George Washington

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Dec 20, 2021
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Beaver County PA
Ok, I could probably just look this up online, but I’d rather hear from forum members, since I’ve discovered lately that I get way better info on here than a Google search can provide. So here goes…

When George Washington made his famous first mission in 1753 to deliver Governor Dinwiddie’s letter to the French, telling them to leave the Ohio Valley, any ideas what rifle he would have carried?

If you look at my profile picture, you’ll see a blue sign behind me which reads, “Washington’s Trail 1753.” These signs are all over Western PA. The particular sign behind me is only 15 minutes from my house. So cool to know that GW passed through here in 1753, and I’m just curious what rifle he would’ve carried.


36 Cal.
Oct 1, 2009
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George Washington from early in life was determined to be seen as a gentleman and a person of importance in his society. I rather doubt he would have carried a common soldiers musket. He is recorded as owning a number of firearms during his lifetime, mostly handguns and fowling pieces iirc. During the time period the OP is asking about I would suspect that he most likely carried one of his personal guns. A fowling piece or something like a privately made officers type musket would seem most likely as it could fire ball or shot as needed. Either would be a suitable weapon for a young gentleman going into the frontier. While rifles were around they were much less common and I can't recall reading much about Washington owning or using a rifle.

Seth I.

32 Cal
Aug 21, 2019
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Officers were expected to direct their men, not engage the enemy. They often had only their swords when dismounted and would also generally have a pair of pistols in holsters on their horses. Depending on their rank, they may have a halberd or spontoon, which, like their swords, were used mainly to direct their men. If I recall correctly, Washington actually ordered that officers not carrying firearms during the American Revolution because it distracted them from directing their men. That said, due to the nature of fighting on the frontier, some were armed with fusils and other long guns. Washington did have a rifle during the French & Indian War, and there are references indicating he loaned it to a soldier.


Some have made a big deal about the weapons in paintings from the period, especially this painting by Charles Willson Peale, but those should definitely be considered with caution since paintings are not documentary evidence necessarily of what someone actually used and take plenty of artistic license. Peale did not paint this portrait until 1772, and it has things that would have been out of place during the French & Indian War. The sword in that painting is a known sword owned by Washington and purchased after the French & Indian War for example.

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