DRUM CONVERSION OF A STATE OF VIRGINIA SWAN CONTRACT MUSKET MARKED “VA. REGT. FAUQUIER” WITH CUT DOWN STOCK

$3,800.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1000-245

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In 1795 Virginia advertised for a contract to procure 4,000 muskets per annum. Colonel James Swan of Boston offered in September of 1796 to supply 4,000 musket per year for five years for a total of 20,000 muskets. In May of 1797, Virginia and Colonel Swan entered into a contract for Swan to procure on Virginia’s behalf 4,000 muskets of the Brown Bess pattern to be delivered in 1799. Sawn contracted with Germanic arms makers to produce the muskets, but the production was delayed by European wars, political intrigue and European governments seizing the muskets for their own armies. Swan finally delivered 4,000 muskets, which were of such poor quality that only 739 passed inspection. A second 4,000 muskets delivered by Swan were of an even poorer quality. Virginia finally accepted 7,831 of Swan’s 8,000 delivered, but at a much lower price. In 1801, the Swan muskets were stamped with militia unit designations and distribution to the units began.

Swan Contract muskets of the Brown Bess pattern vary in dimensions indicating that they were manufactured by various entities. Usually the locks are unmarked while the barrels carry regimental and county names.

This .69 smoothbore musket has a barrel that is dark throughout and has heavy scattered mottling. There is a brass bead type front sight that has been added to the muzzle. Breech area has some pitting and light surface rust. Bore is dark and has built up areas of dirt with scattered pitting. Barrel is held to the stock by pins and screw at tang. The barrel surface has been lightly cleaned in the area of the property mark. Mark is clear and readable.

The lock matches the barrel in appearance. It has a rounded front and a pointed rear that is flush with the stock. Forward lock screw looks to be a period replacement. Hammer is dark with light surface rust with the same on the original nipple and drum. Action is a bit stiff but does work properly. Lock is unmarked.

The wood stock has been cut down and extends approx. 11.75 inches forward of the lock. Right side of the forearm area has a “V” shaped crack approx. 4.50 inches long with another crack in the same area running diagonally from the barrel pin for 2.25 inches. There are also slivers of wood missing from the top edge of the stock in this area. The left side of the stock is in better condition with a 1.50 inch sliver missing from the top edge. Because the stock is cut there is no nose cap. Buttplate and triggerguard are of brass with the triggerguard having a decorative acorn finial at front. Two short iron ramrod pipes are brazed on to the underside of the barrel while the original brass pipe is present at bottom. Iron ramrod has repaired button head with a pointed opposite tip. Weapon has no sling swivels. Carved deeply into the wood at the rear of the brass escutcheon are the initials “I T W.” The left wrist has faint initials “A.N.” with the “N” being backwards while the left cheek has “JL” inside of a circular sunburst.  [ad]

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