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A. Spanjer




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan, 2010 5:23 pm    Post subject: Basket-hilt Broadsword and the American Revolution         Reply with quote

Would the Scottish Basket-Hilt Broadsword have been used on the American side?

What about the Targe?
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan, 2010 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Targe? No!

Broadsword used by dragoons (only mounted troops used in war), definitly yes, but not by English!

Carried by infantry as a hanger? No evidence I have ever encountered. Even the Scottish regiments gave them up. Perhaps basket hilted British grenadier hangers, but probably not. Too heavy and not nearly as effective as the bayonet.

Carried by officers who were mounted (majors and above)? Yes, definite evidence.

"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan, 2010 5:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Basket-hilt Broadsword and the American Revolution         Reply with quote

A. Spanjer wrote:
Would the Scottish Basket-Hilt Broadsword have been used on the American side?

What about the Targe?


Certainly. Why not? We know the basket-hilt sword was used by Highland regiments serving the crown, and Loyalist colonists of Scots origin, so they could have also been used by rebels of Scots origin/descent.

In fact, there is historic precedence for this (I'm going off my memory, so I know I'm going to leave some details out): At one battle (King's Mountain?), some of the colonial troops were led by a Campbell, who carried an "ancestral claymore" into battle. While this could have been a two-hander or Claidheamh Da Laimh, I'm thinking it was more likely a single-hand sword of the basket-hilt persuasion.

They may not have been all that common (in fact, some of the Highland Regiments eschewed their issued basket-hilt swords for more native arms, such as tomahawks, or got rid of them altogether as appendages of questionable use in the thick forests of North America and hit & run tactics of the Native Americans and Backwoodsmen).... but they were there....

Now the targe is another question. Highland Regiments seem to have dispensed with the targe not long after the '45 Rebellion, and I'm unaware of any records that mention them from the time of the revolution... then again, I'm going off memory, so, who knows...?

David K. Wilson, Jr.
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Christopher Gregg




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan, 2010 5:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In Neumann's book, "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution", from pages 138 - 153, there are many basket-hilted broadswords (and back swords) of both Scottish and English origin reputed to have been in this country at the time of the revolution. Whether they were used in actual battle, that's hard to prove, but they were here for use. Of course they were mostly obsolete as a military weapon, compared to the bayonet particularly, but against a foe armed with a tomahawk, belt knife or short hanger, they would be superior (given the skill level of its user).

Highland tactics were outdated by the '45, and were not too useful in the colonies, whether against natives or British regulars. Still, if I were fighting back in the day and had a choice of back-up weapon, and a Highland Claymore was at hand, I would probably lug it along with my musket, belt knife (or dirk), and the rest of my gear... at least until it pissed me off and I threw it into a barn's loft or down a village well! Laughing Out Loud

Christopher Gregg

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Perry L. Goss




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan, 2010 9:23 pm    Post subject: Colonial American Troops 1610 - 1774 Osprey Publishing V 3         Reply with quote

A. Spanjer:

Sorry the forum keeps kicking me out from screen to screen. Typed this once!


Fort King George at Darien, GA. A Mr. Britt Brinson is or was, the head of the re-enachment group there. Most of the men associatted with the group are actual descendents of Georgia Highland Independent Co. of Foot or...Mackay's Independent Co. of Rangers. The later one just a homespun backwoods group of boys, but all kith and kin of the first group.

If you wish "pm" me and I can get you some news letters and email addys of the group. Now...I have not been in contact for about a year, so...

But...in answer to your question - based on the info above - yes. Colonial American Troops 1610 - 1774 Osprey Publishing V 3, page 16 for one reference.

Thanks!

Scottish: Ballentine, Black, Cameron, Chisholm, Cunningham, Crawford, Grant, Jaffray, MacFarlane, MacGillivray, MacKay-Reay/Strathnaver, Munro, Robertson, Sinclair, Wallace

Irish/Welsh: Bodkin, Mendenhall, Hackworth

Swiss: Goss von Rothenfluh, Naff von Zurich und Solland von Appenzel
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan, 2010 9:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are some basket-hilted broadswords displayed at Colonial Williamsburg, meant to illustrate weapons on the eve of the American Revolution. However, the ones now in the Governor's Palace were brought to Virginia from Flixton Hall in the 19th century, so would not themselves have been used during this war. Goldstein (2002).

http://forensicfashion.com/1776AmericanRevolu...thilt.html
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E.B. Erickson
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 2:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peterson's "Arms and Armor in Colonial America" has a very typical Scottish baskethilt used by a Capt. Nicholas Ruxton Moore of the 4th Continental Dragoons. The blade is de, with 1 narrow fuller between the central flat and each edge on the upper part of the blade. The blade is flattened hex section, and on the flat is what looks like a King's Head stamp, with writing either side of the stamp (can't see what it says in the photo, but my bet is Andrea Ferara). The sword is owned by the Maryland Historical Society.

I don't have a scanner, so can't post the photo.

