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Login Name Post: Rogers Rangers Guns        (Topic#192814)
Gene L 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1486
08-26-17 09:47 PM - Post#1641577    

    In response to graybeard

I read somewhere that the sergeants used the halberds to "dress up" the ranks, held in the horizontal position against the soldiers' backs. Kinda pushed them forward if needed.

 
Loyalist Dave 
Cannon
Posts: 6847
Loyalist Dave
08-28-17 07:47 AM - Post#1641724    

    In response to Gene L

Again, that may be so for the Continentals, but not for the British nor the Germanic troops. Professional soldiers when not on campaign need to be kept busy, so drilling and drilling going from column into line, very quickly, and as straight as possible to lessen the time needed to "dress" the ranks was one of the hallmarks of a properly regulated regiment. Not to mention advancing that line with bayonets. When not drilling, one polishes the musket.

"Idle hands are the devil's tools."

LD



 
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7682
08-28-17 02:03 PM - Post#1641749    

    In response to Gene L

  • Gene L Said:
I read somewhere that the sergeants used the halberds to "dress up" the ranks, held in the horizontal position against the soldiers' backs. Kinda pushed them forward if needed.



By the FIW and even in the British Army, these spear pointed pole arms were called "Espontoons" and usually no longer had even a small or stylistic/ceremonial axe blade incorporated in them that would have made them a true Halbeard.

Plainer ones were carried by some Sergeants and some fancier ones were carried by very Junior Officers when they were on the right side of a front rank. Junior Officers would have been what they called "Sub Alterns" or third or fourth Lieutenants. The idea was the soldiers looked to the right to dress ranks, even a soldier down on the end of the line could see the Espontoon to better align himself, besides using the soldiers to his right to "guide on" to ensure the ranks were straight as possible.

When Sergeants used them, they would sometimes even in the early stages of a battle, get out in front of the soldiers and hold the Espontoon parallel to the ground about chest high, so as to help align the Soldiers by giving them something to guide their dress on.

However, Espontoons were much more useful for Continental style warfare than here in the colonies. So during the FIW here where such fighting was not often done; Officers would be given the choice of using their privately purchased "Officers Fusil" and British Sergeants were issued Carbines instead of the Espontoons.

Gus

 
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7682
08-28-17 02:27 PM - Post#1641751    

    In response to Artificer

BTW, in the early 80's, I walked into a shop that normally dealt in Civil War militaria and saw an 18th century Espontoon on the wall. The owner of the shop knew Civil War stuff very well, but not much about War of 1812 stuff and earlier. Someone in the past had long ago cut the end of the wood off so the overall length was down to a bit under 6 feet and I believed that was to easier hang it above the fireplace.

So I asked to see the "spear" and when I looked at the price tag, I initially thought it read $175.00 and that would have been a VERY good price for it. THEN I noted the metal boss or support right behind the blade had a small piece missing, but it was real SILVER (though discolored with age and neglect) and not Iron/Steel or Brass. OMG this was an OFFICER'S Espontoon!! So I looked at the price tag again and realized I had misread the $ dollar sign that had two upright lines in it and the price was actually $ 75.00. Had to take a moment so my voice would not fail when I asked if he could come down any on it. He said he could not, so I then had to control myself not to rip my back pocket off while getting my wallet out to buy it.

I had another good friend who actually collected such items and he almost had a heart attack when he saw it. He was pretty sure it was American, though it might have been British. Because he was a good friend, I offered it to him for what I had paid for it, but he said that would be cheating me. So it was part of a trade for an 18th century cutlass that he had and I wanted and we both walked away VERY pleased with the deal.

Gus

 
dakota tim 
32 Cal.
Posts: 47
dakota tim
09-10-17 07:34 PM - Post#1643476    

    In response to Loyalist Dave

  • Loyalist Dave Said:
IT WAS IN THE 18TH CENTURY....,

HA!

But Gus you do win the prize for spotting my intentional spelling of the word with a J...

LD



And the 19th and 20th century! I think "Serjeant" was used until about 1930. I believe it's still used in Parliament today.


 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7902
tenngun
09-16-17 09:57 AM - Post#1644378    

    In response to dakota tim

An I always wondered who told Webster he knew how spell?

 
Wes/Tex 
Cannon
Posts: 7787
Wes/Tex
09-17-17 07:09 PM - Post#1644566    

    In response to dakota tim

Still in use in some British regiments, particularly the Rifles.

