The Northumberland Militia were similar to other Militia Units that
fought in the War of 1812. The had no formal attire and wore their regular
every day clothing. The British out fitted the Militia with a Brown Bess
flint and hammer Musket. The militiamen were also given bayonets, frogs
to hold the bayonets, cartridges and gun powder. Many of these guns and
flints were useless and could not be used. Some of the officers in the
Militia carried sword depending on the wealth of the officer and the availability
of the sword. The officers could also carry small arms again depending
on the availability.
The weapon that you see here is a Brown Bess musket, which was used by the Northumberland Militia during the War of 1812. Unlike modern weapons, the musket was very slow to load, highly inaccurate and frequently unreliable. A well-trained soldier could prime, load and fire three times in one minute. This involved a 12 step process in order to fire just one shot. Also, these muskets did not fire bullets, as we know them in the modern sense, but fired round lead balls, some of which were the size of a quarter. At short ranges, these lead balls could inflict horrible damage on soldiers as they did not pierce a person's body but rather smashed against it.
Aside from the fact that this weapon took 20 seconds to load (often
under enemy fire) and that it was prone to frequent misfires, it was also
inaccurate. It was possible to hit an opponent only if he was standing
not more than 50 meters in front of you. Any further away, and the chances
of hitting him were greatly reduced. It was often said that soldiers did
not aim their weapons, instead they pointed them in a general direction
and hoped for the best.