More affecently named the "Brown Bess".How the Bess got it’s nickname is something collectors argue about and likely one of those things that has been lost in time. Regardless, the British Army's muzzle-loading smoothbore Land Pattern Musket and its derivatives are one of history's most iconic firearms. This musket was used in the era of the expansion of the British Empire and acquired symbolic importance at least as significant as its physical importance. It was in use for over a hundred years with many incremental changes in its design. These versions include the Long Land Pattern, the Short Land Pattern, the India Pattern, the New Land Pattern Musket and the Sea Service Musket.
Most male citizens of the American Colonies were required by law to own arms militia duty and the Bess was readily available. The Long Land Pattern was a common firearm in use by both sides in the American War of Independence.
The Long Land Pattern musket and its derivatives, all .75 caliber flintlock muskets, were the standard long guns of the British Empire's land forces from 1722 until 1838, when they were superseded by a percussion cap smoothbore musket.
The Bess variants remained in service until the outbreak of the Crimean War (1853-1856) when they were replaced by the Minie and the P53 Enfield rifled musket.
A Bess was even purported to have seen service, in the American Civil War, at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.
Pictured is a Third Model Brown Bess.
The British Ordnance System converted many flintlocks into the new percussion system known as the Pattern 1839 Musket.
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