Patrick Hand

The Buccaneer Project

509 posts in this topic

I posted in the "Faire vs Reenactment" thread that I want to create an authentic 1680's period buccaneer. For myself, I am approaching this as "Hard core, living History" so I want everything to be as accurate as I can possibly make it.

There are other threads dealing with different aspects on the GAoP, this thread will deal specificly with the Buccaneer period (aproxametly 1630 -1689)

CLOTHING

Exactly what would buccaneers have worn. Right now, I have a discription and a few period prints, but I have many questions......

WEAPONS

What would have been carried. I have a poor quality picture of a Dutch musket from the Museum of the Fur Trade, but to recreat a period gun is going to take a lot more research. Also, the prints of buccaneers, don't show hunting pouches, powder horns or flask... so what would be carried to load the guns?

EQUIPMENT

Buccaneers were hunters. What equipment would be available and carried when hunting or raiding the Spanish?

PERSONNA DEVELOPMENT

What is "known" and "additudes" about the world at the time....

I have some information, and am starting to do more indepth research, I will post my findings, but I am stuck with inter-library loans and the internet. Hopefully others will have sources that can be shaired.

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There has been some discussion on the PirateBrethren site ( a Yahoo group dedicated to authentically portraying GAOP) about some weapons that were used.

Here is some cut and paste

Q>

Does anyone know the difference in the use of the French fusil Type

C and the Tulle fusil de Chasse?

The Type C was in use in the late 1600's into the 1700's. The Tulle

was also in use in the early 1700's. Both were offered as trade

guns in the Americas.

D Rickman's reply

A>

I have a book called "The Fusil de Tulle in New France, 1691 - 1741"

by Russel Bouchard (Alexandria Bay, NY and Bloomfield, Ontario,

Museum Restoration Service, Historical Rams Series, No. 36, 1998).

It is just a small pamphlet, but goes into the question pretty

thoroughly. The author states that "In general, the Tulle hunting

musket [fusil de chasse] was different from the military musket

because of its lighter and hence less robust construction, and it

was 28 balls to the pound caliber. The brass or iron mountings were

proportional to the length, and the style of the lock was hardly

different from the infantry musket. As a general rule, it was

carefully made." The lighter weight seems to have made them popular

and by 1695 they were issued to the French marines (Compagnies

Franche de la Marine). Unfortunately, the earliest model of a fusil

de chasse this book shows is dated 1720, but it is not the marine

model. The earliest complete fusil de chasse of this sort dates from

1729, and is illustrated. I couldn't find anything about the "Type

C" fusil; was it manufactured by Tulle? If not, it wouldn't be in

this book of mine.

<<<HERE IS THE PART RELATING TO YOUR QUESTION>>>

But there is an intersting section in this book on the "fusil de

filibustier" or "boucanier." Yes, that is a Bucaneer Musket. It

seems that these were pretty common in the French naval service and

with civilians, especially in Louisiana and the Caribbean. It was

based on the type of musket made popular by the Boucaniers, and

appears in the famous print of one standing with his musket. By the

last decades of the 17th century, the fusil de boucanier was

becoming the most common weapon in the French colonies for both

military and civilian use. Every male civilian in the colonies was

obliged to own a musket from the Royal stores, and every merchant

ship had to have a certain number of guns on board. The buccaneer

musket was not specified, but the regulation stated that the guns

had to have barrels 4 1/2 feet long, and that amounted to the same

thing. In the French West Indies, they became the standard militia

arm in 1695. In 1710, every fishing vessel in Newfoundland was

issued two Buccaneer Muskets and every Basque ship that traded with

Newfoundland received the same "because they are lacking adequate

weapons, [and] could not resist pirate attacks." In 1710, Santo

Domingo, (now Haiti) ordered that every head of household have one

Buccaneer Musket, one "gargousier" (cartridge pouch),

one "manchette" (machete), or sabre, and a bayonet for each ten

Negroes they owned, all placed on a rack in their hall or room.

Finally, in the second quarter of the 18th century, the Buccaneer

Musket was the standard arm aboard each navy ship.

