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gun barrels

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  • mmathews@xxxx.xxxxxx.xxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    I am wondering whether you collectively can tell me if the policy of polished musket barrels was retained throughout the war in the Americas? If not, would
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 21, 1999
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      I am wondering whether you collectively can tell me if the policy of
      polished musket barrels was retained throughout the war in the Americas?
      If not, would they be generally browned, blued, or something else? What
      about rifles? I am working under the assumption muskets were "in the
      white" until Mother Nature took over, but am willing to be corrected as
      I've seen reenactor examples in all shades. Along those lines, what is a
      period correct way to keep them nice and shiney? Seeing WD40 being
      liberally sprayed while the public is around doesn't do it for me
      personally.

      Thanks in advance.

      Michael

      Michael Mathews -- Winona State University
      Voice: (507) 285-7585 Fax: (507) 280-5568
      ------------------------------
      "Wit is educated insolence." -- Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
    • Greg Butt
      Dear Michael, I have some information on this subject which may be of help to you. The New South Wales Corps (Rum Corps) was renumbered the 102nd Regt. at the
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 21, 1999
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        Dear Michael,

        I have some information on this subject which may be of help to you.

        The New South Wales Corps (Rum Corps) was renumbered the 102nd Regt. at the
        end of their service as the garrison of NSW, Australia and after a stint
        back in the UK was sent to take part in the war of 1812 in North America.

        In some information from my friend Keith Raynor i have a reference to an
        inspection return of the 102nd on the browning of their muskets. Lt. Gen.
        Doyle in a confidential report (W.O. 27/107) on the 102nd Regt. submitted 16
        June 1812, comments that the Lieutenant Colonel (Napier) of the regiment had
        had the firelocks browned. AS this was not sanctioned by General Order,
        Napier was asked to provide a written explanation which was enclosed with
        the report.

        In his explanation, Napier gave the following reasons for browning the
        firelocks:

        1. Theres was no regulation against it.
        2. The barrels could be made bright again with sand paper.
        3. An order against burnishing the arms with the ramrods was seldom obeyed
        by other regiments. Thus, if the 102nd (who presumably did not burnish their
        arms in compliance with the order) were compared to other regiments their
        arms would appear dirty, thus hurting the pride of the 102nd.
        4. Browning preserves the arms and they are cleaned with beeswax once or
        twice every 6 months, thus preventing rust and making it unnecessary to
        remove the barrel as is so frequently done now.
        5. The dazzle of bright arms prevents aim being taken, in the sun-proof of
        this is that brown barrels are universally used by sportsmen.

        Napier concluded by saying that the men were pleased with the browning and
        that it helped get recruits from the Militia.

        Hope this is of help to you.

        Gregory Butt
        Sgt. 73rd Regt. New South Wales, Australia
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Michael Mathews <mmathews@...>
        To: WarOf1812@onelist.com <WarOf1812@onelist.com>
        Date: Thursday, 22 April 1999 6:49
        Subject: [WarOf1812] gun barrels


        >From: mmathews@... (Michael Mathews)
        >
        >I am wondering whether you collectively can tell me if the policy of
        >polished musket barrels was retained throughout the war in the Americas?
        >If not, would they be generally browned, blued, or something else? What
        >about rifles? I am working under the assumption muskets were "in the
        >white" until Mother Nature took over, but am willing to be corrected as
        >I've seen reenactor examples in all shades. Along those lines, what is a
        >period correct way to keep them nice and shiney? Seeing WD40 being
        >liberally sprayed while the public is around doesn't do it for me
        >personally.
        >
        >Thanks in advance.
        >
        >Michael
        >
        >Michael Mathews -- Winona State University
        >Voice: (507) 285-7585 Fax: (507) 280-5568
        >------------------------------
        >"Wit is educated insolence." -- Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
        >
        >
        >
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        >The War of 1812: In Europe, thousands fought over the fate of hundreds of
        square miles: in North America, hundreds determined the fate of THOUSANDS of
        square miles...
        >
      • Andrew Bateman
        ... Andrew Bateman writes: I read Greg Butt s post about the browning of the barrels in the 102nd Regiment. Here is an opposing bit of evidence. In
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 21, 1999
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          Michael Mathews wrote:
          >
          > From: mmathews@... (Michael Mathews)
          >
          > I am wondering whether you collectively can tell me if the policy of
          > polished musket barrels was retained throughout the war in the Americas?
          <snip>

          Andrew Bateman writes:

          I read Greg Butt's post about the browning of the barrels in the 102nd
          Regiment. Here is an opposing bit of evidence. In his memoir of the
          war of 1812, Pte. Shadrach Byfield of the 41st Regiment of Foot
          described the situation along the Niagara Frontier in December of 1813.
          In the early hours of December 22 during an advance on Fort Schlosser,
          Byfield's party halted on the road and was overtaken by a pedestrian in
          the dark.

