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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > American Colonial Era

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American Colonial Era 1660-1763 The growth of North American colonies, often with a change in native & national control.

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  #1  
Old 14 Jul 04, 14:04
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Pilgrim Weapons

Anyone know what weapons the Pilgrims brought to America were? Especially interested in those rifles with the saxaphone barrels.
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  #2  
Old 14 Jul 04, 18:21
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Great question! :thumb:

In 1620 Miles Standish had a snaphance with him during the initial exploration of Cape Cod. A Snaphance was a kind of predecessor of the flintlock. One of the technological steps between the matchlock and the flintlock, it was more expensive than a matchlock, but cheaper than a new flintlock. The other men mostly had matchlocks. In a brief engagement with the Indians, Standish was able to fire several shots with his snaphance, while the others, were scurrying for the firebrand to light their matches. If you go to Plimoth Plantation today, which is very well researched, and represents 1627, you'll see several matchlocks in the houses. I don't remember seeeing any flintlocks. The matchlocks were very heavy, and required a stand to support the barrel, some of the barrels had what's called a cannon barrel or flared muzzle to make it easier to load, which has been exagerated by later cartoonists. Although flintlocks were more expensive, Miles Standish urged their use, as they were better suited for the American wilderness. During the Pequot War of 1637, the English were still using a mix of flintlocks and matchlocks. In 1646, Plymouth required each town to maintain as public arms, two flintlocks for every 30 men. But by King Philip's War in 1675, flintlocks were the most common firearm. And Plymouth officials banned the military use of matchlocks in 1677, Massachusetts passed a similar law in 1693. In contrast to the English, the Indians chose flintlocks over matchlocks almost immediately. By the 1620s, the Dutch were trading flintlock muskets to the Indians in New Amsterdam.

A great book on this subject is The Skulking Way of War: Technology and Tactics among the New England Indians by Patrick Malone. Malone not only examines New England Indians, but also the English colonists.

Somewhat related to Plymouth, archaeologists at Jamestown Virginia, believe that the newer ignition systems were replacing the older matchlocks in Jamestown sooner than in England. So archaeologists are finding more wheelocks, snaphances, and flintlocks than matchlocks during the mid-17th century.
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Old 17 Jul 04, 07:32
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Re: Pilgrim Weapons

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Originally posted by Jim H. Moreno
Anyone know what weapons the Pilgrims brought to America were? Especially interested in those rifles with the saxaphone barrels.
The weapon pictured is a "blunderbuss" -- basically it's a shotgun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blunderbuss
http://www.replicaweaponry.com/blunderbuss.html

JS
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Old 17 Jul 04, 14:42
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Re: Re: Pilgrim Weapons

Quote:
Originally posted by Janos
The weapon pictured is a "blunderbuss" -- basically it's a shotgun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blunderbuss
http://www.replicaweaponry.com/blunderbuss.html

JS
A nasty weapon to be on the receiving end of. This was before any "standard" ammo would have been designed for it so almost anything handy might be loaded. This could include shot of varying sizes, broken glass, discarded nails, etc......basically any sharp, non-combustable scrap. Very effective against large masses at close range.
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Old 19 Jul 04, 08:06
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The blunderbuss first appeared in the Netherlands about 1598, as the "donderbus" in Dutch. It did not make it's way to the English colonies until much later, almost non-existant as late as the 1690s. The quaint Victorian era depictions of "pilgrims" (another Victorianism) hunting turkey with a blunderbuss are completely false. The blunderbuss was mainly used in the 18th century by coachmen to ward off highwaymen, and sailors when boarding enemy ships, it was not a very good hunting weapon. If someone wanted to hunt fowl, they would use a fowler, not a blunderbuss.
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Old 04 Aug 04, 08:20
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Re: Re: Re: Pilgrim Weapons

Quote:
Originally posted by Lance Williams
A nasty weapon to be on the receiving end of. This was before any "standard" ammo would have been designed for it so almost anything handy might be loaded. This could include shot of varying sizes, broken glass, discarded nails, etc......basically any sharp, non-combustable scrap. Very effective against large masses at close range.
Essentially grape shot used on a smaller scale.
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Old 02 Jun 09, 18:52
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I found a few web sites that might apply here.........

http://books.google.com/books?id=Ccw...snum=4#PPA9,M1

http://www.trackofthewolf.com/(S(bxp...=24&styleID=95

http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibi...cts/musket.htm
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Old 02 Jun 09, 20:56
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This German website has some beautiful pics of some very high quality reproductions of some of the various types of arms available to the Plimoth settlers in the early 17th century.

http://www.engerisser.de/Bewaffnung/Bewaffnung.html

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Old 09 Jun 09, 21:42
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Blunderbus, the correct fodder!

Quote:
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A nasty weapon to be on the receiving end of. This was before any "standard" ammo would have been designed for it so almost anything handy might be loaded. This could include shot of varying sizes, broken glass, discarded nails, etc......basically any sharp, non-combustable scrap. Very effective against large masses at close range.
The Blunderbus could fire a correct size round ball, it could also fire a variety of shot sizes. The bell muzzle was really just to scare people I think, because it had no other effect. If you wished to stuff up the bore, you could indeed use all sorts of incorrect fodder, but I belive most people would have loaded it properly unless they were in need of the correct fodder.
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Old 10 Jun 09, 06:22
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How about hand weapons and armour? I was always under the impression that the first waves of settlers took pikes and halberds and armour that was more suited to European set-piece warfare. I have formed this opinion in part from National Geographic articles about the excavations of Wolstenholme Towne where spear heads, helmets and gorgets were found.
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Old 10 Jun 09, 10:45
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How about hand weapons and armour? I was always under the impression that the first waves of settlers took pikes and halberds and armour that was more suited to European set-piece warfare. I have formed this opinion in part from National Geographic articles about the excavations of Wolstenholme Towne where spear heads, helmets and gorgets were found.
I'm not as sure about those johnny-come-latelies in New England, but pikes and swords were quite common among the early colonists here in Virginia, accompanied by armor for torso and head. A visit to Jamestown used to be incomplete without trying on a curaiss.
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Old 30 Jul 09, 14:23
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Quote:
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I'm not as sure about those johnny-come-latelies in New England, but pikes and swords were quite common among the early colonists here in Virginia, accompanied by armor for torso and head. A visit to Jamestown used to be incomplete without trying on a curaiss.

Only some of the colonists came late to New England. One early settlement was on an island off Maine, in 1602, predating the 1607 Va. colony by a few years. It was on that island that the first English peas were planted in the New World, thus providing even more uses for hambones!
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Old 30 Jul 09, 14:40
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Quote:
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Only some of the colonists came late to New England. One early settlement was on an island off Maine, in 1602, predating the 1607 Va. colony by a few years. It was on that island that the first English peas were planted in the New World, thus providing even more uses for hambones!
Yeah, but they didn't last. We've been here since 1607, but not them tourists up north.
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Old 30 Jul 09, 16:33
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Hand Tools/Weapons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chukka View Post
How about hand weapons and armour? I was always under the impression that the first waves of settlers took pikes and halberds and armour that was more suited to European set-piece warfare. I have formed this opinion in part from National Geographic articles about the excavations of Wolstenholme Towne where spear heads, helmets and gorgets were found.
Knives, daggers, swords and hatchets were common items.
Le Loup.
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Old 11 Aug 09, 16:12
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Some of the weaponry was more sophisticated than I imagined it to be.
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