I am happy to announce that board of directors has voted in favor of adopting a new project for 2019. We will be funding the restoration of a Flintlock Fowler (musket) carried by a New Hampshire Militiaman during the operations around Fort Ticonderoga 1776-1777. The Fowler is in the possession of the Sons of the American Revolution at their National Headquarters. Once completed, the Fowler will be on display at the National Headquarters’ of the Sons of the American Revolution in Louisville, KY. The SAR is currently developing plans for a new museum in Louisville. Upon completion of the museum, the piece will be placed on exhibit there.
From the SAR.
“Following their defeat at the Battle of Quebec on December 31, 1775, the Continental Army was driven south toward Fort Ticonderoga by British forces in the spring of 1776. The British Army under Quebec Provincial Governor and General Guy Carleton sought to deliver a decisive blow to the Revolution. If the Hudson River Valley extending south from Lake Champlain could be taken, General Carleton would have an avenue to sever New England from the other colonies. General Horatio Lloyd Gates, commanding the Continental troops on Lake Champlain including Fort Ticonderoga, prepared to defend the corridor. In October 1776, General Gates called for militia to reinforce the fort. Private Beriah Murray, serving in Colonel Benjamin Bellows Regiment of New Hampshire Militia, was among those who traveled to Fort Ticonderoga to check the British advance. That same month, a hastily built fleet of ships under the command of General Benedict Arnold met a superior British fleet at the Battle of Valcour Island. Although the result was a British victory, General Arnold’s fleet so disrupted their southerly progress it effectively ended General Carleton’s campaign for 1776. Pvt. Murray and his compatriots at Fort Ticonderoga would not face a British attack that year and after 25 days of service1 he made the more than 70-mile trip back to Claremont, New Hampshire. In the spring of 1777, British General John Burgoyne set out from Montreal with an army of nearly 8,000 troops to accomplish the aim of the 1776 campaign: secure the Hudson River Valley. General Burgoyne sailed south on Lake Champlain and by late June his army was in place to begin preparations to lay siege to Fort Ticonderoga. At the same time, a call went out for militia to reinforce the garrison in the fort and Pvt. Murray returned with his New Hampshire Regiment. Colonel Bellow’s Regiment arrived at Fort Ticonderoga the last week of June. Skirmishes began soon after as General Burgoyne’s army advanced and started siege operations on July 2. General Arthur St. Claire, now commanding Fort Ticonderoga, determined on July 5 that his position was indefensible against such a force. Seeking to retreat and save nearly 3,000 Continental troops and militia, General St. Claire ordered a withdrawal from the fort through the night of July 5-6. Pvt. Murray and his regiment quietly evacuated with the army that night. General Burgoyne ordered troops to give chase when he realized what was happening and they
1 Bellows’, Jr., Regiment. N.H. Militia. April 1, 1777. Muster and Pay Roll for Beriah Murray for 25 days of service in October, 1776.
Revolutionary War Flintlock Fowler NSSAR 2
attacked the rear guard of General St. Claire’s columns in the following days. The evacuation, however, allowed General St. Claire to avoid an all-out confrontation and for the main body of his army to escape. Pvt. Murray was discharged on July 8 after 11 days of service at Fort Ticonderoga2. During his service of October 1776 or June-July 1777, Beriah Murray is believed to have acquired and fought with the circa 1760 American fowler now in the SAR Museum Collection. Murray family history states that Pvt. Murray’s firearm was lost or disabled while serving at Fort Ticonderoga, leading him to recover an alternate firearm from a fallen soldier, the fowler inscribed “NATHANIEL RICH”. The name inscribed on the barrel is almost certainly the name of the original owner. Service records for a Nathaniel Rich have not been located, suggesting the fowler may have been carried by a friend, family member, or other acquaintance. While documentation for the exact circumstances of how Pvt. Murray came into possession of this fowler has not been uncovered, the evidence supports its recovery at Fort Ticonderoga. The fowler passed from Pvt. Murray by direct lineal descent to the donor and is recorded in a published genealogy of the Murray family3. A history of Essex County, New York notes a Nathaniel Rich “near the time of the Revolution” in Trout Brook Valley just a few miles west of Fort Ticonderoga4. Research into the fate of Nathaniel Rich of Trout Brook Valley and precisely how Pvt. Murray came into possession of the fowler is ongoing.”
Cost of the restoration and stabilization will be just over $7000. A deadline has not been established.
I will announce fund raising efforts for this project here, so please stay tuned.