Thursday, 8 July 2010

Unpatched Balls in a Smoothbore.

I have suspected for some time that patching was not used in the 18th century for smoothbores, and I have read that even rifles were loaded without patches. Recently a friend, David Schmid, posted the following information on the group forum.

To Shrimpton Hutchinson Esq.

You are hereby ordered and directed, to compleat yourself with ARMS and Accoutrements, by the 12th Instant, upon failure thereof, you are liable to a FINE of THREE POUNDS; and for every Sixty Days after, a FINE OF SIX POUNDS, agreable to Law.

Articles of Equipment,
A good Fire-Arm, with a Steel or Iron Ram-Rod, and a Spring to retain the same, a Worm, Priming wire and Brash, and a Bayonet fitted to your GUN, a Scabbard and Belt therefor, and a Cutting Sword, or a Tomahawk or Hatchet, a Poach containing a Cartridge Box, that will hold fifteen Rounds of Cartridges at least, a hundred Buck Shot, a Jack-Knife and Tow for Wadding, six Flints, one pound powder, forty Leaden Balls fitted to your GUN, a Knapsack and Blanket a Canteen or Wooden Bottle sufficient to hold one Quart.

"...it is the General's orders, that none of the men load with cartridges upon their regimental parades but from these powder-horns; and to have wadding above and below the ball, to keep both powder and ball firm in their pieces."

~ John Knox, Point Levi, 1759, (Knox, 295)

"...discharged his piece at him the ball Enterd About an Inch from the middle of his back...the very wad Enterd the wound."

~ John McKay, Rainy Lake, Minnesota, 1793 (J. McKay,17)

"The Yellow Head landed, during the morning, to fire at a deer, which was seen grazing on a meadow, at some distance. He approached cautiously, but was unsuccessful in the shot he fired. What most excited our surprise, was the rapidity with which he reloaded and fired again, before the deer had got without the range of his shot. This was effected without the use of wadding to separate the powder from the ball."

~ Henry Rowe-Schoolcraft, Minnesota, 1832 (Schoolcraft 1834, page 65)

From Diderot.

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