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Looking for primary source documentation on how to load .69 smoothbore muskets

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  • Looking for primary source documentation on how to load .69 smoothbore muskets

    Hi,

    I have been reviewing the 1840s and 1850s US Ordnance Manual to try and determine which end of the .69 caliber smoothbore ammunition would be loaded first into the muzzle - the paper end or the bullet end. I cannot find anything there.

    Is the loading process for US smoothbore muskets described in Hardee or Scott?

    Thanks,
    Steve Sheldon

    Steve Sheldon

  • #2
    Scotts was for line infantry with smoothbores. But its a word for word translation of a french drill book, so it was not translated specifically for a US firearm and cartridge, but for what ever the French line used in the 1830ties.

    manual of arms for muskets. (From US tactics 1861, but the language should be the same as scotts)
    "4. Charge CARTRIDGE.
    One time and one motion.
    444. Turn the back of the right hand
    towards the body, in order to discharge the
    powder into the barrel, raise the elbow as high as
    the wrist, shake the cartridge and insert it fully into
    the muzzle ; leave the hand reversed, the fingers
    closed, but the hand extended."

    If the text is followed to the letter, then it would result in the cartridge's being inserted with paper below the bullet.

    ---
    Hardee's was translated with the expectation that it would be used by rifle armed troops. But is similar a translation, and not specific to US firearms.
    Thomas Aagaard

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    • #3
      Thank you so much. My understanding is that France was one of the preeminent infantry powers of the smoothbore era and so many other nations looked to them directly for an example to follow.

      I have taken a moment to transcribe the text from the original work and will present it here for future readers.

      Full text: https://www.google.com/books/edition...r/vPEVAAAAYAAJ

      Taken from:
      INFANTRY - TACTICS
      OR
      RULES FOR THE EXERCISE AND MANEUVRES OF THE UNITED STATES ' INFANTRY

      BY MAJOR -GENERAL SCOTT, U.S. ARMY.
      1835

      Part II, Pages 46-51

      Load in twelve times.
      1. LOAD .
      One time and two motions.
      191. (First motion.) As the first motion of charge bayonet, except that the hollow of the right foot will be brought up against the left heel.
      192. (Second motion.) Bring down the piece with the right hand into the left, which will, at the instant, seize it at the tail-band, the thumb extended on the stock, the butt under the right forearm, the handle against the body, and about two inches under the right breast, the muzzle at the height of the eye, the guard turned a little out, the left elbow supported against the side. At the instant the piece falls into the left hand, the right thumb will be placed on the steel above the flint, the four fingers closed, the right forearm along the butt.

      2. Open - Pan.
      One time and one motion.
      193. Open the pan by pushing forward the steel with the right thumb, the left hand resisting and holding the piece firm; draw back immediately the right elbow, carry the hand to the cartridge-box in passing it between the butt and the body, and open the box.

      3. Handle CARTRIDGE.
      One time and one motion.
      194. Seize a cartridge with the thumb and the two next fingers, and place it between the teeth, the right hand passing between the butt and the body.

      4. Tear - CARTRIDGE.
      One time and one motion.
      195. Tear the paper down to the powder, hold the cartridge upright between the thumb and next two fingers, near the top; in this position place it against the pan, the palm of the righthand turned towards the body, the right elbow supported on the butt.

      5. PRIME.
      One time and one motion.
      196. Drop the head a little, fix the eyes on the pan, fill it with powder, press together the top of the cartridge with the thumb and fore- finger, raise the head, and place the last two fingers of the right hand firmly behind and against the steel.

      6. Shut - Pan.
      One time and one motion.
      97. Resisting the motion with the left hand, shut the pan smartly with the fingers behind the steel, holding carefully the cartridge with the two next fingers and the thumb; seize immediately the handle with the two remaining fingers and the palm of the right hand, the right wrist touching the body, the elbow back, and a little detached from the body.

