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Weapons of War: Military Arms in Revolutionary America

October 11-13, 2019

In 1754, British and French soldiers arrived in America in numbers never seen before on North American soil. Thousands of European soldiers joined colonial militias and Native American allies in nine years of bloody fighting—the French and Indian War. With these soldiers came the first large-scale influx of military weaponry into the American colonies. Before then, the colonists’ arms were a mix of the obsolete, the old and the odd. Most firearms were privately owned and suited more for shooting game than combat, while others were outdated weapons captured in previous conflicts.

The social and economic repercussions of this war contributed directly to the onset of the American Revolution 12 years later, when many French and Indian War veterans would fight once again to decide the fate of the British colonies. A fresh wave of cutting-edge military weaponry arrived with the American Revolution, adding to the diverse assemblage of arms types already in existence in 18th-century North America.

Weapons of War offers students, military historians and antique collectors the chance to learn about the various types of arms and accoutrements that came to America during this formative period. From the archaeologically recovered fragments which tell us what was really used during the Revolutionary period to the conservation of surviving artifacts, we will explore a diverse array of materials and ways of appreciating them through modern eyes.

 

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