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Rappahannock Forge Musket


When fighting broke out in the spring of 1775, Scottish immigrant James Hunter was already operating a major iron forge and manufacturing facility on the banks of the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg, Virginia. To meet the demand for firearms, swords, cooking kettles and other military equipment, Virginia authorities contracted with the Hunter Iron Works, also known as Rappahannock Forge, soon after the outbreak of war, to produce such items for its regiments. From 1776 until 1780 (when shortages of raw materials and skilled manpower forced Hunter to suspend operations), workers at Rappahannock Forge produced a variety of high quality arms and equipment. This musket, which is marked with Hunter’s name on the top of the barrel and “Rappa Forge” on the flintlock, is one of less than half a dozen examples that have survived to the present day. Rappahannock Forge muskets were patterned after the standard British military musket of the time.