On May 5, 2022, three members of the MN Sons of the American Revolution Living History Team, Phil Christianson (left), Rich Howey and Chris Moberg (not pictured) did a series of Patriot Chest presentations for the elementary school grades at Schaeffer Christian Academy in Rochester, MN.
The sixth grade students have been learning about ancient warfare. So they were given a demonstration of the loading and firing of a flintlock musket to demonstrate how complex it was and were also taught why the soldiers at the time, both British and American, fought in lines. The picture above clearly illustrates how much smoke was produced when a flintlock musket was fired. You can see the large plume of smoke generated by the main powder charge in the barrel emerging from the muzzle. You can also see the vertical plume of smoke emerging straight upwards right in front of the shooter’s face that was generated by the priming charge in the flintlock firing mechanism. With thousands of muskets, along with cannons, firing on a battlefield, you can see that the field would be obscured by smoke and visibility would be a big problem. That is part of the reason for the colorful uniforms, large flags that were carried and orderly formations. That helped the commanding officers know where their troops were in the noise, smoke and confusion of battle.
Any kind of firearm demonstration, with blank ammunition of course, must be conducted in a manner that is in accordance with all state and local firearm laws as well as responsible safety procedures. To ensure that this demonstration was legal and safe, the living history team obtained written permission from the school principal to bring the muskets onto school property as required by Minnesota State firearm laws. We also coordinated with the Rochester Police Department to make sure we were in accordance with all city ordinances and that the police were aware that there would be loud firearm discharges during the demo.