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The Charleville is the general name of the French series of smoothebore muskets. It was in service with the French Army from 1717 to 1840.


During the Revolutionary War, the more-common Brown Bess became the primary infantry weapon of the 1st and 2nd Marine Raider Regiments. However, the growing French influence prompted the adoption of their musket in the latter years of the war. While it never fully replaced the Brown Bess, it was used when possible. The muskets were similar in design, so a recruit trained with one could easily get used to the other. In addition to standard firing, marine raider recruits were instructed in the use of buck and ball shot, creating a shotgun-like effect with the musket, which proved deadly against enemy soldiers in close range combat. A large portion of the training was in hand to hand combat, which allowed the raiders to use their Charleville's bayonet and stock to great effect against the British.

The Charleville remained in service longer than the Brown Bess, and was the marine raiders' primary weapon during Shays's Rebellion, the Whiskey Rebellion, and the Northwest Indian War. With the adoption of the Springfield M1795, the weapon remained a reserve arm until 1802, when it was phased out entirely.



The Charleville M1763 was first French firearm delivered to the raiders, who received the first shipment in 1779. It saw use by general infantry, officers, and occasionally artillery crews. The only problem with the M1763 was its relatively heavy weight.


The Charleville M1766 was first delivered to the raiders in 1780. It attempted to remedy the weight issue, as it was lighter and of a more streamlined design than its predecessor. The M1766 was the primary weapon used by the marine raiders through post-revolutionary conflicts.