So, what is a Buccaneer Musket? The characteristic features are that

it was long - the barrel averaging 52 inches (with 60 inches the

maximum and 48 inches the minimum). The butt end of the stock was

shaped in reverse to most muskets. It was concave on the top and

convex below. That is what is shown in the famous buccaneer print as

well. Unfortunately, the earliest model the book shows is the 1729

Tulle Buccaneer Gun. Perhaps there are other examples out there. It

seems likely that with so many of these once around, some must have

survived. And equally, a good many must have fallen into the hands

of pirates. I'll try and post a scan of the Buccaneer gun soon.

Hope that this is a start?

I think that Foxe posted a picture of some Buccaneers frim 1705. A little late but Buccaneers none the less.

GoF

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85754153.jpg85754179.jpg85754257.jpg

These pictures are from a French map cartouche of 1705 showing buccaneers. Although it's a little late they're not bad pictures and they offer a good comparison to the print GoF mentioned with the buccaneer and his gun. The picture below is a detail from a cartouche of a different map, this time of 1700. The first full figure from the left appears to be wearing the same sort of long smock as the buccaneers above.

85754722.jpg

Personally, I think these long smocks are buccaneer hunting shirts, and seem to have been worn at times with bare legs and puttees. Apart from the last picture small caps seem to be more commonly associated with the smocks than large hats. Basically, I think those are good depictions of buccaneers as hunters.

If we believe the pictures then buccaneers as seamen looked just like other seamen of the time:

85757385.jpg85757584.jpg85795862.jpg

The first two pictures show buccaneers from sea atlases of the 1680s, the third picture is one of the supporters of the arms of Lord Torrington, granted in 1689 and you can see how similar the pictures all are. In addition, the general shape of the garments is very similar to the figures in sketches by the two Van de Veldes of the second half of the 17th century.

Hope that helps a bit B)

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I seem to recall facial hair was not so uncommon among the French during that period.

Btw, I'm really keen on having the Pirate Brethren do a late buccaneer impression. And I'm sure Scurvy Hanna wants to do it too.

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CLOTHING..... just the "long shirts" right now.....

The first three prints in Foxe's post are fasinating. The other print that everyone has seen of a buccaneer (the one with the funny looking gun) all show what looks like "long shirts" . I'm trying to figure out what the buccaneer in the first print is doing.... it looks like he's reaching into a pocket?

I figure it would be safe to start by making a "long shirt" with the body of the shirt gathered into a narrow neck band, the sleaves slightly gathered at the shoulder, not "puffy", but loose, gathered into a narrow band cuff.

I'm guessing that a medium weight unbleached linen would be the closest to period.

Medium weight, almost a light canvas, because they were work shirts, and would have to be able to withstand hard wear. (I wonder if it was period to reenforce the shoulders.... or is that a later period?) A medium weight would also gather as shown in the prints....

Unbleached, because from what I understand, getting linen white was a time consuming proceedure. So I figure that unbleached would be cheaper then, and would "blend in" more efficently for hunting. Or would they have dyed the shirts ?

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First, weapon. Check out club butt fowlers

Description http://www.earlyrusticarms.com/pricesandde...escriptions.htm

Picture (top weapon) http://www.earlyrusticarms.com/gungallery1.htm

Here's another http://www.narragansettarmes.com/americanClub.shtml

Not going to be cheap. I saw another today at the Elverson trade fair for 895. It is going to be available as a kit for around 6. That one has an English side sear dog lock dating about 1660. Should be avaialble by Dixon's Gun Fair.

Next, fabric. Check out hemp canvas and linen. Very common for labourers' and sailors' shirts and other clothing.

http://www.hempbasics.com/fabric/natural_hemp_2.htm

Last, beards. Very common for Dutch, French, and English, unless you were puritan. Fairly closely trimmed, though. No ZZ Top's

Hawkyns

:ph34r:

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Hawkyns, thanks for the links,(bookmarked them...)

Early Rustic Arms's prices (about $500 for kit form) isn't bad at all...(I will have to check out thier site more, for $200 more getting the gun "in the White" may be a better choice for me). what I've found so far are barrels for about $160, and locks running about $130-$160....