      7. Cast — ABOUT.
      One time and two motions.
      198. (First motion.) Pass the piece along the left thigh, after bringing it upright near the body ; to effect this, press the butt strongly, extending smartly the right arm, without lowering the shoulder; turn at the same time the rammer towards the body, open the left hand to let the piece slide through it towards and near the middle band, the elbow remaining near the body, the cock bearing on the right thumb ; at the same instant face to the front, turning on the left heel, and carry the right foot forward, the heel against the hollow of the left foot.

      199. (Second motion.) Quit the hold of the right hand; through the left let the piece descend to the ground, without shock, along and near the body; raise at the same time the right hand to the height of, and near the muzzle, holding the top of the cartridge up, the left hand against the body, the piece touching the left thigh, the muzzle opposite to the centre of the body.

      8. Charge - CARTRIDGE.
      One time and one motion.
      200. Fix the eye on the muzzle, turn quickly the back of the right hand towards the body, in order to discharge the powder into the barrel, raise the elbow to the height of the wrist, shake the cartridge, force it into the muzzle, and leave the hand reversed, the fingers closed, but not clenched.

      9. Draw - RAMMER.
      One time and three motions.
      201. (First motion.) Drop smartly the right elbow, and seize the rammer between the thumb and fore-finger bent, the other fingers shut; draw it smartly, extending the arm, seize the rammer again at the middle, between the thumb and fore - finger, the hand reversed, the palm to the front, the nails up, the eyes following the movement of the hand; clear the rammer from the pipes by again extending the arm.

      202. (Second motion.) Turn rapidly the rammer between the bayonet and the face, closing the fingers, the rammers of the (centre and rear rank $ grazing the right shoulders of the men of the same file in front, respectively, the rammer parallel to the bayonet, the arm extended, the butt of the rammer opposite to the muzzle, but not yet inserted, the eyes fixed on the muzzle.

      203. (Third motion.) Insert the butt of the rammer, and force it down as low as the hand.

      10. Ram - CARTRIDGE.
      One time and one motion.
      204. Extend the arm to its full length to seize the rammer between the right thumb extended and the fore- finger bent, the other fingers closed; with force ram home twice, and seize the rammer at the little end, between the thumb and fore-finger bent, the other fingers closed, the right elbow touching the body.

      11. Return - RAMMER.
      One time and three motions.

      205. (First motion.) Draw briskly the rammer, re - seize it at the middle between the thumb and fore- finger, the hand reversed, the palm to the front, the nails up, the eyes following the movement of the hand, clear the rammer from the barrel by extending the arm.

      206. (Second motion.) Turn rapidly the rammer between the bayonet and the face, closing the fingers, the rammers of the centre and rear rammer rank $ grazing the right shoulders of the men in the same file in front, respectively, the parallel to the bayonet, the arm extended, the Iittle end of the rammer opposite to the first pipe, but not yet inserted, the eyes fixed on that pipe.

      207. (Third motion.) Insert the little end, and with the thumb, which will follow the movement, force it as low as the middle band; raise quickly the hand a little bent, place the little fin ger on the butt of the rammer, and force it down; lower the left hand on the barrel to the extent of the arm, without depressing the shoulder.

      12. Shoulder - ARMS.
      One time and three motions.
      208. (First motion.) Raise the piece with the left hand along the left side, the hand at the height of the chin, the fore -arm touching the piece, the barrel to the front; drop at the same time the right hand to seize the piece a little above the handle, the fore- finger touching the cock, and the thumb on the counter- plate.

      209. (Second motion.) Raise the piece with the right hand, drop the left, and place it under the butt, bring back the right heel to the side of the left, and on the same line; support the piece with the right hand against the shoulder, in the position prescribed for shoulder arms, the right hand resting on, without grasping, the piece.

      210. (Third motion.) Let fall smartly the right hand into its position by the side of the thigh.
      Last edited by maillemaker; 09-13-2021, 04:04 PM. Reason: Fixed date from 1935 to 1835.
      Steve Sheldon

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