Rifleman Impact

Discussion in 'Revolutionary War' started by Loyalist Dave, Nov 6, 2017.

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  1. Nov 29, 2018 #101

    Straekat

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    The 1792 contract rifle discussed in the article linked above, using the words in the article, a basic hunting rifle. In the early 1790's, before Congress authorized the establishment of a small standing federal army, the number of officers and men of the military establishment was less than one-thousand men, while the 1792 contract was for more rifles than there were men in the federal establishment.

    Think about this....Early American military units were supplied with basic rations when/if conditions permitted, but were also expected to supplement their diet with whatever could be obtained through hunting, fishing, trading with locals, etc. I suspect the 1792 contract rifle was an effort to provide small units with a hunting rifle more attuned to putting food in the communal pot than as a combat weapon, although that does not mean dual use. Yes, muskets can be used to hunt, but they are less accurate at distances and use more powder and lead than rifles.

    Something we tend to overlook is how much smoke blow powder produces on a battlefield, particularly when there are thousands of troops involved (unlike small reenactments of 18th century events), and the compounded effect of artillery. Visibility on an 18th century battlefield was likely terrible/non-existent, and the ability of a skilled rifleman to see any further than a musket carrying line soldier was the same.
     
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  2. Nov 29, 2018 #102

    Artificer

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    Absolutely correct. As late as the UnCivil War when Rifle Muskets were capable of being loaded and fired as fast as smoothbores and they had bayonets as well, Smoothbores were used very effectively against Rifle Musket armed troops for the reason the black powder smoke so reduced visibility.

    The problem with AWI period Riflemen not being used as effectively as they could have been, was most Commanders did not come up with new tactics to use them. Morgan came up with augmenting his Riflemen with Musket armed troops to protect them from bayonet charges AND he put some of his Riflemen up in trees so they could continue to see and shoot more accurately/at longer range, over top of the clouds of black powder smoke. When trees were not available at Cowpens, Morgan used his Riflemen to "soften up" British Infantry at long range until the British got too close. Then he had the Riflemen fall back on the flanks where they could be most effective.

    Gus
     
  3. Nov 29, 2018 #103

    Nicholas A. Genda

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    Agree Gus the Americans were shooting from favorable positions. The British having to fire upward meant getting closer too which them better targets for the Americans.

    General Howe wouldn’t attack an entrenched position for the remainder of the war due to the high cssualty rate Incurred.
     
  4. Nov 29, 2018 #104

    tenngun

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    That Breeds/ Bunker hill was ended when the rebs ran out of ammo is pretty well established. The Brits expected the sight of well disciplined troops marching toward them would scare them off. It didn’t’and the Brits didn’t know what to do except reform and rehit.
    The question that I was asking was at any battle where rifle companies were deployed on the American side was their impact militarily greater then an equal number of experienced frontiersman fusiliers.
    I used French Canadian frontiersman as an example, but we could equally look to the first long hunters of upstate New York New Hampshire or Vermont before rifles got there. Or to the opposite the men of the Carolina back country before rifle making spread there. These men had all the knowledge and lived depending on their guns just as much AWR rifle men.
    No battles were won because of one three hundred yard shot. The rifelmans ability to move quickly and depend on the natural cover to harris artillery and cover flanks or disrupt advancing lines was where their battle field worth was. And my question was could that job be done from a military point of view as well with smoothbore armed frontiersman.
     
  5. Nov 30, 2018 #105

    Elnathan

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    Well, that is certainly an interesting theory, but as it so happens it is rather easy to disprove - the rifles were almost immediately issued to the riflemen of the Legion of the United States, who made up about 29 % percent of the force, and used to whomp recalcitrant Natives during the Fallen Timbers campaign. So there is no need to guess at anything - we know exactly who used them and how.
    (https://archive.org/stream/historicalregist02heitrich#page/562/mode/2up)

    The Army contract, BTW, was organized by Jacob Dickert and did a lot to turn the Lancaster riflemaking community from a network of small shops into a true arms industry. Unfortunately, it was also a bit too ambitious and the resulting rifles weren't of very good quality, particularly their locks. That seems to have been the major impetus behind the decision to start manufacturing rifles at government armories leading to the 1803 rifle (and notice that the changes of design were intended to correct the perceived deficiencies of the m1792 rifles as weapons, not hunting rifles).

