lock work, some reworking of the stock along with finishing), I'm probably gonna buy the thing as a project to play with and enjoy to only shoot blanks at events. I love projects, and see no reason why India made ones wouldn't fit the ticket. I wouldn't shoot it live less I proofed it in a scientific manner.

Besides one must remember guns like the Brown Bess were pretty shoddily put together historically by modern standards, and not fine weapons. Given the price and labor I'd be as nervous reenacting with a Rifle Shoppe gun as an original one. To dang pricey and valuable to beat and bang up.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
A couple of weeks ago, I won two lots, at auction, of Alamo battlefield relics from a 2008 dig. Along with some recognizable items (rifle and musket balls, buttons, shoe buckles and pottery) there are these metal relics, which I am hoping a few can be identified as to what they are.

The long piece on the right appears to be either a long nail or a ramrod. The swelled area about 1 1/2 inches from the head is square (four-sided). It then reverts again to round. The square section is about 3/4 inch long.

One item looks like a nail punch. Its head is square.

The interior area of the long hook is filled in with solid mineral/rust, the the interior top and bottom edges are flat, at about a 45 degree angle. Maybe it is a wagon attachment or something similar.

Lastly, there are two balls described as "rifle shot." I don't have a caliper but one is about .45 to .50 caliber, the other is a little larger. The largest is one of the musket balls, about .75 caliber, which I included for size comparison.
Two questions:
Other than the smaller size, is there anything about these two that would identify them as rifle rounds? I don't see any rifling marks on them.
Also, one is somewhat flattened on one side, as can be seen in one of the photos. I am assuming this hit something. For those of you who know, does this look right for a "hit?"

I will probably keep some and sell the remainder before long.

Thanks in advance.

View attachment 386034

View attachment 386035

View attachment 386036

View attachment 386037

View attachment 386038
A couple of weeks ago, I won two lots, at auction, of Alamo battlefield relics from a 2008 dig. Along with some recognizable items (rifle and musket balls, buttons, shoe buckles and pottery) there are these metal relics, which I am hoping a few can be identified as to what they are.

The long piece on the right appears to be either a long nail or a ramrod. The swelled area about 1 1/2 inches from the head is square (four-sided). It then reverts again to round. The square section is about 3/4 inch long.

One item looks like a nail punch. Its head is square.

The interior area of the long hook is filled in with solid mineral/rust, the the interior top and bottom edges are flat, at about a 45 degree angle. Maybe it is a wagon attachment or something similar.

Lastly, there are two balls described as "rifle shot." I don't have a caliper but one is about .45 to .50 caliber, the other is a little larger. The largest is one of the musket balls, about .75 caliber, which I included for size comparison.
Two questions:
Other than the smaller size, is there anything about these two that would identify them as rifle rounds? I don't see any rifling marks on them.
Also, one is somewhat flattened on one side, as can be seen in one of the photos. I am assuming this hit something. For those of you who know, does this look right for a "hit?"

I will probably keep some and sell the remainder before long.

Thanks in advance.

View attachment 386034

View attachment 386035

View attachment 386036

View attachment 386037

View attachment 386038
I believe the item that is on the top row, third from the left and directly above the large “hook” might be a farrier’s hoof knife. They are used to trim the underside of hooves.
Can you put something beside it to illustrate the length and width?
If you’re unfamiliar with a farrier hoof knife - I ve attached a modern photo. (The item in your display is turned upside down when compared to the modern photo.)
The item you have appears to be the correct size and shape, including the inward turn at the end of the blade.
You have a nice accusation!

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