I was just checking out Hemp basic's web site last night.... at first I thought.... Ouch $15-$16 per yard, but just noticed that the stuff is 54" wide ... so not as bad as I first thought....... still would need at least 2 2/3 yards for a "long shirt" so about $40 ... that's not bad..... I'm just use to buying cotton at $1 a yard..... but I want to do this right, and thier natural hemp is about the color that I want.....

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Wouldn't it be an utter blast to have a true buccaneer rendezvous on a deserted island in the West Indies? :)

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I keep looking at those pictures of the buccaneers.

I'm trying to figure if maybe they were wearing "tight at the knee" breeches, and that is how the artist drew them... the one to the far right, has funny looking knees......

I will have to keep looking, but somehow, if buccaneers didn't wear breeches, wouldn't that have been mentioned more often? Or am I trying to make breeches"fit" in the time period?

The Buccaneer on the left, from the sea atlas, I was looking at how the leg ends at the knee in a point, It dosen't look like there is a kneeband, or buttons. But his breeches are very loose..... wondering if a tighter pair would work....

Like I said, I will have to keep looking.......

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I just came across an interesting tidbit about how buccaneers were known to make sheaths for their knive and cuttoes from alligator or croc skin. Would be a nice touch for a kit!

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how buccaneers were known to make sheaths for their knive and cuttoes from alligator or croc skin.

Getting a chunk of alligator skin might be difficult, but that would be cool.....

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I posted in the "Faire vs Reenactment" thread that I want to create an authentic 1680's period buccaneer. For myself, I am approaching this as "Hard core, living History" so I want everything to be as accurate as I can possibly make it.

Hmm, to be reasonably 'authentic', wouldn't that require being French, jerking pigs on a spit, and living in the Carribean?? :lol:

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Yeah I guess you'd have to use synthetic gator skin, unless you know the right people in Florida. Actually - you could probably get in touch with one of the many Gator farms down there and maybe they would save a dead one for ya. Blech. Dead gator is about the single worst stench I've encountered.

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Hmm, to be reasonably 'authentic', wouldn't that require being French, jerking pigs on a spit, and living in the Carribean??

Nah..... not all buccaneers were French.....

And they were hunting wild cattle and pigs... turning them into jerkey....

Living in the Carribean...... hummm...... I like that idea ;)

unless you know the right people in Florida.

Hummm Lots of the members of Pirates of the Coast are from Florida........ boy, are THEY going to wonder about a wierd e-mail.... ;)

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Last two times I was in the Everglades I came across dead gators. 1 roadkill, 1 natural causes, I think.

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I have two in the lake behind my quarters - a 5 and 7 footer. It'd be a great show watching you folks wrestle them. Ate a dog here a few months back... I'd recommend synthetic less ya want a pegleg.

-- Hurricane

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Wouldn't have to wrastle the gator..... just shoot the sucker.... :unsure:

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But where's the fun in that Patrick? :rolleyes:

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Hey... I just want the stupid skin..... not an "experience" :ph34r:

outta funsies.... now thinking about all of those water moccosin skins that I took when I was in the Army stationed in Ft. Stewart....... Nice black skin.... water moccosin would make a nice knife sheath,,,,,,,,,,,,,

maybe save th' croc.. for a machetti scabard..................

Back on topic.... Looking at the hats.... I'm thinking that they might have been cut down felt hats... get rid of most of the brim ( the parts that were unneeeded...)... just keep the front part of the hat..... any other thoughts........

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Yeah the were sorta nondescript lumpy affairs. Hack the brim down with a dull machete, then roll down a hill with the hat stuffed in your back pocket, that should do it! :)

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For that extra, ineffable touch of authenticity, don't bathe for six months, soak yourself and your clothes in cow and pig blood (easily obtainable at the local slaughterhouse, and smear yourself and all your gear in lots of rancid fat. Keep a charcoal brazier going in your house day and night to obtain that period-correct smoky tang. Next pirate get-together you'll knock 'em dead for sure. And the ladies will run from you just as they would a real buccaneer.

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:ph34r: It would ALMOST be worth trying someday just to experience what horror the smell actually was. TOTAL immersion, right there!

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Try Champion attitude Boots., they handmake Boots of all kinds including gator boots., perhaps they would sell you a pice big enough for your project. Or another vendor.

Then you dont have to go thru the immersion experience in a swmp somewhere.,where youd never be seen again,

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