--ElJay
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 4:49 am    Post subject: Re: Colonial American Troops 1610 - 1774 Osprey Publishing V         Reply with quote

Perry L. Goss wrote:
A. Spanjer:

But...in answer to your question - based on the info above - yes. Colonial American Troops 1610 - 1774 Osprey Publishing V 3, page 16 for one reference.

Thanks!

Perry...
I do not have a copy of that particular volume from Osprey. Could you list the reference they cite to support what is in the book?

I love the Osprey books and have a lot of them. However, I have found that historical accuracy is lacking at times.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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A. Spanjer




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 5:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the answers guys. I didn't have any particular reason for asking, I was just curious.

Since we're on the topic, do you think the Basket-Hilt Broadsword was ever used in naval combat? It would probably be a bit long for use on ship, maybe some Basket-Hilts were refitted with Cutlass blades? Is there any record of this?
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 6:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Peterson's "Arms and Armor in Colonial America" has a very typical Scottish baskethilt used by a Capt. Nicholas Ruxton Moore of the 4th Continental Dragoons. The blade is de, with 1 narrow fuller between the central flat and each edge on the upper part of the blade. The blade is flattened hex section, and on the flat is what looks like a King's Head stamp, with writing either side of the stamp (can't see what it says in the photo, but my bet is Andrea Ferara). The sword is owned by the Maryland Historical Society.


Doesn't A&A in Colonia America also have several baskets pictured that were dug up at Jamestown taking basket hilts back to the 17th century here in the Americas?
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Liam O'Malley




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 12:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i'm not an expert, but i do see some problems with the idea.

jamestown to the revolutionary war is the difference between the civil war and the vietnam conflict. i haven't seen many kentucky long rifles in da nang...
they were still wearing plate at jamestown, we're talking the tail end of the elizabethan period, muskets still had fuses and tripods. plate armor necessitates a big sword, cotton or wool, like in the revolutionary war, not so much. why lug around a beast when a bayonette and knife will do? even the dragoons seem to carry sabers, the one mentioned may have just been a one off.

it may have happened, but its not like it would be correct to wear over mountain men kit and a basket hilt claymore on the assumption that they're originally of scottish derivation. they were poor people, forcibly relocated to eire, voluntarily relocated to america, and would never have had the resources to keep a blade like that, so while it may be acceptable to say one specific wealthy landed officer in a cavalry unit had one, again, not for all american troops.

that being said, i thought the later basket claymores were more saber-ish anyway.
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 12:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With regard to Jamestown Rediscovery, actually the most prevalent set of weapons period rercovered at Jamestown are "Scottish" in origin, or at least in the style attributed to "Scottish" weapons. There have been several dirks, ribbon hilts, and earlier "Irish/English" hilts. There is even parts from what is described in the new Archeologium as a "target" but sure looks like pieces from a targe to me. Two of the most interesting discoveries is a Scottish snaphaunce pistol stocked in wood almost identical to that one currently in a Scandanavian museum and usually captioned as the earliest Scottish pistol in existance. The pistol was almost completey intact due to the mud it was disposed in. John Buck makes a nice reproduction of this particular piece (see www.musketman.com). The other item is a recent discovery of a unique basket hilt that has a fully developed basket but has the earlier period large, hollow pommel. Think plate A21 in Mazansky but with a pommel the size of A15b. Very cool and a style non described elsewhere to my knowledge. The only other style of weapons recovered in any other quality are rapiers and daggers with short blades and rather drooping quillons. The NPS museum and the APVA museum have a very nice display of these weapons and it is certainly worth the time to see them if you're ever in the Tidewater area.
"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 4:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Glen...

The musketman link produced nothing but the site for a race horse. Do you have another address? Would love to see what this guy does

Ditto on the finds at Jamestown, which are really fascinating, especially the snaphance pistol.

I have always been skeptical of claims that Highlanders in North America, i.e. immigrants who were not connected with the military, brought broadswords and kilts with them. There is just too much background history that automatically refutes or at least reduces the likelihood of such things. The disarming act after "The '45" is the biggest factor. It seems to have worked very well in its goal to disarm the Highlanders and the rest of Scotland as well, making it unlikely that the average immigrant even had any weapons to bring with him in the years between Culloden and the American Revolution.

An exception has to be made for retired military men, a number of whom migrated to the Cape Fear region of NC prior to the Revolution. In February, 1776, Allan MacDonald, the husband of Flora, and Alexander MacLeod were responsible for organizing a number of Highlanders who were to march southeast to Wilmington to link up with the British regulars there. According to "The Highland Scots of North Carolina" by Duane Meyer - which has long been the "Bible" for the Scots descendants of the region, about 1300 Highlanders actually left Cross Creek, present day Fayetteville, headed for Wilmington. Very few were armed with firearms and according to Meyer, who does not cite a source, most carried broadswords. That is a lot of broadswords in one place in NC in 1776 and I find it hard to believe. Supposedly the Highlanders were in kilts and playing the pipes as they headed south. I find the kilt part also hard to swallow, although some of the retired military may have retained their uniforms. At any rate, they were ambushed by a larger force of patriots at Moore's Creek Bridge, cut to pieces, the majority captured and the rest routed. Thus ended that experiment as the Highlanders left the area in large numbers afterward. Allan and Flora MacDonald went back to Scotland after a very short stay in NC. The Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville, and the museum at Moore's Creek both have displays of Scottish swords and both repeat that the Highlanders were thusly armed. IMHO that is probably not historical fact.

