The standard weapon of the British Army in the American War of Independence was the “Brown Bess”, and today we are looking at a 1769 Short Land Pattern example of the Brown Bess. This was a smoothbore .75 caliber, 10.2 pound flintlock with a whopping 42 inch barrel (the Long Land Pattern it superseded had a 46” barrel). Adopted in 1769, it would serve as the British standard infantry arm until 1797.
This particular example was issued to the 53rd Infantry Regiment, otherwise known as the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. This regiment arrived in Quebec City in May 1776 and participated in the fighting at Ticonderoga and Saratoga, where several of its companies were captured and interned until the end of the war.
Jonathan Ferguson’s explanation of “Brown Bess”: