Online Encyclopedia

BROWN BESS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 663 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BROWN BESS, a name given in the British army to the flint-lock musket with which the infantry were formerly armed. The term is applied generally to the weapon of the ,8th and early 19th centuries, and became obsolete on the introduction of the rifle. The first part of the name derives from the colour of the wooden stock, for the name is found much earlier than the introduction of " browning " the barrel of muskets; " Bess " may be either a humorous feminine equivalent of the " brown-bill," the old weapon, of the British infantry, or a corruption of the " buss," i.e. box, in " blunderbuss."
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CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN (1771-181o)

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