I just wanted to share a video from YouTube. Click here for video

It’s a look at how a British Light Infantryman of the late Napoleonic wars would load and fire a Musket. In close order, soldiers would have been standing shoulder to shoulder, in loose order, all files (a file comprising of the front rank man and the person behind him) were 6 inches apart and in extended order all files were 2 or more paces apart.

In an actual battle the soldier would put the remains of the paper cartridge, which would have contained the ball, down the barrel as well as the powder. Despite popular belief, they did not spit the ball down the barrel.

When Standing in 2 ranks, as was usual, the rear rank soldier would step slightly to the right instead of backwards before firing. The first method of firing would have been learnt by all line and light infantry battalions of the time, however the other methods were those practiced by Light infantry Regiments trained in the style of the 52nd Regt.

It’s a very involved process, I would imagine it took a while to learn and even longer spent drilling it… but imagine doing it in the heat of battle with a battalion of your angriest enemies bearing down on you with bayonets fixed?

The process is as follows…

– open the priming pan (bassinet)

– reach back and take a cartridge from cartridge pouch (giberne)

– bite the tip off the end containing the powder charge

– prime the musket by squeezing some powder into the pan

– close the bassinet

– pour the rest of the powder down the musket barrel

– push the cartridge containing musket ball into the barrel

– take out ramrod and push the paper and ball down to the end of the barrel, the cartridge paper served as wadding to keep   powder and ball in place)

– DO NOT forget to replace ramrod

– cock the musket

– get into position ready to shoot

The video was made by the 68th DLI. The 1814 Display team aims to authenticaly recreate the 68th Durham Regiment at the time they became Light Infantry and served as one of The Duke Of Wellington’s famous Redcoat regiments in the Peninsula war. The group uses replica equipment faithfuly replicated from original items and regulations of the period and trains to the original drill.

The 1814 Display Team’s mission is to inform and educate the General Public about our nations involvement in the Napoleonic Wars specifically the part played by the 68th Durham Regiment, Light Infantry from 1808 to 1815, whilst supporting wider activities across the country.

For more details visit their website here… 68th Durham Light Infantry