November 17, 2020 Early Arms & Militaria: Age of Exploration, Empire & Revolution
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/17/2020
A rare Pattern 1738/1778 Wall Gun or "Wall Piece" produced for the British Army, bearing Ordnance view and proof marks on center top of barrel near breech, with a partly-obscured maker’s mark “IB“ [possibly Isaac Bissell, who had contracts for barrels during 1775-1783) to the left. The swamped, 54-1/2" long barrel of .98 caliber bore fired a .91 caliber, lead ball of two ounces, eight drams (with a service powder load of 330 grains of black powder, which propelled the ball in ranges documented up to one mile). A sighting groove is cut into the tang/barrel at breech, while a bladed iron foresight is set on the top of the barrel set 4" back from the muzzle. The flat lock has beveled edges with bordered line engraving and bears “TOWER” engraved crosswise on the tail behind the reinforced cock and a “(crown) / GR” engraved before, with broad arrow inspection mark below the faceted pan. The brass mountings include buttplate and sideplate (both with double-line engraved edging), a thumbpiece, and three ramrod pipes. The iron ramrod is original to the gun. The walnut stock has raised carving term terminating in a “beavertail” at rear of lock and around barrel tang. This wall piece, with an overall length of 73-1/4", weighs 35 pounds and two ounces (not inclusive of the original, forged-iron, swivel yoke). Prized for their long-range accuracy and effectiveness in the defense of fortifications, especially frontier forts and blockhouses, ten such wall guns were shipped to Virginia in 1755 for used on the Braddock Expedition, all of which were subsequently issued to the Virginia colony forces for the defense of their frontier posts. Wall guns were part of the armament of most British military forts in North America and were also carried and used in nearly every British offensive expedition of the French and Indian War. Wall guns were frequently mounted on wheeled mantlets, where their long-range fire and lightness made them perfect weapons to use in advancing forward siege lines by silencing defensive artillery fire. Although designed as a land weapon, by at least 1756 they had been adopted for maritime or naval purposes, being mounted on the decks or fighting tops of ships in lieu of the less, accurate, shorter-ranged swivel guns normally used for such purposes. The famous colonial American partisan leader, Robert Rogers, mounted them in batteau used for scouting expeditions and within his well-known journal, is a fascinating account of a battle on Lake George, in which Rogers and his men were attacked by a superior party of enemy warriors in canoes. Rogers was able to reverse what should have been a defeat into victory, by sinking and disabling many of the Indian canoes from long-distance fire of his wall guns, before the enemy could get within range of their own arms' effective firing ranges. Wall pieces such as this example were used by the British Army, Provincial (Loyalist) regular and militia, and some Hessian units during the entirety of the Revolutionary War, beginning with the siege of Boston in 1775. In 1776, the Congreve mantlet-limber was introduced for use with the light three-pounder cannon, in which the wall piece mounted upon it provided defensive fire for the cannon crews during action and was particularly well suited in masked batteries for ambushes or flanking fires. They were taken on nearly every expedition of the war, beginning with Cornwallis's 1776 expedition against North Carolina, in which 12 were employed by the British attacking force. CONDITION: The lock is in good working order, with crisp actions and has a brownish-grey patina, as does the original ramrod and swivel-mount. The barrel retains 80% of what appears to be an original or period browning, with light freckling and the occasional ding, notably at the muzzle; some light surface rust present—easily removed. The walnut stock has suffered from wood-boring beetle damage in the past, rather extensive in the butt area, but subsequently treated and stabilized. JLK NOTE: the display stand does not convey with this wall gun.

This is not a standard shippable item and will require 3rd party shipping or pickup arrangements to be made.
Barrel Length
54 - 1/2"
FFL Status
Flintlock Swivel Gun
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $4,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $10,200.00
Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000
Number Bids: 13
Auction closed on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.
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