          "I went back some distance and challenged. I was answered, 'A friend.'
          I asked him what regiment he belonged to. He replied, 'The militia.'
          Not being satisfied with his answers, I drew near to him, and took his
          arms and ammunition from him. A short time after, we saw another man,
          with polished arms, by which I knew he must be one of our men ... He
          belonged to the Royals."

          From this we can infer that the British forces at that time and place
          had polished arms but probably the Americans and militia did not. If
          the first pedestrian who Pte. Byfield disarmed had had a polished musket
          perhaps he would not have aroused Byfield's suspicions. It is also
          significant that Byfield did not mistake the man with the "polished
          arms" for a possible American regular. It should be pointed out that by
          this time Byfield had seen plenty of American muskets during the capture
          of Detroit and Fort Niagara. (He gives an amusing description of
          unloading the captured muskets at Detroit by firing them off - a
          practice the men soon had to abandon due to the wicked recoil of the
          American "buck and ball" load...) Also, judging by the official
          reaction to Col. Napier's order to have his regiment's arms browned, we
          may infer that the practice was unusual in the British army of 1812.

          Conclusion: This Redcoat reenactor is keeping his Bess in a high state
          of "shine"!

          KYPD,

          Pte. Andrew Bateman, 41st Regiment of Foot
        • BritcomHMP@aol.com
          In a message dated 4/21/99 5:53:23 PM Central Daylight Time, gbutt@one.net.au writes:
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 27, 1999
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            In a message dated 4/21/99 5:53:23 PM Central Daylight Time, gbutt@...
            writes:

            << 5. The dazzle of bright arms prevents aim being taken, in the sun-proof of
            this is that brown barrels are universally used by sportsmen.
            >>

            This is fascinating. The order in ergs is 'Present' not aim and I have read
            various notes about discouraging men from aiming. However this snippet from
            Napier seems to indicate that aiming was common, at least within his regiment.
            Interesting stuff!

            Cheers

            Tim
          • Roger Fuller
            Tim, British light infantry regiments after 1809 often browned their musket barrels, and some models of the Short Land Pattern, Light infantry Musket had
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 27, 1999
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              Tim,

              British light infantry regiments after 1809 often browned their musket
              barrels, and some models of the Short Land Pattern, Light infantry Musket
              had rudimentary rear sights installed after 1812. (source: "Redcoat and
              Brown Bess", by Anthony Darling)

              Light Infantry, at least in the British Army, had been taught to aim when
              firing independently or in file partners as far back as the AWI. (See Howe's
              LI Regs, 1774)

              YMH&OS
              Roger Fuller
              3/95th Foot


              -----Original Message-----
              From: BritcomHMP@... <BritcomHMP@...>
              To: WarOf1812@onelist.com <WarOf1812@onelist.com>
              Date: 27 April 1999 11:29
              Subject: [WarOf1812] Re: gun barrels


              >From: BritcomHMP@...
              >
              >In a message dated 4/21/99 5:53:23 PM Central Daylight Time,
              gbutt@...
              >writes:
              >
              ><< 5. The dazzle of bright arms prevents aim being taken, in the sun-proof
              of
              > this is that brown barrels are universally used by sportsmen.
              > >>
              >
              >This is fascinating. The order in ergs is 'Present' not aim and I have read
              >various notes about discouraging men from aiming. However this snippet from
              >Napier seems to indicate that aiming was common, at least within his
              regiment.
              >Interesting stuff!
              >
              >Cheers
              >
              >Tim
              >
              >
            • BritcomHMP@aol.com
              In a message dated 4/27/99 3:26:32 PM Central Daylight Time, fullerfamily@sprintmail.com writes:
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 27, 1999
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                In a message dated 4/27/99 3:26:32 PM Central Daylight Time,
                fullerfamily@... writes:

                << British light infantry regiments after 1809 often browned their musket
                barrels, and some models of the Short Land Pattern, Light infantry Musket
                had rudimentary rear sights installed after 1812. (source: "Redcoat and
                Brown Bess", by Anthony Darling)

                Light Infantry, at least in the British Army, had been taught to aim when
                firing independently or in file partners as far back as the AWI. (See Howe's
                LI Regs, 1774) >>


                Quite, but as Sean rightly points out, my point is that the 'Present' was
                used by the majority of the regiment. Napier seems to be making the argument
                for browning by implying that the whole of the regiment aimed which, as Sean
                said, was not done. Perhaps he knew that whoever read his recommendation
                would know he was referring to the Lights, if not its a bit of a curious
                statement.

