February 2011

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by Ronald G. Gabel

Cadet rifles and muskets were undersized versions of regulation style 19th century infantry

long arms. The first such muskets in this country were made for the US military Academy

at West Point about 1830.

Military and commercial versions of these rifles and muskets were sold from 1830 until after 1900. As Civil War veteran's children became of age in the 1870's new trends in American education developed. One of these was the "Military Academy". High schools and colleges began to combine a dose of military training and discipline with their academic training.

Top to bottom:

Full Size Musket; Percussion Cadet Musket; Flint Lock Cadet Musket.

Flint Cadet Musket Lock

Boys were provided with muskets and bayonets with which to March and drill, the older the boy, the larger the musket. Muskets issued could even be fired with black powder paper blanks.

Top to bottom:

Cadet bayonet with ball for younger boy; Pointed bayonet for older boy.

Cadet rifles were imported from Europe in substantial numbers. In 1895 a percussion cadet musket with bayonet sold for $ 3.75. I enjoy showing school children of today the muskets, rifles and bayonets young students in the late 19th and early 20th century were issued by their school systems. Those kids seemed to run our country well when they grew up, must have been before guns turned bad.

Percussion Cadet Musket Lock.