May 17, 2022 Early Arms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/17/2022
Benjamin Bacon (Sr., 1726-1807) of Canterbury, Connecticut, served throughout the war as a captain in the 21st Connecticut Militia, part of the states’ defensive forces, and also sent as reinforcements to Washington in New York September 1776. Bacon was “established” by the Connecticut General Assembly as Ensign of the 9th Company (or Train Band), 11th Regiment of Militia, Col. Ebenezer Williams, in 1771; promoted Lieutenant, May 1774; and Captain, March 1775, the company by then part of Col. John Douglas’s 21st Regiment as militia regiments increased in number and their geographical boundaries changed. Bacon was a prominent member of his community, several times a representative to the colony and state General Assembly and rising to Lt. Colonel in the militia by 1790, by which rank he was later known. He commanded the company throughout the war with documents showing him as its captain from 1775 to at least September 1781. He answered the Lexington Alarm, marching, “to the relief of Boston,” in April 1775 along with other Canterbury members of the 21st Regiment, with service lasting six days, shorter than many from the town, but none served more than twenty. In Fall 1776 the 21st Regiment was called to reinforce Washington in New York, serving from September 7 to 20 March 1777, part of Saltonstall’s brigade of Connecticut Militia, at one point attached to Sullivan’s Division. A casualty report of Saltonstall’s command for October 28-30 shows light losses, but suggests participation in the Battle of White Plains. A November 1776 travel abstract lists Bacon in command of a lieutenant and 24 men. Thereafter the regiment seems to have been kept ready to respond to British coastal raids on Connecticut in 1777, 1779, and 1781 and may have seen service in response to the British attack on Rhode Island in August 1778. They were called up for two days service on September 4 on reports of British shipping off New London and the papers of Obediah Johnson, Colonel of the 21st from May 1777 to 1783, place him in Rhode Island in 1778. The regiment did not reach New London in time to take part in the defense against Arnold’s 1781 raid in early September, but a regimental return of 25 September 1781 at Canterbury lists Bacon as captain of a company with a lieutenant, ensign, 3 sergeants, 4 corporals, and 37 men, all under fifty years of age, with another 22 exempt and 2 on a tour of duty in a state regiment, indicating he was still active in the state’s defense forces. Also on that roll is Ephraim Lyon, having risen from lieutenant to adjutant and to captain of his own company. A second, almost identical Fusil is known via private collection, with coin silver thumb-piece inscribed in virtually identical style, “Ephraim Lyon, 1777”. Given similar fusils inscribed to the two men, but dated a year apart, it’s more than likely that Lyon saw and appreciated the Fusil owned by Bacon, and subsequently ordered one for himself by the same maker. An exhaustive search of known rifle makers during the period and of the area attributes the fusils’ construction to “Deacon Barrett” of Concord, Massachusetts whom Bacon likely had the occasion to visit in 1775-1777 during the Lexington Alarm. The fusil itself features a three-stage barrel with bayonet lug mounted on bottom towards muzzle, and a small silver front half-moon sight on top. There is a small notched iron rear sight mounted on the front of the barrel tang. Convex banana lockplate shows worn engraved maker's name in block letters. The brass furniture is of American manufacture and includes a stylized "Brown Bess" type triggerguard, but much fancier. Trigger guard has a hole for sling swivel. Stepped two-stage buttplate tang. Engraved brass ribbon sideplate. Unusual elongated trumpeted brass ramrod ferrules. Brass nose cap. Silver wrist escutcheon inscribed "MADE / BY DB / FOR / B. BACON / 1776". This inscription tends to imply that this Fusil was a special order by Bacon and that he was quite proud to have the makers initials on the gun, with the maker in turn, proud to identify it but prudently not presenting his full name to prevent British reprisal, a common trait among most weapon makers after the British incursion to Lexington and Concord. Most collectors and historians of the Revolutionary War and specifically the Battles at Lexington and Concord are familiar with Colonel James Barrett, one of the primary figures in the events surrounding the first Battle of the American Revolution at Concord. On April 19, 1775 at the Battle of North Bridge in Concord, Colonel Barrett was the highest ranking officer in the field and was in command at the fight. His farm was the stored sight of all the town of Concord's militia powder, weapons, and two pairs of bronze cannons according to secret British intelligence. His barn was one of the chief objects of the British march command by Colonel Francis Smith of the 10th Regiment of Foot through Middlesex County on April 19, 1775. The British soldiers who reached the farm that morning found no weapons, as they had been moved or hidden by Barrett's nephew and son who had spent most of the night and early morning plowing under the remaining contraband not taken westward by their militiamen. What is not commonly known is that James Barrett’s brother was Deacon Thomas Barrett, who was born in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts in 1707 and died in 1779 in Concord, Massachusetts was also a British target. Both he and his son Deacon Samuel Barrett were blacksmiths and also operated a gun manufactory in Concord, Massachusetts during the time of the Battle at Concord and are listed in Colonel Arcadi Gluckman’s American Gun-makers as follows; Barrett, Samuel “Deacon” A Committee of Safety gunsmith of Concord, Mass. Born 1726, died March 10, 1800. “We hear from Concord that a fine laboratory for gun making is set up there by Deacon Barrett, where every branch of the business is carried on. As the laboratory has the advantage of a stream, the boring, grinding and polishing is performed by water/ ’ New England Chronicle, Cambridge, December 14, 1775. In Willard Cousins article published in The Gun Report in April, 1975, Cousins reported that on April 19, 1775, the elder Deacon Barrett was interrogated, denounced as a traitor and threatened with execution by British Troops after their search of his properties and Barrett’s sharp retorts criticizing the mother country’s indignities and persecution of Colonists. He was spared due to lack of evidence, allowing he, his son, and their workmen to continue to produce and repair muskets for the cause. The fusil has a slender cherry stock of beautiful New England form and a pleasing deep flute above wrist on each side. Stylized bold relief-carved shell surrounding barrel tang. Two lines engraved along ramrod channel and top edge of forend on each side. Small relief shell carved behind ramrod entry ferrule. Brown Bess "bulge" at forearm above ramrod entry ferrule. Relief teardrop panels carved around lock and sideplate. Accompanied with documentation and copies of Bacon’s Revolutionary War muster sheets. CONDITION: Retains a pleasing untouched appearance. Barrel retains a dark heavy brown patina, some minor losses and bending at muzzle face from period use. Lock retains a dark heavy patina with some scattered pitting. Lock is in its original flintlock configuration. Brass retains a pleasing mustard to dark mustard patina, showing minor scattered marks from use and light wear. Wrist escutcheon shows clear markings. Consigner states that the stock has a professionally repaired wrist break that we were not able to discern. Stock shows some wear to carving and scattered marks from use. Some minor chips around lock and a long thin splinter absent along barrel on each side. A very historic, identified and dated Revolutionary War Weapon. DMG
Barrel Length
42 - 3/8"
.64 Smoothbore
FFL Status
Deacon Barrett, Attributed
Officers Fusil
Serial Number
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $15,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $50,400.00
Estimate: $30,000 - $60,000
Number Bids: 17
Auction closed on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
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