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    This page is dedicated to the presentation of a varied assortment of Spanish colonial military artifact types. Unlike the previous sections of this Internet museum—which are focused on the interpretation of Spanish colonial military button and buckle forms—this area serves to exhibit a potpourri of materials without regard to any predetermined typological emphasis.

Above, Left: Spanish halberd with bridle cutting beak, ca. 1740-1790, Escambia County, Florida

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The star shot was a linked and articulated type of naval artillery round designed to spread out after firing to shred, tear, and mutilate an opponent's ship's rigging. Recovered in Pensacola, this example is very similar to examples recovered from the wrecksite of the French frigate Machault, which was scuttled to prevent its capture by the British during the battle of Restigouche in Canada on 8 July 1760.


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The Model 1752 (also known as the Model 1757) Spanish musket was a classic European flintlock longarm combining French, German, and Spanish influences. This, along with a slightly modified version that appeared in 1789, was the standard Spanish military musket from the 1750s until the end of the Spanish colonial period. At above left are barrel bands, a sideplate, a wrist escutcheon, and a hammer from Spanish sites in western Florida. At above right is shown an official Spanish engraving of Model 1752/1757 musket furniture as well as carbine and pistol locks and parts.


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This elaborate, cast brass pistol side plate's design consists of a central castle tower element flanked by a panoply of flags. The castle tower was both an integral element in the Spanish royal coat of arms and, later, the insignia for the Spanish Royal Corps of Engineers. The pistol that once mounted this sideplate was not a standard military issue pattern. The weapon was almost certainly custom ordered by and fabricated for an officer in the Spanish military establishment or a government official. It was recovered in northwest Florida.



This fragmented, originally gilded brass Spanish officer's gorget was recovered in Pensacola, Florida. Once approximately 5 5/8" / 14.4cm from tip to tip, the engraved seal on the gorget's face, which lacks the Bourbon fleur de lis in its center, is that of the Spanish Hapsburg dynasty which came to an end in 1700.



The Model 1801 carbine was probably among the last types of Spanish arms to be sent to the New World prior to the end of the Spanish colonial period. This pattern is characterized by its brass (high copper content) pan and the distinctive spur extension on the front of the hammer.

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Shown above are Spanish musket, carbine and pistol flints (left) and various sizes of lead shot for these weapons (right). The flints are all prism-shaped, and the example in the upper left corner is actually of French material. Such artifacts provide evidence of the often illicit but necessary trade that took place between these neighboring colonial powers. Several of the lead shot, which range in size from approximately 1.00 to .50 caliber, appear to have been cast in stone molds.


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Far thicker and more crudely fashioned than similar French trade arrowheads, the conical, hammer-coiled cast sheet brass projectile points shown at top and bottom of the photograph at left were intended for use by Spain's American Indian allies within and beyond Florida. The projectile point shown at center is a copper or brass crossbow quarrel or dart point made in the New World. Normally associated with use by the earliest Spanish conquistadores and explorers, evidence suggests that crossbows were used by Spanish troops as late as the opening years of the 18th century in western Florida.



This badly damaged cast brass naval sword counterguard exhibits classic Spanish workmanship. Upon the counterguard's single shell is incised a design (which is highlighted here for illustration purposes) consisting of an upright anchor whose shaft forms the back element of a stylized Roman letter "R," the remainder of which extends outward from the central naval motif. It is postulated that this device may artistically represent the words Real Marina, which literally means "Royal Navy" and which was also the official designation for members of the Spanish Royal Marine Infantry and Artillery.

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The flaming bomb device was variously applied by European and American military establishments as insignia for infantry grenadiers as well as officers and men of artillery and ordnance branches. This die-stamped and hand-trimmed brass example, which may have been made in Britain for use by the Spanish military establishment during the 1808-1814 period, has been rudely double-punch-perforated at its top, bottom, and side edges for attachment with heavy thread or small staples. The exact mode of use and placement for this remains uncertain. It may have adorned the fur cap of a Spanish grenadier or a grenadier's or artillerist's cartridge pouch.



These small flaming bomb insignias adorned the collars of Spanish artillerymen. The cast brass example at left is of Spanish manufacture, ca. 1802-1808; it is slightly curved to accommodate the contour of the collar and was secured to that uniform component via two drilled shanks like those found on cast Spanish buttons. The example at right is of die-stamped sheet brass whose original soldered attachment wires are absent. This is very probably of post-1808 British manufacture; similar devices adorned the collars of Spain's artillery uniforms well into the twentieth century.


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Found in the remains of the Spanish siege lines of the March-May 1781 battle of Pensacola was this carefully crafted cast brass ornament or badge which was attached to its leather or cloth host by two drilled shanks (like those on cast brass Spanish military buttons of the period) which are located on the artifact's flat reverse face (right). The two shanks are still connected by a thin piece of twisted silver wire, suggesting that this was still attached to its host when it was lost. The original's face is shown at left, while a casting is shown at center to enhance the details' visual clarity. It has been postulated that this may have served as a cartridge pouch device, a coat tail tie back emblem, or even a form of cockade or shoulder strap insignia. Any viewer who may be able to provide information about this artifact is encouraged to contact the curator via the e-mail link at this site's home page.



This cut fragment of a ca. 1808-1820 pewter cap or shako plate was recovered in western Florida at a late Spanish colonial military site. Such destruction of military equipment was not uncommon; often, trimmed pieces of shako plates were put to use as flint caps to hold gunflints securely between the jaws of musket cocks. This fragment only yields tantalizing hints regarding the identity of its original regiment or battalion of issue; the "-NA" could stand for either "Tarragona" or "Luisiana", both of which Spanish units served in Florida during the period. One of the original attachment perforations remains in the upper right corner of this specimen.



Artifacts like those at right are found at the home and camp sites of nearly all military personnel during the colonial and early American national periods. The items shown are as follows: (A) coat tail weights made from flattened lead shot; (B) lead pencils; (C) porcelain dice (bone dice were also commonly used); (D) long coat or jacket hook fastener; (E) gaming chip made from flattened musket ball; and (F) brass juice harp.

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Chris Bennett; Neal Collier; Robert Commings; Dr. J. "Coz" Cozzi; Eugene Gruenewald; Dr. H. Louis Hill, Jr.; James E. Pierce; Pensacola Historical Society; Allen L. Roach; John and Rosemary Sanders; Arthur, Imogene, and Samuel Standard; Bennett and Martha Tillison

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