Object Title

Model 1804 New Land Pattern Musket

Development

The New Land Pattern musket is a design associated with the short period of peace between the signing of the Treaty of Amiens in 1802 and the resumption of hostilities with France, then under the control of Napoleon as Emperor.

Once peace broke out, it was thought that the Board of Ordnance could revert to the high standards of production and inspection they had been accustomed to prior to 1793. Unfortunately it was not to be, and the pressure of wartime needs meant that the India Pattern, in both models, continued to be made.

The Model 1804 New Land Pattern musket series was in fact the legitimate successor to the Land Pattern series of muskets issued prior to the emergency introduction of the India Pattern musket. It was a deliberately improved and modernized firearm made and finished to the expected high government standards.

The resulting musket - the Model 1804 New Land Pattern - was essentially a hybrid, bringing together features from the India Pattern and several experimental muskets produced during the 1790s, especially the Duke of Richmond's model that was made to the earlier designs of the prominent London gunmaker Henry Nock. The new musket had several new and innovative features, including a streamlined 'modern' style stock and simplified brass furniture to ease manufacture. The flat lock plate had a stronger, reinforced ring-neck cock, and the internal springs were held in place by latches instead of screws. In common with many of Nock's weapons, the ramrod incorporated a flared section below the button end to retain it in the ramrod channel and prevent loss. A further innovation was the return to a 42 in barrel, last seen fitted to the Model 1777 Short Land Pattern musket. The barrel was retained by flat keys rather than wire pins, allowing the musket to be more easily disassembled.

Although introduced in that short period of peace after the treaty of Amiens, the model 1804 was not produced in any large quantities before 1815. Any production that had taken place, either in 1804 or just prior to the 100 Days campaign in 1814, was thought to have been issued to guards regiments and used in the defence of Hougoumont Farm during the Battle of Waterloo on the 18th June 1815.

Use and Effect

In terms of use, the model 1804 New Land Pattern musket was little different from the earlier India Pattern muskets.

In terms of performance, tests show that the musket was most accurate at about 50 yards. Analysis of 19 battles between 1750 and 1830 show that the average engagement distance for infantry was 64 yards and that closing fire, when infantry was advancing and firing, was delivered at a mere 30 yards. In terms of rate of fire a British infantryman was expected to manage three rounds a minute when in combat. Effect tests carried out by the East India Company in 1834-5, using a Board of Ordnance musket, showed that it could penetrate three 1-inch-thick deal planks set 12 inches apart at 60 yards and then penetrate 1 inch into the third three-layer set of planks. This set of results was with the service charge of 6 drams of good quality British powder and when you observe the slow motion footage of a musket ball penetrating a gel block and shattering a simulated bone you can well understand the damage that musket ball wrought on the field of Waterloo.

Statistics

Barrel length 1057 mm (42 in)
Calibre 19 mm (0.75 in)
Country of manufacture Britain
Date entered service 1814
Loading Muzzle-loading
Overall length 1465 mm (57.5 in)
Weight 4.672 kg (10 lb 3 oz)

Author

Mark Murray-Flutter