    The 1792 rifles were identical to civilian hunting rifles because those civilian hunting rifles had worked quite well during the American Revolution and were being used to great effect by both sides in the then-ongoing conflicts along the frontier. It was a tried and proven design, so the logical choice at the time. Even when the 1803 was introduced the Army didn't think it necessary to correct the biggest supposed deficiency of the Kentucky rifle, the lack of a bayonet, and Virginia was still manufacturing AND contracting for plain variants of civilian longrifles with which to arms its own forces up into the 19th century (yeah, the US Army is only part of the story...)
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  6. Nov 30, 2018 #106

    Artificer

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    The tactics you describe above are mostly Light Infantry Tactics and that was done by Smoothbore Armed Troops on both sides. Morgan had Light Infantry with him at Saratoga to protect his Riflemen from the British Light Infantry.

    Smoothbore armed troops were not able to harass the Artillery on the battlefield unless they managed to defeat British Light Infantry on the Flanks or take the guns through assault and that was costly. Artillery had much longer range than smoothbores. Rifles were much better for picking off the Artillery Gunners at longer ranges than any smoothbore was capable, though the Artillery range was even longer than that of rifles.

    One thing you left out for the Riflemen was the ability to take out Individual Targets, like the Officers, at long range or at least much more likely to have done it at normal range. Even the best Smoothbore Armed Troops could not do that as well as Riflemen.

    Daniel Morgan being a Rifleman himself, proved to be the only American Commander who understood the strengths and weaknesses of the Rifle and how best to deploy it. Morgan also taught the Americans how best to beat the British in “normal” land battles as well, though with his forced medical retirement, Morgan only really got to do the latter at Cowpens.

    BTW, one or two Riflemen in the War of 1812 forced a change in the outcome of not only a battle, but a campaign when they took out British General Ross at the Battle of North Point.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_North_Point


    Gus
     
  7. Nov 30, 2018 #107

    Straekat

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    Older sources aren't always the best. There is more recent scholarship on the Fallen Timbers Campaign that indicates "29%" isn't quite right.

    Start with John Winkler's "Fallen Timbers, 1794; the American Army's First Victory" (2013), Osprey Campaign, 256.

    Winkler provides a breakdown of the forces on both sides, noting there were 1800 Federal troops (various arms) and 1500 mounted Kentucky volunteers. On page 24, he specifically notes the composition of the regular infantry. According to Winkler there were 360 riflemen (360 out of 1800 regulars is less than "29%!) .

    It should be noted that by 1793, approx 1000 1792 contract rifles had been delivered, and by 1794, the total was closer to 3500. Wayne could have armed far more than 360 men with rifles, but did not.

    Wayne also used light infantry companies armed with modified muskets that allowed quicker priming and firing, but required finer powder than regular muskets. He also required the modified muskets be loaded with small shot instead of regular musket balls, and used as shotguns. There were more "light infantry" men than riflemen among the Federal forces. That's something to think about.

    If you look at how Wayne organized his army during the campaign, it's clear that rifles played a part, but not as large as you've suggested. Instead, it's clear that he used artillery, mounted troops, line infantry, special purpose light infantry with modified muskets, and riflemen who were given bayonets that could be mounted on sticks not unlike a spear.

    The Northwest campaign did not end with Fallen Timbers in 1794, and it was another year before a treaty was signed. Frontier wars were brutal, and the use of arms on one or more battlefields was a component of how they were won. An important part of these wars was the destruction of Amerindian villages and stored food supplies, or in other words, scorched earth tactics aimed at eliminating the logistical support a foe needs to fight may win wars more often than the weapons used on the battlefield.

    I don't know how you mean the term "recalcitrant Natives" to be taken. The United States in it's history has frequently violated treaties made with Amerindians. The Indians living north of the Ohio River believed the 1768 treaty of Fort Stanwix limited "white" settlement to south of the river....only. Americans thought otherwise and claimed the 1783 Treaty of Paris meant the British were legally entitled to cede that land to the US. There is a good case to be made the "recalcitrants" were entitled to defend their homes and land against an aggressive foreign power.
     
  8. Nov 30, 2018 #108

    Artificer

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    The quality of those locks was always something I have often wondered about, considering how they made so many rifles so quickly and we had nothing like the number of “dedicated” lock manufacturers in England.

