Three Brown Bess Muskets Found on a Revolutionary War-era Shipwreck!

At the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, our maritime archaeologists excavated around 600 artifacts from a 1782 British Loyalist Ship – including three Brown Bess muskets. These muskets were found loaded, cocked and ready to be fired! 

The flint and leather pad were found in place on the gun, as well as the paper wadding. These artifacts were found on a Revolutionary War-era shipwreck we called, “The Storm Wreck”. This site consists of up to sixteen ships that wrecked on a sand bar trying to enter the St Augustine harbor in December 1782 around New Year’s Eve. These were part of a larger fleet that helped evacuate British Loyalists from Charleston, South Carolina, as it was falling into the hands of the Continental Army formed to protect the original 13 colonies.

These muskets are on display at the Museum with many other artifacts that were excavated from the ship, such as a cannon, carronade (the 2nd oldest known to exist), ship’s bell, iron grid grill, cauldrons, silverware, shoe buckles, buttons, plates, and many other personal belongings.

The British Loyalists grabbed their important possessions and tried to escape to areas still in British control. If you had to evacuate, what would you bring?

The Brown Bess Muskets are on display in the “Wrecked! Exhibit,” which is located in the Keepers’ House of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.


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