French Model 1774 infantry muskets are described on pages 355-358 of George D. Moller's book "American Military Shoulder Arms Volume I" with this exact musket pictured on pages 355, 356 and 357. The first picture caption states, "The Model 1774 infantry musket's barrel and lock are similar to those of the Model 1770-1771 and the stock is similar to the Model 1773 stock. It's middle band has a forward projecting lip at the bottom, similar to the Model 1763, to facilitate the ramrod's return. Much of the other furniture is of new configurations." This Model 1774 musket was originally manufactured for the French military circa 1774-1779 and was likely one of the muskets supplied to the American revolutionaries during the Revolutionary War or soon thereafter by our French allies covertly prior to their formal involvement or in larger numbers once they joined the fight in 1778. Without French assistance, we very well may have lost the war, but instead, we fought side by side with our French allies to defeat the British and received favorable treaty terms that extended far beyond the original thirteen colonies. French muskets were widely used by the patriots and became the basis of the first U.S. martial muskets in the 1790s and beyond at the new Springfield Armory and then Harpers Ferry. The underside of the buttstock on this example has "UNITED STATES" branded into it in large letters. Similar markings are known to have been applied both during the Revolution and after. It has an iron ramrod, bayonet stud on top of the barrel, brass blade front sight on the rear strap of the front barrel band, French "star/D" inspection mark on the right of the middle barrel band, script "Charleville" marked at the center of the lock below a French "star/D" inspection mark, inspection initials that appear to read "IBI" marked inside the lock plate, "RD" inspection initials marked on the sideplate, a French fleur-de-lis stamp above a "D73" inspection mark on the left side of the barrel near the breech, and a French "star/N" inspection mark on the trigger guard finial and buttplate tang. Small "GDM" (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the left side of the toe of the stock. Includes a socket bayonet and reproduction leather sling. Provenance: The George Moller Collection
Good with smooth dark brown patina overall with some scattered light pitting, scattered dings at the breech end of the barrel, and crisp lock markings. Stock is also good with scattered dents and scratches, a repaired chip ahead of the lock, a crack behind the lock, a chip behind the barrel tang, and some cracks/chips around the buttplate tang. Mechanically excellent. Included bayonet is very good with sharp edges and scattered light pitting. A desirable "UNITED STATES" surcharge marked French Charleville Model 1774 musket that would make an excellent addition to any U.S. Martial or Revolutionary War collection!
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