 
Wes/Tex 
Cannon
Posts: 7787
Wes/Tex
12-03-17 04:59 PM - Post#1654946    

    In response to Wes/Tex

Yeah...short barrels, that's the ticket!

http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/wp-content/upload...

 
spudnut 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1321
spudnut
12-31-17 02:28 PM - Post#1660263    

    In response to Wes/Tex

Ive got one of those 52 inch barreed fowlers from middlesex village traders. Thought about cutting it down but just dont have the heart to do it.

 
smoothshooter 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1100
03-23-18 09:07 PM - Post#1675932    

    In response to Tommy Bruce

Actually, both statements could be true.

Maybe initially, the men furnished their own arms, but because of rough use, and incidents like the water crossing mentioned above, cash money may have been available at times to allow men to upgrade to better guns, or buy replacements for those lost in the course of duty.

Also, the word " arms " is a pretty broad one, and could include knives, pistols, dirks, tomahawks, hatchets, etc.

Edited by smoothshooter on 03-23-18 09:07 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Loyalist Dave 
Cannon
Posts: 6847
Loyalist Dave
03-26-18 09:19 AM - Post#1676417    

    In response to smoothshooter

Well the debate hasn't been if it were possible from time to time for some or many of the rangers (especially those not of Rogers' Rangers) to have had personal weapons..., the provincial militia units did have their privately owned weapons....so Rangers formed from those units for a short time such as a single campaign, in many cases would not have swapped out for Government muskets. The debate is whether or not Roger's Rangers had shortened King's Muskets (LLP) as some of the musket makers have claimed, and how short they were, if they did.

The only records of King's LLP muskets being shortened, outside of highland regiments, was for the 80th Regiment of Light Armed Foote (Gage's Light Infantry) , where a firm in New York shortened what were probably 1730's vintage, wood rammer LLP's down to 42" barrels, and lightened stocks (and perhaps upgraded them to metal rammers, but that's a guess). British cavalry carbines (.66 caliber 42" barrels) were modified to accept bayonets for some units while others got them without bayonet capability, and captured French muskets (probably mostly 1728 French Marine type) were also issued out to Rangers after Louisburg fell in 1758. (15,000 were captured). (Not to mention the arms contracted by Rogers himself.)
[Source: Small Arms of the Briths Forces in America 1664-1815... By Dt. DeWitt Bailey Ph.D.]

So only the real certainty is that a 30" carbine in .75 caliber with a metal rammer, plus bayonet, and a short land pattern lock, was not issued to Rangers or light infantry in the F&I War..., "copies" sold by Pedersoli or by Miroku..., since it didn't exist then, if ever.

LD


 
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7682
03-28-18 09:42 AM - Post#1676830    

    In response to Loyalist Dave

  • Loyalist Dave Said:

The only records of King's LLP muskets being shortened, outside of highland regiments, was for the 80th Regiment of Light Armed Foote (Gage's Light Infantry) , where a firm in New York shortened what were probably 1730's vintage, wood rammer LLP's down to 42" barrels, and lightened stocks (and perhaps upgraded them to metal rammers, but that's a guess). British cavalry carbines (.66 caliber 42" barrels) were modified to accept bayonets for some units while others got them without bayonet capability, and captured French muskets (probably mostly 1728 French Marine type) were also issued out to Rangers after Louisburg fell in 1758. (15,000 were captured). (Not to mention the arms contracted by Rogers himself.)
[Source: Small Arms of the British Forces in America 1664-1815... By Dt. DeWitt Bailey Ph.D.]


Hello Serjeant Major,

Your paragraph above got me to thinking about the fact that the carbines issued to the British Light Infantry (LI from here on out) in the early/mid part of the FIW were received with only mixed satisfaction. Some troops liked them and some thought them so fragile/not robust enough that they turned the carbines back in and went back to using P1742 LLP muskets. After Fort Louisbourg was taken in 1758, Bailey notes the LI switched to using the captured French Muskets because they found them light and handy, but also robust enough for that service. (Of course those French Muskets were also issued to the Rangers and other British Americans, including the Militia’s, who needed a good musket with a bayonet.) That got me to thinking more about the Arms issued to the LI before the capture of Fort Louisbourg.