                Cheers

                Tim
              • Jim Keigher
                To all, In regards to gun barrels, I came across this little bit of barracks room ballad. It is interesting to note that the ditty states that Sam sat there,
                Message 7 of 8 , May 1, 1999
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                  To all,

                  In regards to gun barrels, I came across this little bit of barracks room
                  ballad. It is interesting to note that the ditty states that Sam

                  "sat there, cleanin' 'is musket
                  And polishing barrel and butt . . ."

                  Other that that, enjoy the song.

                  YMH&OS

                  Jim Keigher
                  Corps of Canadian Voyageurs
                  Fort William
                  ------------------------------------------------

                  SAM SMALL'S CHRISTMAN PUDDING
                  (Stanley Holloway)

                  'Twere Christmas Eve in the trenches,
                  In Spain, in Peninsular War
                  And Sam Small were cleaning 'is musket,
                  A thing that he'd ne'er done before.
                  For they'd had an inspection that mornin'
                  And Sam had gone down in disgrace.
                  For when Sergeant 'had looked down the barrel ---
                  A sparrer flew out in 'is face!

                  The sergeant reported the matter
                  To Leftenant Byrd, then and there.
                  Said Leftenant " 'Ow jolly disgusting.
                  The Duke must be told of this 'ere!"
                  The duke were upset when he 'eard it.
                  'E said, "I'm astonished, I am.
                  I must make a most drastic example.
                  There'll be no Christmas pudding for Sam!"

                  When Sam were informed of his sentence
                  Surprise rooted 'im to the spot.
                  'Twere far worse than 'e 'ad expected---
                  'E thought as he'd merely be shot.
                  So Sam sat there, cleanin' 'is musket
                  And polishing barrel and butt
                  While the pudding 'is mother 'ad sent 'im
                  Lay there, on the ground, near 'is foot.

                  Now the sector that Sam's lot were 'olding
                  Ran about a place called Badajoz
                  Where the Spaniards 'ad put up a bastion,
                  And Oh! what a bastion it was.
                  They pounded away all that morning,
                  Bombarding as 'ard as they could,
                  And the Duke brought 'is own private cannon;
                  But that weren't a ha'pporth of good.

                  The Duke said, "Sam. Put dahn thy musket.
                  And help me to lay this gun true."
                  Said Sam, "Ye'd be best askin' favors
                  Of them as ye give puddin' to."
                  The Duke looked at Sam so reproachful
                  And "Don't take it that way." says he,
                  "Us generals have got to be ruthless.
                  It hurt me more than it did thee."

                  Sam sniffed at these words, kind of septic
                  Then looked at the Duke's private gun,
                  And said "We best put in two charges.
                  We'll never bust bastion wi' one."
                  Sam tipped cannon ball out of muzzle,
                  Then took out the wadding and all,
                  Filled barrel chock full of powder,
                  Then picked up and replaced the ball.

                  Sam sighted once, right along barrel,
                  And said,"Righto Duke! Let 'er fly!"
                  The cannon nigh jumped off its trunnions!
                  And oop went the bastion, sky-high!
                  The Duke, 'e weren't 'arf elated,
                  He danced all around in great glee,
                  And said, "Sam. For thy gallant action
                  Ye can 'ot up yer puddin' for tea."

                  Sam bent down to pick up 'is puddin'
                  But it weren't nowhere about
                  In the place where 'e thought 'e 'ad left it
                  Were the cannonball 'e 'ad tipped out!
                  Sam saw in a flash what 'ad 'appened.
                  By an unprecedented mis'ap
                  The puddin' 'is mother 'ad sent 'im
                  'Ad blown Badajoz off the map!