    Prior to the AWI, American Gunsmith Apprentices had to make the Lock, Barrel and all other parts of one gun to become a Journeyman Gunsmith. However, due to how inexpensive quality locks were readily available from England and the Continent, that one Lock might have been the last one the Gunsmith made in his career. Of course with the advent of the AWI, Americans tried to make quantities of locks and other parts, but they didn’t have too many places to manufacture large numbers of Locks and one place like the Rappahannock Forge Armory could not afford to stay in business after the AWI. Virginia was the only “new” State to have built their own State Armory, but that was because the Federal/National Armories at Springfield and Harpers Ferry could not keep up with the demand for Arms for the Militia.

    Blacksmiths could and were taught to make gun barrels much more easily than Locks. With the Iron found and smelted here in the Colonies, there were even some Private “Boring Mills” set up in some Colonies to make gun barrels before the AWI, but no Lock Manufacturing “Factories” to speak of until the AWI.

    Do you have a period source for the documentation on the poor quality Locks of the early Contract Rifles? I don’t doubt it was true, rather it confirms something I had suspected.

    Gus
     
  9. Nov 30, 2018 #109

    Nicholas A. Genda

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    The only battle I can think of where a rifle snipper made a difference and a rifle company made a difference was Saratoga. There were many much smaller skrimashes out
    The 1790’s contract rifles were all quite different, agree they’re very similarly to .50 caliber hunting rifles. They were stocked to the muzzle and incorpoated locks with flys for faster action.

    The American rifle contractors took a big step back with the 1803 patterns, I always thought the 1803 was a poor design. No convention for a sling and the under rib really weighed down the gun making it unbalanced. I used to own a Zoli 1803, probably the worst gun I’ve ever owned. The lock was terrible and the barrel and under rib weighed at least 7 -8 lbs.

    The American rifle makers got it right with the 1814 and 1817 common rifles. I’m gathering parts from TRS to build one.
     
  10. Nov 30, 2018 #110

    Elnathan

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    Offhand I can't seem to find it, though I know I've read it in multiple sources. It seems like the complaint shows up in every discussion about the development of the 1803 or the arguments about which rifle Lewis and Clark took west. I'm kind of surprised that it isn't in the article I posted above, as a matter of fact. I'll get back to you on that one.
     
  11. Nov 30, 2018 #111

    Elnathan

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    It is certainly possible that there is more recent scholarship revising the figures I posted above, as I merely grabbed the first source I could find to demonstrate that there were, indeed, riflemen present on the campaign. Since you seemed reluctant earlier to believe that the US Army was fielding riflemen at all and were spinning theories about hunting rifles, it seemed like a point worth making.

    Two observations though:

    1) The figures provided above are for the entirety of the military establishment as authorized by Congress, not for the troops actually taken on campaign, so your figures and mine aren't necessarily contradictory.

    2) Osprey books are not noted for careful scholarship, and really ought to be checked against other sources whenever possible. Generally people buy them for the pictures or as a quick introduction to an area - since Osprey has a lot of titles dealing with very obscure period and locals they can be valuable despite their unreliability.

    BTW, according to Don Stith 400 1792 rifles were issued during the Whiskey rebellion as well. Might be worth looking into. (http://donstith.com/history.html)

    Could have armed 'em all with muskets, too. Should have, if they were just hunting rifles, or if Wayne (a notorious rifle-hater) thought that rifles weren't going to be useful....

    Not sure what your point is. You seem to have now pretty much conceded that I was right, and are now arguing about the exact percentage of a troop type that you initially claimed didn't exist. :confused:

    Humorously, as indicated the inclusion of the term "whomp."

    Yep. The Indians routinely ignored any agreement that they, personally, had not agreed on, too. For some reason this is not considered "breaking treaties," though. Odd, that.

    Oh, I don't think that there is any doubt that the British were supposed to have moved out of the area. They justified their violation of that provision of the treaty on the grounds that we hadn't compensated Loyalists for their lost property the way we had agreed to do, IIRC.

    As for the Shawnee, I tend to think that they had the moral right to the land, but the constantly shifting goalposts, alliances, authority, and overlapping land claims among Indian nations themselves tended to complicate things a lot. Hard to make a treaty and keep it with a culture that doesn't have any authority allowed to make treaties for the entire group....
     
  12. Dec 1, 2018 #112

    Artificer

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    OK, that answers to me why I have never run across it, because though I've done some study on the M1803 rifle in years past, I never got very involved with the study of the 1792-4 Contract Rifles.

    Thank you.

