Collector Gets Shock of a Lifetime After FBI Shows Up Looking for a Rifle He's Had Since 1982


After it had been missing for over 35 years, one historic flintlock rifle — used in the Battle of New Orleans — was recently reinstated into the museum it had been stolen from.

Louisiana State Police, along with members of the FBI, reportedly tracked down the antique rifle and recovered it from a private residence in a southern region of Louisiana.

Eric Rommal, head of the New Orleans FBI office, stated that the museum asked for their help with the investigation in the fall of last year, and local authorities eventually found it at the home.

The owners fully cooperated with investigators and admitted to having traded for the rifle back in 1982, never realizing it had actually been stolen.

Authorities returned the antique to the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum in New Orleans, where it will reside with other memorabilia detailing the historic battle, which was fought from Dec. 14, 1814 to Jan. 18, 1815, according to Fox News.

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“Today marks the 203rd anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans,” Louisiana State Police posted to Facebook. “And in honor of that LSP was proud to participate in a press conference with FBI New Orleans announcing the return of a historic artifact.”

According to the museum’s curator Joseph Ricci, the rifle had been used by William Ross during the Battle of New Orleans. Ross — who worked in New Orleans as a flour inspector — had also been an active member of the local militia.

Yet, investigators remain unsure as to how exactly the weapon went missing, but point to a time when it resided at a store in the French Quarter where, according to FBI reports, it was traded for multiple other weapons before coming in possession of the southern Louisiana family.

The Kentucky-style flintlock rifle, donated by a family member of the original owner of the weapon, is also the only known weapon that has been fully documented and traceable to the battle.

“The rifle will now be housed at the museum where the original owner intended it to reside for all to see,” said Louisiana State Police.

And the rifle itself is just one among other historic weapons that has been re-discovered recently — with many of them rare finds that continue to enrich history.

One of those finds had been parts of a pistol unearthed in Colorado, with the fragments shedding new light on the Spanish Colonial history of the state.

In August 2017, a knife from the Revolutionary War-era had been dug up at Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, Michigan, which had been just one among a series of exciting finds for experts.

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“The knife was discovered in the rubble filling the root cellar, which has been the location of several of the more unusual artifacts this summer,” Dr. Lynn Evans, a Mackinac State Historic Parks Archaeologist who also found pieces of trade silver, said.

“It has been a great summer,” Evans added.

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ASU grad who loves all things reading and writing.
Becky is an ASU grad who uses her spare time to read, write and play with her dog, Tasha. Her interests include politics, religion, and all things science. Her work has been published with ASU's Normal Noise, Phoenix Sister Cities, and "Dramatica," a university-run publication in Romania.
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