                  Which is why cannoneers wear to this day
                  A badge, which they think's a grenade.
                  But it's not. It's a brass reproduction
                  Of the puddin' Sam's mother once made.
                • R. Feltoe
                  Jim, I have always liked ol e Sam and have many of the monologues in print or memorised. This one goes particularly well to the WW1 tune It was Christmas Day
                  Message 8 of 8 , May 2, 1999
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                    Jim, I have always liked ol'e Sam and have many of the monologues in print
                    or memorised. This one goes particularly well to the WW1 tune "It was
                    Christmas Day in the workhouse"
                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Jim Keigher <jkeigher@...>
                    To: WarOf1812@onelist.com <WarOf1812@onelist.com>; WarOf1812@onelist.com
                    <WarOf1812@onelist.com>
                    Date: Saturday, May 01, 1999 11:49 AM
                    Subject: [WarOf1812] Re: gun barrels


                    >From: Jim Keigher <jkeigher@...>
                    >
                    >To all,
                    >
                    >In regards to gun barrels, I came across this little bit of barracks room
                    >ballad. It is interesting to note that the ditty states that Sam
                    >
                    > "sat there, cleanin' 'is musket
                    > And polishing barrel and butt . . ."
                    >
                    >Other that that, enjoy the song.
                    >
                    >YMH&OS
                    >
                    >Jim Keigher
                    >Corps of Canadian Voyageurs
                    >Fort William
                    >------------------------------------------------
                    >
                    >SAM SMALL'S CHRISTMAN PUDDING
                    >(Stanley Holloway)
                    >
                    >'Twere Christmas Eve in the trenches,
                    >In Spain, in Peninsular War
                    >And Sam Small were cleaning 'is musket,
                    >A thing that he'd ne'er done before.
                    > For they'd had an inspection that mornin'
                    > And Sam had gone down in disgrace.
                    > For when Sergeant 'had looked down the barrel ---
                    > A sparrer flew out in 'is face!
                    >
                    >The sergeant reported the matter
                    >To Leftenant Byrd, then and there.
                    >Said Leftenant " 'Ow jolly disgusting.
                    >The Duke must be told of this 'ere!"
                    > The duke were upset when he 'eard it.
                    > 'E said, "I'm astonished, I am.
                    > I must make a most drastic example.
                    > There'll be no Christmas pudding for Sam!"
                    >
                    >When Sam were informed of his sentence
                    >Surprise rooted 'im to the spot.
                    >'Twere far worse than 'e 'ad expected---
                    >'E thought as he'd merely be shot.
                    > So Sam sat there, cleanin' 'is musket
                    > And polishing barrel and butt
                    > While the pudding 'is mother 'ad sent 'im
                    > Lay there, on the ground, near 'is foot.
                    >
                    >Now the sector that Sam's lot were 'olding
                    >Ran about a place called Badajoz
                    >Where the Spaniards 'ad put up a bastion,
                    >And Oh! what a bastion it was.
                    > They pounded away all that morning,
                    > Bombarding as 'ard as they could,
                    > And the Duke brought 'is own private cannon;
                    > But that weren't a ha'pporth of good.
                    >
                    >The Duke said, "Sam. Put dahn thy musket.
                    >And help me to lay this gun true."
                    >Said Sam, "Ye'd be best askin' favors
                    >Of them as ye give puddin' to."
                    > The Duke looked at Sam so reproachful
                    > And "Don't take it that way." says he,
                    > "Us generals have got to be ruthless.
                    > It hurt me more than it did thee."
                    >
                    >Sam sniffed at these words, kind of septic
                    >Then looked at the Duke's private gun,
                    >And said "We best put in two charges.
                    >We'll never bust bastion wi' one."
                    > Sam tipped cannon ball out of muzzle,
                    > Then took out the wadding and all,
                    > Filled barrel chock full of powder,
                    > Then picked up and replaced the ball.
                    >
                    >Sam sighted once, right along barrel,
                    >And said,"Righto Duke! Let 'er fly!"
                    >The cannon nigh jumped off its trunnions!
                    >And oop went the bastion, sky-high!
                    > The Duke, 'e weren't 'arf elated,
                    > He danced all around in great glee,
                    > And said, "Sam. For thy gallant action
                    > Ye can 'ot up yer puddin' for tea."
                    >
                    >Sam bent down to pick up 'is puddin'
                    >But it weren't nowhere about
                    >In the place where 'e thought 'e 'ad left it
                    >Were the cannonball 'e 'ad tipped out!
                    > Sam saw in a flash what 'ad 'appened.
                    > By an unprecedented mis'ap
                    > The puddin' 'is mother 'ad sent 'im
                    > 'Ad blown Badajoz off the map!
                    >
                    >Which is why cannoneers wear to this day
                    >A badge, which they think's a grenade.
                    >But it's not. It's a brass reproduction
                    >Of the puddin' Sam's mother once made.
                    >
                    >
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