Weapons of the Revolutionary War
A broad variety of weapons were used throughout the American Revolution. While some were well-established weapons from previous wars, others were more experimental in nature and did not gain prominence until much later in history.
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Muskets - The most commonly used firearm during the Revolutionary War was the muzzle-loaded musket. The musket was the primary weapon for thousands of British and Continental Army soldiers. Revolutionary War muskets were commonly equipped with bayonets, which were useful against cavalry and in close combat. America's ability to arm its force with flintlock muskets as they mobilized was a critical challenge early in the war.
Muskets used in the Revolutionary War included the Brown Bess, the Charleville, and the Kentucky long rifle.
Cannons - The cannon was a highly effective weapon throughout the Revolutionary War and was key to the American victory. Though it took as many as 14 soldiers to operate, a cannon could fire projectile for hundreds of yards and hit dozens of enemy soldiers in a single shot.
Flintlock Pistol - Used primarily as a secondary weapon by soldiers, the pistol was considered very inaccurate and was more of a personal weapon. The pistol was popular in early American duels, which allowed participants to be tough guys without usually being killed (don't mention that to Alexander Hamilton though).
Swords and Sabres - Used mostly by officers, Revolutionary War swords were often ornamental in nature and decorated with precious materials. General George Washington considered his sword to be part of the uniform and many Washington paintings from the Revolutionary War era feature him holding an unsheathed sword. Today, antique swords are among the most popular American Revolution weapons with collectors.
Submarines - America first experimented with the concept of an underwater vessel during the Revolutionary War. A submarine, then called "the Turtle" was invented by David Bushnell in order to attach explosives to British ships without being detected. Though General Washington loathed this underwater manner of attack as "ungentlemanly", the Turtle was deployed on September 6th, 1776. Piloted by Ezra Lee (and only Ezra Lee), this new water machine was sent to drill a screw into the giant British ship HMS Eagle. Unfortunately, Lee failed to secure the explosive and was forced to retreat as dawn approached. Two other attacks were attempted with the Turtle - both failed.
Revolutionary War weapons continue to be quite popular with collectors. As with any collectible, the value of the weapon closely correlates to the scarcity of the item. However, some of these antique weapons are surprisingly affordable given their significance in World History.