You are correct that P1730 Muskets were shortened to 42” and their stocks “Lightened” by the New York Firm you mentioned. Those were .76 caliber Muskets with a single bridle lock, but also with the trigger guard that British Ordnance considered too fragile and replaced with a more robust one on the P1742 Musket and used for the rest of the 18th century. Even if these Muskets had been made as late as 1740, the last year of production of the P1730 Muskets, they were already beyond their normal “Service Life” by the beginning of the FIW. So it was quite possible these were the “Carbines” the LI found objectionable for being too fragile. But what about the other Carbines intended for the Cavalry?

I had pretty much ruled out the P1756 Cavalry Carbine with the then New Flatter Bottom Lock Plate, because it was so new and Bailey mentions many times that British Ordnance saved the newest Arms for use on the Continent in the FIW, with only a few notable exceptions. Then I read the caption under a photo of this Pattern that reads “Some of these carbines may have seen service during the War for American Independence, but would not have been in America earlier." So we can rule out that Pattern Cavalry Carbine and what does that leave?

The Carbine that came before the P1756 was the P1744 Carbine for Horse (Cavalry). Bailey writes it was a .66 Caliber with a 37 inch, “heavy -walled” and slightly swamped barrel. It had a double bridle lock and though the trigger guard was scaled down a bit from Musket size, it was scaled down from the more robust P1742 trigger guard. However, Bailey notes the P1756 Carbine had a more “robust stock” than the P1744, so the P1744 stock may also have been considered by the LI to be “too fragile.” Bailey notes the P1744 was issued to the Artillery, Light Infantry and some Highlanders for use in America during the FIW. “Some Highlanders” meant the 42nd RHR, The Black Watch; as they came here before the P1756 Carbine was produced. However, the other two Highland Regiments were armed with the P1756 Carbine and the 42nd may have or probably was rearmed with that Carbine or the P1760 later in the FIW.

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be documentation on which of the Shortened and Lightened P1730 Muskets or P1744 Carbines that the LI found to be too fragile/not robust enough for service. It may have been the LI found them both too fragile, but we don’t know for sure. All we know is the LI seemed pleased to replace their Arms with the French Muskets after the capture of Fort Louisbourg, but this brings another dimension to this discussion.

The Model 1728 French Muskets, including the “upgrades” of 1741 and 1746 all had 46 ¾ inch long barrels, that were as long or longer than British LLP Muskets. Still they were considered “Lighter,” more robust and more handy than the Arms issued previously to the British LI. So the longer barrel length didn’t mean that much to them compared to the other features the British LI liked.

The final British Light Infantry Carbine used in the FIW was the P1760, but of course did not make it over here until most of the fighting was over except for Pontiac’s Rebellion. It was of “Carbine Bore” or .66 caliber, but with a 42 inch barrel. Considering how this Carbine was made with input from the British Light Infantry, it is noteworthy they still thought that barrel length was not too long.

Now what amazes me in all this is the capture of the French Fort Louisbourg in 1758. We tend to forget the British/British American Forces had captured that Island Fort in 1745 during the War of the Austrian Succession and had emptied out all the French Arms there at that time. The British had taken the Fort by landing forces on the Island and attacking the Fort from the land side, where the defenses were weak. The French got the Fort back in the Treaty after the War and once again filled it up with 15,000 Military Arms. However, they did not improve/strengthen the land side defenses of the Fort, even as that was what caused the Fort to be taken in 1745. We don’t know for sure, but there may have been British American veterans who took the Fort in 1745 and either were also on the 1758 expedition or informed others of how they took the Fort. I can imagine one or more veterans of the earlier campaign even telling where the best places were to land their boats for the second time they took the Fort, for crying out loud. IOW, Fort Louisbourg proved a better source for Military Arms in TWO Wars than what the British sent over here. The 15,000 French Arms captured in 1758 were much more than the 10,000 Arms the British had sent over here in the FIW up to that time.

Gus


 
Loyalist Dave 
Cannon
Posts: 6847
Loyalist Dave
03-29-18 06:19 AM - Post#1677014    

    In response to Artificer

Yes, what you quoted from what I wrote was a synopsis of Bailey's chapter on Rangers.

