How a Brown Bess musket, now housed in a Chesapeake museum, played a role in the Revolutionary War

How a Brown Bess musket, now housed in a Chesapeake museum, played a role in the Revolutionary War

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — I recently visited Chesapeake to check out a piece of local history at the Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways Museum.

“The artifact in question is known as a Brown Bess musket, used by the British and developed by the British as early as 1722 and used well into the following century,” says museum docent Kimball Thompson.

Myles Henderson EHOURL News 3

This type of musket, likely armed with a bayonet, was used in the Battle of Great Bridge. Thompson says, “Americans in the early war tended to run in the face of a very good, very well-trained British organization doing a bayonet charge.”

Musket Bayonet

Myles Henderson EHOURL News 3

But that was not the case on the morning of on December 9, 1775. As the British attacked from the causeway, the patriots returned fire from the front and the side.

“So the British were very boxed in and almost classic L shaped formation. And as a consequence, the British suffered a great deal of casualties with the Americans suffered virtually none,” said Thompson.

Battle of Great Bridge

Myles Henderson EHOURL News 3

While the Battle of Great Bridge may not be one of the most famous battles of the Revolutionary War, it was a very important victory for the Americans.

According to Thompson, “Does this change the outcome of the war? No, I think we would have won in time anyway. But it does, we think, shorten the war some length because of the ability for us to continue to supply Washington’s troops further up the Chesapeake Bay.”

Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways Museum

EHOURL News 3 Myles Henderson

The is located at 1775 Historic Way, just off of Battlefield Blvd. in Chesapeake. They are open Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 with discounts for military, seniors, and youth.

There is a special event on Sunday, September 10 for potential museum volunteers.

Great Bridge Battlefield_Event Flyer.png

Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Museum

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