Weapons of the French and Indian War




18th century drill manual


The main firearm of both the French, English and Indians was the flintlock, smooth bore musket. The English used the 'Brown Bess' so called for its brown color. Accuracy of the Brown Bess was fair, as with most other muskets. The flintlocks replaced the heavier matchlocks and arquebuses by about 1670.The effective range is often quoted as 175 yards (160 m). The common French issue was the Charleville musket was a .69 caliber French musket used in the 18th and 19th centuries. Rifles were issued to the best marksmen in a regiment .



 Brown Bess in its various patterns was the official issue musket for the British Empire from 1720s to 1830s. It's one of the most common firearms made before the 20th century. Reenactor actor Houston McPherson explains the finer points of operating this weapon.

The introduction of the bayonet turned all musketeers into pikemen. Generally, in battles, two sides lined up and fired a few volleys at each other before one side charged with bayonets fixed. For the Indians, bows and arrows stopped being battlefield weapons by 1700. The British met with disaster when trying to employ European strategy in the New World. Braddock's replacement, the earl of Loundon realized this and encouraged scouts and raiders who fought Indian style such as Major Robert Rogers and had him train English officers in these frontier tactics.


The rate of fire depended on the skill of the soldier, which was typically about 2-3 shots per minute. Smooth bore muskets in general have an accuracy of only about 50 to 100 meters. Military tactics of the period stressed mass volleys and massed bayonet charges, instead of individual marksmanship. Weapons were usually  fired en masse at 50 yards (46 m) to inflict the greatest damage upon the enemy.



 French and Indian War -- Weapons




An axe used as a hand to hand weapon or a thrown weapon. Pipe tomahawks were trade items and often used to conclude a treaty or agreements. The word tomahawk comes from the Powhatan tribe.



 How to throw a Tomahawk

A uniquely American weapon, the tomahawk has been used in warfare from 18th century colonial skirmishes to the modern battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. In this groundbreaking video, veteran Dwight McLemore has taken the painstaking research that made his book "The Fighting Tomahawk" such a best-seller and adapted it to video, showing not only how the tomahawk was used during the Colonial era, but also how it can be used as an almost unbeatable self-defense tool today.

McLemore takes you through the history of the weapon and its evolution from the ball-headed war club that made the American Indians such feared hand-to-hand fighters to the razor-sharp field axe and beyond.








(left) Washington wearing a gorget, a vestigial piece of armor worn to protect the neck from sword blows. Often used to symbolize a commission. (right) An English officers gorget from the time of the French and Indian War.


In colonial times the use of cow, ox or buffalo horn ensured that the gun powder would not be detonated by sparks during storage and loading. The horn is also naturally waterproof and already hollow inside. The wide mouth was used for refilling, while the powder was dispensed from the narrow point.



 Daniel Dwight Horn - One of the interesting pieces in our museum is our engraved powder horns. Powder Horns were used during the 18th century to hold gunpowder for soldiers that they may need to load afterwards. Soldiers would decorate these powder horns by themselves or through a comrade with maps, floral designs, or mythological designs. Have a look at Daniel Dwight's powder horn engraved at Fort Ticonderoga in October 1759.

powder horns for sale






 Consequences of the

French and Indian War


 Timeline of the French and Indian War