The Musket Block



THE MUSKET BLOCK

Muskets used by Lunsford's Regiment are, and were mainly, matchlocks, in which the powder charge is ignited by plunging a burning length of 'Match cord' into the priming pan.  The match held in a spring-loaded metal jaw or 'Serpent' which was attached internally to the trigger.  It was usual practice to keep both ends alight, one end in the serpent and the other end held in the hand.  Spare match would be wrapped around the wrist or hung on the bandolier.

Loading a musket with powder and ball was a slow but uncomplicated manoeuvre, with different 'postures' used to train a novice musketeer.  A competent musketeer would know, without having to  be ordered, how to load his weapon ready for firing, so the instructions in battle would be reduced to 'Make ready', 'present' and 'give fire'.

There was no standard bore, despite many attempts to produce one.  In 1643, the King commanded that 'the muskets be all of a bore, the pikes of a length', but as material was scarce these orders were not carried out.

The musketeer's equipment usually included a buff leather bandolier from which hung twelve wooden or leather tubes, each containing a measured amount of powder sufficient for one shot, which the musketeer could pour directly into the muzzle of his musket; a cartridge bag, a bullet bag, a prick to clean the touch hole of the musket, and often a small oil bottle.  Musketeers were also issues with swords, 'a good stiff tuck not very long'.  However, most musketeers used their musket butt as a club and the sword to cut firewood!