For George Washington, the commander in chief, and his Continental Army, the most important weapon was the musket – known by soldiers as “Brown Bess.”
Muskets of this period were five feet in length, muzzle loaded, and fired a large caliber lead ball using gunpowder. These weapons were notoriously inaccurate and Washington’s troops were often commanded to mount bayonets to the ends of their barrel, charge and then engage the enemy in close quarter, hand-to-hand, combat. At one point during the war, the Marquis de Lafayette presented 500 Charleville muskets to the Continental Army as a gift. One of these firearms can be found in the George Washington Museum at Mount Vernon. This rifle pen serves as a reminder of the American struggle for independence and the role that the musket played in securing victory. The size of this rifle pen is 9 ½” long.