If you have artifacts that you think may relate to Benedict Arnold’s Expedition to Quebec, please let us know. We can help you identify the item, conserve it, and catalog the information for future researchers.
These artifacts have been treated with a new process using Tannic acid. This is a much simpler process that removes much less material from the artifact.
This is an Escutcheon Plate from a Brown Bess Musket that was part of a weapon issued originally to Company H of the British 60th Regiment of Foot. Member Duluth Wing found this artifact on the Arnold Trail near Chain of Ponds in 1989.
The King’s Royal Rifle Corps was founded in 1755 as the 62nd Royal American Regiment and later renumbered the 60th Regiment in 1757 when the 50th and 51st foot were eliminated after a British loss at Fort Oswego, New York. The 60th was a large regiment raised with four battalions.
The unit was originally titled the “Royal Americans” in an attempt to recruit American colonists into the ranks of the regular British army. This proved difficult, so the 60th was made up of a large portion of German immigrants, King George’s Hanoverian subjects, drafts from other British regiments, and some American colonists.
Eventually, this escutcheon (or wrist) plate and the Tower of London Brown Bess musket on which it was attached, ended up in the hands of one of the members of Arnold’s expedition in 1775 where it was dropped in the Maine woods and remained for two centuries.
Raw British flint – Here are two pictures of this artifact found on the Colburn House property near the Kennebec River in August 2007. About the size of a baseball, this piece of raw flint (with chalk exterior) is from England and has been “worked” to create gun flints, possibly by men of Arnold’s expedition. Notice the distinct hammer marks on the bottom of the photo at right.
Colburn Brick – Recovered from the 1790s portion of the Allen house on the Colburn House property in the spring of 2007, this brick was undoubtedly made in the Colburn brickyard nearby. It has what appears to be a “119” marked into it with a finger before it was fired. Member Susan Hutchins recovered some clay from the brickyard site to display next to the brick at the house.
Dugout Canoe – Members Lori-Ann and Tom Desjardin bought this 18 foot dugout canoe at an estate auction recently because they thought it would make a great museum display along with the birchbark canoe and the dugout remains already in the “Boat Museum” in the barn. Benedict Arnold started from the Colburn House in a birchbark canoe but it leaked so badly that he switched to a dugout at Fort Western. Now we just have to lift the silly thing into the barn. It weighs several hundred pounds!
If you have artifacts from the Arnold Expedition that are made of metal, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission will conserve these for you at no cost.
In an effort to preserve artifacts from the expedition, the MHPC wants to be sure that even items in private hands get the best preservation treatment available. This includes soaking in a special bath that neutralizes chemical reactions that occur in old metals. After a few other processes including photographing and measuring, the items are coated in a light wax to prevent future corrosion.
Once conserved, the items will be returned to their owners in a condition that best ensures they have a long life (the artifacts not the owners).
If you would like to take advantage of this offer, contact state historian Tom Desjardin at email@example.com or (207) 287-4975.