Heritage, 2009, Volume 2 Page: 14
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Prior to leaving Mex-
ico, General Eugenio
Tolsa, one of the divi-
sion commanders, said
that of his 2,000 troops,
a full two-thirds of
them had muskets that
would not fire. There
are also several docu-
ments that mention
the terrible wear and
tear on the muskets
due to the heavy dew,
the hot sun, and lack of
I 1cm I
The BN granaderos plate was one of several artifacts with a characteristic inscription-that proved useful in
identifying and tracing the types of weapons used by Mexican troops.
at San Jacinto. There is little doubt that the Mexican army did have some rifles, but it
certainly was not commonplace. The Texans had a higher percentage of men armed with
rifles, but there was still a relative lack of them in the Texan army.
The India Pattern musket (fusil) was a smoothbore flintlock with a .75 caliber bore.
The barrel of this musket was 39 inches long. Along the Mexican army retreat path,
numerous pieces from India Pattern muskets have been found. These include lockplates
(the firing mechanism), trigger guards, stock caps, butt plates, and ramrod pipes. One
excavated lockplate was inscribed "Barnett's London." Research has shown that there was
a private gun maker named Barnett in London at that time. No muskets with any British
military markings have been located, and the military experts in England have said that
their government did not supply the Mexican army with weapons.
There were 12 orders and 18 separate steps in loading and firing this musket. A veteran
soldier was expected to be able to load and fire three rounds per minute. Due to the lack
of accuracy, this weapon was designed to be used by formations of troops, which would
result in placing such a large number of bullets in the air that anything in front of the
soldiers was likely to be hit.
The Brown Bess musket fired a lead (or rarely copper) ball that was packed into a paper
cartridge with gunpowder. The majority of the musket balls from excavated sites have
been .68 to .70 caliber balls. These smaller balls would have been easier to load, but this
also makes the musket less accurate. Mexican documents list both 17 and 19 adarme balls
(one adarme=1/16 of an ounce). Based on archeological evidence and Mexican docu-
ments, it seems as if the Mexican soldiers would carry the paper cartridges in packs of
9 to 11 tied into a bundle. These packs were referred to as paradas and were carried in
There also is good evidence (but no proof) that the Mexican army used what is called
buck and ball cartridges, meant to increase the lethality of each shot. In each cartridge a
HERITAGEW Volume 2 2009
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2009, Volume 2, periodical, 2009; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254213/m1/14/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.