Independent Boston Fusileer’s Flintlock Musket SOLD

The side plate is dated “1787” for the year the Fusileer’s were chartered as an independent unit in the Massachusetts Militia.


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This musket made by Daniel Dana of Canton, Massachusetts, was most likely one of many purchased by the Independent Boston Fusileers sometime after the turn of the 18th Century. Its type is that of a short land pattern that was most popular with many Massachusetts Militia units in the first third of the 19th Century.

Stocked in walnut, the musket sports well fashioned brass furniture, rather similar to the British military muskets of that era.  The side plate has the engraved date, “1787,” indicative of the unit’s chartering in that year. The pin-fashioned barrel is 36 1/4 inches, with a bore that is just under .75 calibre. Must muskets of this type tend to be 39 inches, but this is the correct length for this barrel due to the original placement of the bayonet lug on the underside. Proofed with a “P” at the breech, and with no other markings. According to Massachusetts Law of 1805 requiring all military arms to be proofed with the initials of the inspector, the date inspected, “MS” for Mass and a “P” for Proof.  I have to assume this musket was made prior to the 1805 period.

It is possible that the brass furniture was imported from England, but all other major components were made by Dana.  The Lock plate bears his stamp, “D.DANA” in block letters. The lock is mechanically sound. The stock bears the initials “W.S.” who is either a stock maker for Dana, or possibly an early state arms inspector.

Beside the significant date on the side plate, is the hand engraved trigger guard that reads, “INDEP’T BOSTON FUSILEERS,” and an old collection inventory number in paint.

Condition overall is very good, with an even patina on uncleaned metal surfaces; typical light dings on stock;  a section of stock missing from above the lock forward about 2 1/2 inches, and some chipping (on crack) around the raised wood lock plate cavity. An iron ramrod completes this great historic musket.

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     Independent Boston Fusileer’s Liverpool Pitcher C-1790.



Standing on the slope of Bunker Hill on the occasion of July 4th, 1788, a mere thirteen years following the brave stand of American militia against the King George III’s regulars, the Independent Boston Fusileers, resplendent in their new red coatees, and bearskin busbies, received their official charter, presented to them by the Governor of Massachusetts, James Bowdoin.  Following that ceremony, the Fusileers proceeded to the home of John Hancock, soon to be the next Governor, to partake in an inaugural dinner, along with many of the Commonwealth’s honored citizenry. Many of the members of the Fusileers were considered the cream of Boston society.

The significance of the date 1787 may very well be tied to the great problem that was arising in Massachusetts with upheaval caused by Shay’s Rebellion, which began in Western Massachusetts, by Daniel Shay, and other Revolutionary War veterans who were losing property due to failure to pay their taxes. Little initially had been taken into account that their inability to pay said taxes, due to never receiving the long awaited pay from service rendered during the late rebellion. The growing threat forced the legislature to increase its military presence, and thus many of the famous Boston area militia units were formed at this time.

During the War of 1812, the Fusileers were called upon to garrison the Boston Harbor forts, as were others in the State’s 1st Division, Mass Militia.

William Turner was elected the first Fusilier Captain, and there is not doubt that the Fusileers were most prominent, not only in their fervor in matters military, but distinguished for their military balls on the Boston scene. Their annual dance was considered one of the main martial-social events of the year, certainly most enhanced due to the fact that their captain was by profession, a dance-master.

As with most militia units after the War of 1812, the need for actual military involvement waned steadily, as it can be said, despite whatever adopted unit mottos, the most appropriate for most would have been, “Invincible in peace, invisible in war.”  But they maintained their martial heritage, and provided service in future years in the Mexican and Civil Wars.

The musket offered here is most likely not one of the original weapons first used by the Fusileers, but is a replacement to those obtained from the 1788 period. From other Daniel Dana muskets encountered similar to this one (but not bearing any Boston Fusileer ownership marks), most seem to be dated in the War of 1812 era.  There is a possibility that this musket is later than the lack of barrel marked indicate. Not having these other examples to physically compare with, this Fusileer musket is certainly more beefy than other New England Militia muskets seen, and could very well be made just after the turn of the century. Very little is known of Daniel Dana, and many gun maker lists are lacking with any substantive data.  The larger bore size is atypical of the usual .69 calibre so common in nearly all militia muskets of this era.  Certain more research is required, but enough has been provided to introduce a rare and desirable specimen for your consideration.

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                                                 Boston Fusileers, Circa 1850s.



UPSP  Priority   $35.00


Additional information

Weight 25 lbs