FWIW, I think that perhaps the tube remnants found on Rogers' Island (iirc it was called that) may indeed have been evidence of shortening Ranger guns, but I very much think that they were from the guns contracted from a builder in the colonies and field-proofed by the Royal Artillery, and not King's Muskets. Even so they should have had 38" barrels..., if they were 46" barreled, privately made copies of a King's musket, that were cut down (because there were reports of pieces as long as 8") and this would account for some of the pieces being also 4"..., if some of the contract guns were first shortened to the popular "Highlander" length of 42", and then further shortened. Alas the theoretical short Bess on the market has a very stubby 30.5" barrel.

  • Quote:
However, they did not improve/strengthen the land side defenses of the Fort,



Yeah the French have a tendency to ignore what might come at them from behind, when it comes to fortifications....can you say Maginot Line ?

LD

 
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7682
03-29-18 08:42 AM - Post#1677038    

    In response to Loyalist Dave

Not long ago when looking for something else, I came across a 34 inch barreled Indian repro that was supposed to be a repro of a 42 inch barreled musket/carbine cut down 8 inches for Rogers Rangers. If any of the Rangers ever did that, it was probably only because the muzzle had been fouled and then fired and then had to have the barrel shortened due to the resulting bulge at or near the muzzle.

The shortest British Issued barrel Carbines used here in the FIW were the P1744, P1756 and P1760 Horse/Artillery/Serjeants/"Highlander" Carbines and all of them had 37 inch barrels and were all in .66 cal. "Carbine" Bore size. However, there is no documentation I know of where any of those were issued to Rogers or the other Ranger Units.

FWIW, I consider the small number of cut off barrel pieces excavated, is only evidence of field repairs made to damaged guns or perhaps much longer civilian pieces cut down to around 42 inch length.

Back in the early mid 70's when I purchased a Navy Arms Pedersoli 30.5 inch barreled Brown Bess "Carbine;" I did so because I intended to shoot it in Northwest Trade Gun Matches and it was the closest thing then available to a Serjeant's Carbine for my Serjeant of Colonial Marines Impression. I had Bailey's 1972 published work then and knew FIW and AWI period Serjeants Carbines were .66 cal. and 37 inch barrel length, so I knew my 30.5 inch .75 caliber "Carbine" was not correct even then. But nobody was making a more accurate copy of a Serjeant's Carbine then, so I accepted it as the closest I could come/afford.

Gus

 
Loyalist Dave 
Cannon
Posts: 6847
Loyalist Dave
03-30-18 06:43 AM - Post#1677209    

    In response to Artificer

YES, the default option is often what one needs these days, alas. I just got a Charleville, which I could use for F&I Ranger, as well as British Loyalist in the AWI, but it's NOT the right version for the 1750's. All the French "regulars" use them for both the AWI and the F&I.

I know of one fellow who does or did Spanish AWI soldier..., took a class on sand casting brass and copied his Charleville steel barrel bands in brass, plus a different side plate in brass, then finished them up and followed that by making a modified cock for the lock to look like the Spanish musket...., "closer" but still not the right gun.

LD

 
Artificer 
Cannon
Posts: 7682
03-30-18 12:26 PM - Post#1677257    

    In response to Loyalist Dave

I was interested in getting "back into" 18th century reenacting in the late 1990's and I had pretty much decided to do British. Then I ran across the Major's Coy of the 42nd RHR at the Richmond Highland Games. BINGO!!

Talked with them for only a little while on Saturday as I was with others, but came back on Sunday for more information. I brought the 42nd Regimental and Waistcoat I had purchased in the 1980's "just in case" I could ever get into that reenacting and fortunately it still fit. They were highly surprised as it was a completely correct Regimental and Waistcoat. Then they began talking about a musket and I said, "No problem, already have one. It is a Brown Bess Carbine, but it "could be" one where the barrel was fouled and had to be cut off." Then they tried to tell me about using the musket and making blanks and I stopped them and said, "No problem, I have fired this musket many times with not only blanks, but I competed with it in live shooting matches for a number of years." They then began to explain they did a "military impression" and I stopped them and said, "No problem. I don't know the British Drill Manual, but I'm pretty sure I can learn it fairly fast." I also told them I would make much of my own leather gear. They sure were not prepared for a new recruit like me.

The problem of course was my musket was so short, I had to go in the front rank and due to my height, it would have been better to use me in the rear rank. After I got the rest of my uniforms items made or purchased, I sold the Carbine at the next 18th Century Market Faire in MD and then purchased a full length Musket.

We also allowed both Pedersoli and Miroku SLP Besses when we did FIW events, as nothing else was available - but at least they were not too short for the period.

Gus

 
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