Discussion Flintlock weapons

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
Note well too that firing a musket that rapidly would produce a lot of high impacts downrange... NCOs often had to slow things down for that reason. Certainly these musketeers would have been drilled to that level of proficiency!
I was going to add that they were trained to achieve this rate of fire.
 

Craig L Barry

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
I did a column on this some time ago and going from memory, here is what I recall the research found:

After Fredericksburg in December 1862, the Confederates were gleaning the battlefield for better or more modern Union arms and noted 13 flintlocks among the fallen US soldiers. So there were still a few flintlocks in the ranks then, even in the much better equipped Union Army that late in the war. That was surprising to me. The last recorded use was in 1864 in the Western theater where a soldier remarked in his diary about getting his face singed by the flash in the pan from a flintlock fired by the soldier next to him. However, if memory serves that was some sort of hunting rifle brought from home.
 

FedericoFCavada

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Location
San Antonio, Texas
During the great December 1862 CSA cavalry raids by Van Dorn on Holly Springs, Mississippi and Forrest's "critter cavalry" on Jackson, TN, many of Forrest's men are thought to have had flintlocks among the assortment of arms, many of them decidedly "non-military." Van Dorn's raiders of course helped themselves to two to six new revolvers, carbines, blankets, shirts, hats, boots, rations, overcoats, etc. etc.--whatever they could carry from the turpentine and matches... Don't know about how Forrest's forces fared.
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Laurinburg NC

FedericoFCavada

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Recall that during the worst parts of the American Revolutionary War that Benjamin Franklin recommended the use of the Indian bow and arrow as being relatively inexpensive and having a rate of fire better than the flintlock musket. It was never even responded to. The Continental Army would use flintlock muskets or perish. Apparently, it assailed the conscience to entertain the notion to use a weapon of primitive savages. [so-called].
 

Don Dixon

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Location
Fairfax, VA, USA
Would a Brown Bess have been used?

Between 1 April and 13 June 1861 the Richmond Armory made issues from stock to Virginia and Confederate units. Among the weapons issued were "700 English flint muskets.” The interesting questions is, were they British Brown Bess muskets left over from the Revolutionary War? The notes made by the officials making the issues are completely inconsistent regarding the nomenclature of the arms being issued. While one may attempt to parse out what the models of the weapons were from the notes, this illustrates the lack of a functional logistics system in Virginia’s ordnance operations.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 

7thWisconsin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Yes, they were muskets of the Brown Bess family, but left over from the War of 1812. A slightly different model with minor differences in details like what the ramrod thimbles and lock backplate look like, but identifiable as "Brown Bess" muskets.
 

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
Forum Host
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Jan 3, 2019
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia

Craig L Barry

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
This much is known. The reliability of flintlocks (especially in wet weather) was a concern. Stonewall Jackson "borrowed" VMI's supply of cadet percussion muskets and the Governor of Virginia wrote asking for their return in October 1862. Jackson replied that he regretted that he could not return VMI's muskets "until percussion muskets could be issued to replace them." I believe that is from the Liberty Hall Volunteers book.

There is also a recollection from one of Jackson's soldiers published in "Confederate Veteran" Vol 24 where he talks about serving with Jackson in June 1862. One part is titled "How We Were Armed." If I recall he states they mostly had "old smoothbore muskets which had done service in previous wars." However, he goes on to say that they gradually upgraded with captured Federal arms as the campaign went on.
 

drm2m

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Location
Quebec
Some years ago I acquired this M1816 Springfield musket with an 1827 lock plate date hoping that it might be considered an early CW musket.


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DR.NUMBERS

Cadet
Joined
Feb 14, 2016
I've been reading about use of the Brown Bess variants during the Civil War.

Some Virginia units had flintlock and percussion "English" smoothbores.
Some Louisiana volunteers had "Bess" muskets, certainly conversions, not sure about flintlocks.
The Alabama guards at Andersonville were armed with the flintlock Brown Bess.

Of his troops guarding Columbus, Missouri, Grant writes November 21st, 1861:

The condition of this command is bad in every particular except discipline In this latter I think they will compare favorably with almost any volunteers. There is great deficiency in transportation, I have no ambulances. The clothing received has been almost universally of an inferior quality and deficient in quantity. The arms in the hands of the men are mostly the old flint lock repaired, the "Tower" musket, and others of still more inferior quality. My cavalry force are none of them properly armed, the best being deficient in sword belts and having the old pattern carbines. Eight companies are entirely without arms of any description. The Quartermaster's Department has been carried on here with so little funds that Government credit has become exhausted. I would urgently recommend that relief in this particular be afforded at as early a day as practicable.
- U.S. GRANT, Brigadier General


Col. Heiman's 10th Tennessee in 1862 were armed with:

To oppose this force General Tilghman had less than four thousand men - mostly raw regiments armed with shotguns and hunting rifles; in fact the best equipped regiment of his command, the 10th Tennessee was armed with old flint lock "Tower of London" muskets that had "done the state some service" in the war of 1812.

- Fort Henry and Fort Donelson Campaigns, February, 1862: Source Book. The General Service Schools, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1923, p.17, 497.


Any flintlock Bess' obtained from overseas were probably post-1797 3rd model, India pattern guns. BUT the Virginia contract guns accepted in 1799 (iirc) have features of the 2nd model, Short Land Pattern guns e.g. furniture, barrel length. Additionally, the weapons captured during the war of 1812 (or possibly earlier) could also be of the Short Land Pattern as these remained in service longer overseas, and more generally remained in concurrent use into the early 1800s.
 
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toot

Corporal
Joined
Jan 21, 2021
I would expect some regiments, both North and South, trained at muster camps with flint locks. Many would have received better arm before departing the state. To be honest drilling with flint locks would be less embarrassing than drill with stick or poles.
or worse- BROOMS!
 
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