Gunparts from the Dog River site include a brass side plate fragment (top left) from an English Long Land Service or Brown Bess musket, which were first made around 1718 and continued in use throughout the 18th century. We also found a ramrod (middle left), a trigger guard (bottom left), and a butt plate (right), all of which probably came from French trade guns. A large fragment of a copper powder flask  has an embossed scene with a man and his shotgun and hunting dog in the woods.This hunting scene is identical to flasks made in munitions manufactories in Birmingham, England, in the early 19th century.
We also recovered a large piece of a flared musket barrel probably from a French blunderbuss dating to around the 1760s.These types of guns were usually swivel mounted on fortified palisades, as well as in boats and ships.

Rupert shot was the most common lead shot (10,726 pieces) from the Dog River site. The production of Rupert shot was first detailed in a 1665 publication entitled To make small shot of different sizes; Communicated by his Highness P. R. [Prince Rupert of England]. It was made by heating lead in a colander from which small drops fell as pellets into a container of water. Rupert shot at the Dog River site dates to the Rochon occupation of the French and early British colonial periods.

We also recovered 1,557 drop shot, 176 buckshot, and 36 musketballs. Drop shot was invented in 1769 by William Watts, who, as the story goes, inspired by a hailstorm experimented by dropping molten lead through a colander from a height of 200 feet into a tub of water. The effect was to produce perfectly round lead shot. Shortly after he patented his idea, drop shot was being mass-produced at "shot towers" and soon replaced Rupert shot. Buckshot and musket balls are made from molten lead poured into two-piece gang molds. Some of the Dog River examples are spent (or fired), and others have teeth marks indicating they had been chewed. Lead sprues (waste from making shot in molds), and lead spillage and scrap indicate the lead shot was produced at the Dog River plantation.
Gunflints and spalls were very common artifacts at the Dog River site. The honey-colored gunspalls are French in origin. A few gray and black gunflints are blades, which were probably made by the British. Some flints were reworked into strike-a-lights, or were bifacially chipped, probably by Native Americans living at the plantation.

Two cast iron cannonballs were found discarded in a large pit dating to the Rochon family occupation. One is a three-pound cannonball and the other is a four-pounder. These types of projectiles were most efficient for their devastating effect on wooden ship hulls and aggregated troops. The cannonballs from the Dog River site may have been discarded near the end of the British colonial period, perhaps during the Spanish siege of Mobile in 1780.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015 8:42 AM