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Here you will find some reading material, that our members have suggested. I will try to place it in different catagories.
We will start with........ Military Arms, and weapons.
Arms and Armor in Colonial America, 1526-1783
by Harold Leslie Peterson -- Excellent source for an overview from Jamestown through the F&I period and some Rev War. Good overview with some very good in-depth of various topics. Great book to start with and keep referring to. I think there is an inexpensive Dover reprint that is avail, the original was printed in the 50's. Set the stage for using archeology to date and place many weapons in early American history. (He was a National park historian from the 40' till the 70's)
Weapons of the American Revolution: And Accouterments
by Warren Moore -- Another good basic reference with chapters on pistols, edged weapons, shoulder arms, powder horns and accouterments. Some detailed photos, some in color some 700 items illustrated and he says 2/3 are his own collection!! A Company of Military Historians Reference as is the previous volume. Only caveat to remember when items are identified by a collector -- they too often believe the folks that sold it to them! Bigger problem with George Neumann, he believed almost everything folks told him esp for his Collectors Encyclope
Swords and Blades of the American Revolution
by George C.Neumann --- Largest number of swords, hangers, sabers, backswords, small swords and other sharp sticky things than I can remember in any of the Rev war books. He has an entire section of halberds and spontoons then one on knives and daggers including a large number of folders and then fascine knives. Then there's a chapter on axes, hawks and hatchets. Great book if you like sharp things of the period.
You could not go wrong starting a reference collection with these.
Another one to look at is George Neumann's "Battle Weapons of the American Revolution" A cross section of weapons but particulary useful in learning about the variations of muskets as it breaks them out as British military & civilian, American, French, Germanic and DUtch as well as between fowlers, rifles, muskets, wall guns, blunderbusses. Useful are also pages of say only muzzle comparisons with 30 shown as weapons evolved, then one on sideplates (40), then locks (40 on 4 pages), then 32 triggerguards on 2 pages, then 3 pages of 40 butt stock to teach the evolution. An excellent wall to learn the progression and change over time and also to learn the different styles to say that looks Germanic or English or French even seeing only part of a weapon.
Then there are more focused specific topics such as British Military arms of specific periods:
2 classics that almost everybody references:
Howard L Blackmore's "British Military Firearms 1650-1850" that traces the development through this time period including a lot of the experimental weapons of the late 18th century and also tables of multiple proof marks, even contract prices and specs. a true reference book.
De Witt Bailey's " British Military Longarms 1715 - 1865 , another classic that details regulation and service issue weapons and specs, separate sections on muskets, rifles and carbines with the individual development in each group and again a lot of the experimental weapons. Also tables of markings.
Bailey's follow-on "Pattern dates for British Ordnance Small Arms 1718 - 1783" A very detailed reference that say in the Land Srevice muskets and then Long land muskets has Pattern dates of 1730, 1730 s/r, 1740, 1730/40, 1730/1740sr, 1742, 1742 s/r and so on. With plates and line drawings to show each variation. It starts with of characteristic features like : "46 inch barrel with four pairs of barrel loops, with the cross pins passing through the lugs of the rammer pipes which fit between the two parallel loops." ...... "Round, single-bridle lock with 'banana' lock-plate configuration, and dates on the tail from 1727 to 1743. One screw showing behind the cock ....." It goes on with pages of detail for all the different variations. A really neat book.
"Muskets of the Revolution & French & Indian Wars, the Smoothbore Longarm in Early America, including British, French, Dutch, German, Spanish and American Weapons" book by Bill Ahearn
----another great reference with detailed sections on Long Lands, short Lands, carbines and fusils, and Naval Longarms. Then a section on American weapons with colonial fowlers, militia muskets and repaired longarms, committee of safety muskets then Spanish, Dutch, French and German with detailed photos and descriptions.
Of Sorts For Provincials American Weapons of the French and Indian War
by Jim Mullins
It's sister book, very similar but different author also published by Track is
"A Soldier-Like Way", the Material Culture of the British Infantry 1751-1768, the French & Indian War era, by R. R. Gale -- again excellent detailed photos and text to define a very specific time period. Very well written. Roy likes the pictures.
Native American History.
12000 years of Maine History" by Bruce Bourque, and "Norembega Reconsidered" found on the Davidstown Museum. This book is contraversial at best. These two books cover a lot of pre-writen history.
Here are a couple more.The Complete Idiot's Guide to Native American History" by Walter C. Fleming and "Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America" by Daniel K. Richter.