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Re: Scholarly Myths: How to Load a Musket

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  • BritcomHMP@xxx.xxx
    In a message dated 2/28/99 12:30:53 AM Central Standard Time, awoodley@clear.net.nz writes:
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 28, 1999
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      In a message dated 2/28/99 12:30:53 AM Central Standard Time,
      awoodley@... writes:

      << I'm not questioning your authority on the subject at all - I just wondered
      if there was a manual or something that followed - or is it just plain
      commonsense from experience that has shown this? >>

      Dear Anne,
      There are manuals, the whole procedure is written down.
      Actually I seriously doubt the scholarship of any academic who does not know
      the loading procedure. He or she has proven to the world that they have never
      cracked a period manual of which many are available (particularly to
      academics).

      Cheers

      Tim
    • Anne Woodley
      ... Putting aside the issue of lead poisoning - and bearing in mind that the closest I have been to a musket is on the pages of book so I have no idea myself
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 28, 1999
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        ----------
        >From: Jim Yaworsky <yawors1@...>

        > Of course, loading a musket in this manner is not only slower than the
        > proper way, but is considerably more dangerous! If a gun doesn't go off
        > prematurely occasionally, blowing the spitter's head off in the process,
        > then there is the factor of eventually succumbing to lead poisoning from
        > having the balls in your mouth

        Putting aside the issue of lead poisoning - and bearing in mind that the
        closest I have been to a musket is on the pages of book so I have no idea
        myself how muskets are loaded. Were these the reasons they didn't load them
        that way - and how do you know they didn't?

        I'm not questioning your authority on the subject at all - I just wondered
        if there was a manual or something that followed - or is it just plain
        commonsense from experience that has shown this?

        Anne
      • Jim Yaworsky
        In a message awoodley writes:
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 1, 1999
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          In a message awoodley writes:

          << I just wondered if there was a manual or something that followed - or is it just plain
          commonsense from experience that has shown this? >>
          Tim Pickles replies:
          "Dear Anne,
          There are manuals, the whole procedure is written down.
          Actually I seriously doubt the scholarship of any academic who does not know
          the loading procedure. He or she has proven to the world that they have never
          cracked a period manual of which many are available (particularly to
          academics).
          Cheers Tim

          Jim adds:
          Actually, I don't think we should be too hard on the academics. If they go to what appears to be a reputable source & it happens to have a small error in it, and the small point they are trying to make is that muskets are cumbersome to load, then should we really expect them to go back to primary sources to verify what, for their purposes, was presumably a very minor detail? The average reader would be most unlikely to even notice, but if he/she came away with the idea in their mind that muskets were cumbersome to load - isn't that the very idea the academic was trying to get across?
          After all, not that many people (alas) are fated to ever have to load a musket!
          Since I've been sewing tunics, I've read the Steppler articles numerous times, looking for fine details, and usually, the details are in fact there. I never noticed the specific detail I've been hunting for in the prior times I read the articles, because it just wasn't that important to me at that time to draw my attention.
          Now, I can't look at anyone's tunic without picking out all sorts of minor flaws - and I'm not just talking about machine-sewn tunics that only look "correct" from 5 or 10 feet away! This is actually a curse & I have to consciously make an effort to not offend people by nitpicking what is, when all is said and done, usually a perfectly adequate job!
        • Roger Fuller
          ... to what appears to be a reputable source & it happens to have a small error in it, and the small point they are trying to make is that muskets are
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 1, 1999
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            >Jim adds:
            >Actually, I don't think we should be too hard on the academics. If they go
            to what appears to be a reputable source & it happens to have a small error
            in it, and the small point they are trying to make is that muskets are
            cumbersome to load, then should we really expect them to go back to primary
            sources to verify what, for their purposes, was presumably a very minor
            detail? >After all, not that many people (alas) are fated to ever have to
            load a musket!


