Model 1795 Musket
|Model 1795 Musket|
Springfield Model 1795 Musket
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||United States, Confederate States of America|
|Wars||War of 1812 The Mexican War, and the Civil War|
|Barrel length||42 -45 inches|
|Caliber||.69 musket ball|
|Rate of fire||2-3 round/min|
|Effective firing range||50 to 75 yards|
|Maximum firing range||100 to 200 yards|
The Model 1795 Musket was a .69 caliber flintlock musket produced in the late 18th and early 19th century at both the Springfield and Harper's Ferry US Armories.
The Model 1795 was the first musket to be produced in the United States by Eli Whitney. It was based heavily on the Charleville musket, Model 1763/66, which had been imported in large numbers from the French during the American Revolution, and which at the time comprised the largest number of muskets in US arsenals at about 20,000 muskets. The Model 1795 was used in the War of 1812, after which shortcomings in both the design and manufacturing process of the Model 1795 led to the development of the Model 1812 Musket at Springfield only, and eventually the Model 1816 Musket muskets at both armories.
The Model 1795 retained many of the characteristics of the Charleville on which it was based. It had a 44 inch long .69 caliber barrel, a 56 inch stock, and a total length of 60 inches. The original version had the bayonet lug on the bottom of the barrel but this was later moved to the top. Minor changes were made throughout production inclusive of a shorter barrel length of 42" on the later Harper's Ferry weapons. Barrels of Harper's Ferry 1795s were serial numbered up to some point in 1812: Springfield M1795's were never serial numbered. Springfield began the Model 1812 improvements in 1814, but Harper's Ferry would continue on with the production of the M1795 until at least 1819 (early 1819 examples still used the M1795 lockplate) and never produced the M1812. Eventually, both armories would incorporate improvements into the M1816 flintlock which were after a few years virtually identical. Most, but not all, parts will interchange on the M1816 muskets but the hand-crafted parts, and lack of set standards and patterns on the earlier M1795 weapons often means parts will not interchange easily.
Typical of smooth bore muskets, the M1795 had an effective range of about 50 to 75 yards. The Model 1795 fired a smaller round than the British .75 caliber Brown Bess, but the Model 1795 also had both a slightly longer range and slightly better accuracy than the Brown Bess musket. This gave the American forces an advantage of range when they faced British forces in the War of 1812.
The Model 1795 was produced in the Springfield Armory, which was the first armory in the United States, at least as early as 1799. Earlier versions prior to this date probably were produced but were not dated. Starting in 1801, possibly as early as 1800, it was also produced in the then new Harpers Ferry Armory. Several differences between the Springfield Model 1795 and the Harpers Ferry Model 1795 have led many to label the Harpers Ferry version as a significantly different model. Quite a few independent contractors also made the weapon as they were in constant demand. The federal armories simply could not make enough muskets to meet demand with the labor force they had during these early years. Only about two dozen artisans worked in the Harpers Ferry arsenal around 1800, and making the muskets literally from scratch was a very labor-intensive task. Approximately 80,000 Springfield Model 1795 muskets were produced while about 70,000 were produced at Harpers Ferry.
The Model 1795s would be used through the War of 1812, the Mexican War of 1846–48, and the American Civil War of 1861–1865. Most would be converted to percussion caps either at the armories or by private individuals, but records reflect that many in the South were issued in original flintlock at the beginning of the Civil War until the Confederates could convert them to percussion. There is some evidence that some were in fact never converted at all from flintlock. The effective service life of the M1795 thus extends through 1865.
- "Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law", by Gregg Lee Carter, Published by ABC-CLIO, 2002
- Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms, 2001
- "Lewis & Clark Tailor Made, Trail Worn: Army Life, Clothing & Weapons of the Corps of Discovery", by Robert John Moore, Robert J. Moore, Jr., Michael Haynes, Published by Farcountry Press, 2003