While I was born and partly raised the Cape Fear Valley, I now live quite close to the battlefields for both Kings Mountain and Cowpens. At the earliest opportunity I will head over to Kings Mountain to look at their library of information on the leaders of the patriots to see what they have to say about Col. Campbell's claymore.

From what I have read of the Highland regiments which fought in N. America during the French and Indian War, they did carry the broadsword, dirk and pistol, although whether they carried the full compliment of arms varied with the Regiment. Anecdotally, however, it appears that as time passed they may have shed a lot of that equipment, and abandoned or modified the great kilt after they found that campaigning in the dense forests of North America was not enhanced by toting all that stuff. In 1776 the British army ordered the Highland Regiments - some must have still had them - to turn in their dirks, swords and pistols, although officers certainly retained them if they wished to do so.

Any way, that is my two cents for what it is worth.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Perry L. Goss




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 4:40 pm    Post subject: Osprey references         Reply with quote

Well, third time is the charm. Something is wrong with my PC.

Page 42 Lin has the references. Georgia Provincial Companies MC&H(Winter 1993) King George's Army Collections of the Georgia Historical Society III - IV. Sorry, tired of typing this stuff.

Anyway, that is what they have, at least on that component. I no longer have the detailed, but tedious book from the Fort.


Thank you.
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry, all. My mistake. John Buck's website is www.musketmart.com. A really nice guy and a delight to speak with.
"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 5:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A. Spanjer wrote:

Since we're on the topic, do you think the Basket-Hilt Broadsword was ever used in naval combat? It would probably be a bit long for use on ship, maybe some Basket-Hilts were refitted with Cutlass blades? Is there any record of this?


I'm certain that it was. While it wouldn't have been an item of official issue for sailors or marines, it would have shown up in the hands of officers, privateers, and yes, pirates. Going off of memory again, but none other than Edward Teach (i.e. Blackbeard) is supposed to have been killed by a Scots sailor armed with a claymore, and that said claymore was used to decapitate Blackbeard's corpse. This is likely an apocryphal story, so it's veracity is suspect, but it makes as much sense as anything....

Oh, and yes, there were basket-hilts with curved blades, like cutlass blades. These were usually hangers for infantry use, not sailor's cutlasses.

David K. Wilson, Jr.
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A. Spanjer




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 5:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:
A. Spanjer wrote:

Since we're on the topic, do you think the Basket-Hilt Broadsword was ever used in naval combat? It would probably be a bit long for use on ship, maybe some Basket-Hilts were refitted with Cutlass blades? Is there any record of this?


I'm certain that it was. While it wouldn't have been an item of official issue for sailors or marines, it would have shown up in the hands of officers, privateers, and yes, pirates. Going off of memory again, but none other than Edward Teach (i.e. Blackbeard) is supposed to have been killed by a Scots sailor armed with a claymore, and that said claymore was used to decapitate Blackbeard's corpse. This is likely an apocryphal story, so it's veracity is suspect, but it makes as much sense as anything....

Oh, and yes, there were basket-hilts with curved blades, like cutlass blades. These were usually hangers for infantry use, not sailor's cutlasses.


Ah, yes! I remember hearing about the Claymore used to kill Blackbeard. Was the name of that Scot recorded?
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 5:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don't know about the highlander's name (in regards to Blackbeard) but the account I have, from "Under a Black Flag" by David Cordingly, has it that "..being a Highlander, he engaged Teach with his broadsword who gave Teach a cut on the neck, Teach saying well done lad; the Highlander replied, If it not be well done, I'll do it beter. With that he gave a seccond stroke, which cut off the head, laying it flat accros the shoulder" (Amusingly, the legend has it that Blackbeard's head then independantly swam a few laps of the ship)
I get the impression that "claymore" in this case most likely means "basket hilted" not "big honking"
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2010 9:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay, I'm use to being a bit of a heretic hereabouts but the story about Blackbeard being killed by a broadsword is not historically correct. In Lt. Maynard's account published after he returned to Virginia stated that he was using a smallsword and that Teach was using a cutless. The fatal wound was administered my an unknown seaman who stabbed Teach in the back with a pike which opened up a thrust from Maynard to the neck. Maynard says - and I find this a bit farfetched - is that he purposefully engaged Teach with a lighter blade because he felt Teach would tire faster when swinging a cutless...shades of Rob Roy!
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Christopher Ron Covington





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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jan, 2010 6:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all,

I hope the photo works. I was at the Smithsonian a few weeks back and took a photo of a baskethilt that was found in Jamestown. The photo isn't very good because I used my cell phone. I was only able to really get a photo from this one angle. I hope it is of some interest.

Best regards,



 Attachment: 63.11 KB
baskethilt jamestown.JPG


Christopher R. Covington
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