18th Century Virginia Frontier Musket

French and Indian War Era Virginia Musket used at the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, and saved by the McBride Family of Bath County, Virginia.

Description

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This salty-looking musket came out of the McBride family from modern day Bath County, Virginia. It was used by Joseph McBride to fight in the Battle of Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774. It was likely stocked on the Virginia frontier during the French and Indian War, and possibly in Staunton, Virginia, by the Committee of Safety of Augusta County. It completely lacks decoration, and was clearly intended for military use. The musket utilizes iron mountings, and a mish-mash of recycled and gunsmith made parts. It has a bore of .75 caliber.

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Here it is pictured with a powder horn, which also saw service at the Battle of Point Pleasant.

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Joseph McBride lived in what is now Bath County, Virginia, but what was in 1774, Botetourt County. He had a brother, James McBride, who also fought in Lord Dunmore’s War, but I’m not sure if he lived in Botetourt, or Bedford County, with whom he enlisted. Either could be possible.

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James McBride was a Lieutenant in the Virginia Militia, and during the Revolutionary War, was at one point was a private in the Fifth Regiment of the Virginia Line. Prior to the Revolutionary War, he was a member of Capt. Thomas Buford’s Company of Bedford County, Virginia, riflemen during Lord Dumore’s War, in 1774. Capt. Buford died of wounds sustained during the battle.

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Joseph McBride was a member of John Murray’s Botetourt Company, during Lord Dunmore’s War. John Murray himself was killed during the Battle of Point Pleasant. Thus, the companies of both Joseph and James saw fighting at the battle, and both of their commanders were killed.

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It’s unknown why the two brothers served in separate companies. However, I know it wasn’t just them. There were two members of my family who served at the battle, and though they both came from the same plantation on the Roanoke River, they served in different companies, with volunteers from other settlements. As such, I’m not sure if both Joseph and James were residing at the same place at this time – which I believe would have been Botetourt County, or whether they lived separately in 1774.

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It’s unusual for a military musket to have a front sight… but it does. If you’ve got one gun, and you’re on the frontier, you are likely going to need to aim when using solid roundballs. It makes sense.

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.75 caliber bore, which is an indication this was thrown together during the French and Indian War. Being the standard caliber for British troops, using their “Brown Bess” muskets, this caliber would have offered the ability to use British ammunition without modification.

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Sling swivels, in the front and back – a necessary component for military use during the 18th Century. And all iron hardware.

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