            R: Ah- but out of little errors and sloppiness do big stories grow- I doubt
            B Cornwell has ever loaded a musket, let alone fired one, but he passed the
            very same info, unexamined, into the Sharpe's novels, and thence it got into
            the TV series, and now, it's part of the canon. (Baaaad pun, I know) TV
            cements the worth of something in our culture by way of the factoid's or
            falsehood's very presence on the tube. So- when do the tourons start asking
            us if we load by spitting and tapping the musket? What?? It's already
            happened, you say? Well- why not- "they wouldn't put it on TV if it weren't
            true"....right?.

            >Since I've been sewing tunics, I've read the Steppler articles numerous
            times, looking for fine details, and usually, the details are in fact there.
            I never noticed the specific detail I've been hunting for in the prior
            times I read the articles, because it just wasn't that important to me at
            that time to draw my attention.

            R: Uh oh- what are these Steppler things? (revealing my ignorance here....)
            Where can I get copies? I have pix of the Guardsman's 1790's coat (inside
            and out) from the NAM, that I use as a sort of sewing guide (Amazing how the
            sewing, cut and cloth styles changed so little from a tailoring point of
            view from 1775 to 1815, headgear, collars and lace notwithstanding...)

            >Now, I can't look at anyone's tunic without picking out all sorts of minor
            flaws - and I'm not just talking about machine-sewn tunics that only look
            "correct" from 5 or 10 feet away! This is actually a curse & I have to
            consciously make an effort to not offend people by nitpicking what is, when
            all is said and done, usually a perfectly adequate job!

            R: Well, be sure to let me know if you think there are any flaws in the
            3/95th kit when you finally see it. But, be prepared for the 3/95th SOP:
            "What is the primary source upon which you base that assertion, Sir?" :^)


            RF
            3/95th
          • BritcomHMP@aol.com
            In a message dated 3/1/99 8:51:55 PM Central Standard Time, yawors1@uwindsor.ca writes:
            Message 5 of 7 , Mar 2, 1999
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              In a message dated 3/1/99 8:51:55 PM Central Standard Time,
              yawors1@... writes:

              << Actually, I don't think we should be too hard on the academics. If they go
              to what appears to be a reputable source & it happens to have a small error in
              it, and the small point they are trying to make is that muskets are cumbersome
              to load, then should we really expect them to go back to primary sources to
              verify what, for their purposes, was presumably a very minor detail? The
              average reader would be most unlikely to even notice, but if he/she came away
              with the idea in their mind that muskets were cumbersome to load - isn't that
              the very idea the academic was trying to get across? >>

              With one or two notable examples Jim (David Candler is the most eminent)
              academics are the ones most critical of re-enactors. If someone who prides
              themselves on pure research is spreading erroneous information because they
              have been too lazy to check secondary information with primary sources, you
              bet your life they need criticizing!

              What other ideas might they be trying to get across that are complete tosh?

              Cheers

              Tim
            • Andrew Bateman
              ... I tend to agree. In the Europa Militaria series of photo books, featuring reeenactors of various historical periods, I have seen a couple of references to
              Message 6 of 7 , Mar 2, 1999
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                Tim wrote:

                >With one or two notable examples Jim (David Candler is the most eminent)
                >academics are the ones most critical of re-enactors. If someone who prides
                >themselves on pure research is spreading erroneous information because they
                >have been too lazy to check secondary information with primary sources, you
                >bet your life they need criticizing!
                >
                >What other ideas might they be trying to get across that are complete tosh?
                >
                >Cheers
                >
                >Tim

                I tend to agree. In the Europa Militaria series of photo books, featuring
                reeenactors of various historical periods, I have seen a couple of
                references to the "standard" load for a musket as being a 1 ounce ball and 1
                ounce of powder! The ball size is correct, but the powder charge works out
                to 437.5 grains! Ouch! My shoulder and my pocket book both hurt just
                thinking about that! The real load should be closer to 1/4 ounce.

                This was in the "Wellington's Army" one, and again in the one on Napoleon's
                Imperial Guard, in case you are interested. The one on Wellington's Army
                had a few guys in modern glasses, too, which is one of my pet peeves about
                1812 reenacting in general - the other being the amount of modern footwear
                on the field (speaking as an "anal" ACW guy new to the 1812 hobby of
                course).

                KYPD,

                Pte. Andrew, 41st ROF
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