Fort Ticonderoga has recently acquired three British muskets that last served at Fort Ticonderoga 240 years ago. Three muskets carried by the 53rd Regiment of Foot are a part of one of the most exciting moments of the Revolutionary history of Ticonderoga and are rare examples of British military firearms from the Revolutionary War.
“The muskets are all marked with a series of numbers and letters that indicate their use with the 53rd Regiment beyond any doubt, even indicating the company and soldier they were carried by. Such information allows the Fort Ticonderoga Museum to say with confidence that these muskets have come back where they saw action 240 years ago,” said Matthew Keagle, Fort Ticonderoga’s Museum Curator. “A single such survivor is rare, for three weapons to emerge is almost unprecedented. The important history of these weapons has been acknowledged through their past loan to the museum, now they will permanently be joining the collection where they will be on display for visitors every day.”
In addition to their legacy at Ticonderoga, these muskets are also important examples of British military long arms from the late 18th century. Noted arms researcher Bill Ahearn first identified these as a unique pattern of weapon, produced in Ireland specifically for the 53rd Regiment. Although similar in their overall appearance, the exact proportions and details of these weapons make them distinct from any other British military weapon from the period.
About the 53rd Regiment of Foot:
General John Burgoyne’s British and German army captured Fort Ticonderoga in July of 1777. By August, the garrison consisted of Germans of the Brunswick Regiment Prinz Friedrich and the British 53rd Regiment of Foot, and then later were spread out across Mount Independence in Vermont all the way to the modern town of Ticonderoga, the head of Lake George, and the summit of Mount Defiance. An American raid on September 18 caught them off guard and succeeded in capturing four companies of the 53rd, Mount Defiance and its artillery, and freed American prisoners of war held by the British. Despite these initial successes, they were not prepared for a formal siege and after four days, the Americans withdrew, leaving the fort in British hands until early November.
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Photo Credit: Fort Ticonderoga