    Gus
     
  13. Dec 1, 2018 #113

    Straekat

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    [QUOTE="
    BTW, according to Don Stith 400 1792 rifles were issued during the Whiskey rebellion as well. Might be worth looking into. (http://donstith.com/history.html)

    Stith's website doesn't really say where he got that information from and it raises all sorts of questions related to the Whiskey Rebellion. In the summer and fall of1794, Federal troops were tied up with the Northwest campaign. The Whiskey Rebellion in southwestern Pa at the time was kicking into high gear, and Washington had to rely on the two Congressional Militia Acts of 1792 that established mandatory state militias and allowed him to call up state militia units from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Washington initially led troops into the field, however he turned command over to Henry "Lighthorse" Lee in October 1794. Morgan's command was not over "rifleman" but the Virginia militia infantry units, while artillery and mounted units were commanded by others.

    As an aside, southwestern Pennsylvania was where the 8th Pennsylvania was recruited during the Revolution, and many of the soldiers of the 8th were chosen by Morgan to serve with him on the Saratoga campaign. Stith, perhaps taking his information about "400 rifles" intended for regular army use and issued to state militiamen, may have relied on Tait ("The U.S. Contract Rifle Pattern of 1792," MAN AT ARMS Magazine, Vol. 21, No. 3, May/June 1999, pp. 33-45). Until I can reaed Tait's article and determine I'm uncertain how accurate the statement of 400 "rifles" being issued to Virginia militia is.

    "Could have armed 'em all with muskets, too. Should have, if they were just hunting rifles, or if Wayne (a notorious rifle-hater) thought that rifles weren't going to be useful....

    Not sure what your point is. You seem to have now pretty much conceded that I was right, and are now arguing about the exact percentage of a troop type that you initially claimed didn't exist. :confused:" "

    Instead of replying item by item, I tried to keep my reply short. In a target rich environment, it pays to be selective. ;-)

    My initial statement was about the size of the regular army in 1792 when the contract was awarded, and the number of rifles contracted and the amount delivered by 1794. There were enough rifles in army stores by the summer of 1794, that Waynes use of circa 300 rifleman begs the question of why the army wanted so many rifles, and Congress was able to see fit to justly the expense when it was still trying to pay off the war loans and other debts incurred during the revolution. To get a sense of how reluctant Congress was to establish a permanent standing army in 1789, and then finally authorize establishing how large the force should be and to pay for it circa 1792/94, read Hogeland's "Autumn of the Black Snake."

    The disconnect between the number of men in the military establishment at the time, the number of rifles contracted and delivered in 1792, followed by the much larger numbers of muskets produced under the 1795 musket contracts suggests there is more going on than meets the eye. Money spent on federal contracts was not meant for regular army muskets and rifles to be doled out to the various state troops, because there are numerous state contracts for similar arms,

    You seem bent on insisting the rifles were "weapons" while overlooking the matter that a rifle (and musket) can be dual purpose, and also used for hunting. Troops in the field were often expected to supplement whatever rations they had, or if they needed food, to forage and/or requisition what they needed.

    The Lewis and Clark expedition, was organized as a military expedition ( https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/lewis-clark ). They took rifles along, and they were meant primarily to hunt game and secondarily and only then if necessary for defense weapons. The idea that troops in the field would use shoulder arms in a dual purpose capacity is the point I tried to make, and which you seem focused on the "weapons" intent to the exclusion of other purposes.
     
  14. Dec 1, 2018 #114

    Elnathan

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    I think that the expected attrition levels of issued arms, plus the need to have reserves on hand should the Army need to be rapidly expanded in the event of a major war, is adequate explanation for numbers ordered.

    If anything, I would think that the fact that they ordered large numbers of rifles would tend to support my position that they intended as weapons, not as foraging tools. Why do you think that that the large numbers support your contention that they weren't primarily intended as weapons?

    It might be helpful and go back to look at how this line of discussion initially started. You wrote:

    There is a saying the last war tends to influence preparation and planning for the next war. That said, after active campaigning in the field against the British stopped, the wars fought by American troops engaged in the various wars...These actions involved troops that relied almost entirely on smooth bore muskets, not rifles....Also, when US arsenals did begin eventual production of a rifle, it was years later. The "1803 Harper's Ferry" rifle was not very successful, and only after the War of 1812, did the US military decide on production of the 1817 Common rifle as something other than an after thought.

    Instead of how WE see things close to 250 years after the fact, trying to understand how the people at the time did and thought can be seen through -their actions- then, and in the aftermath of the war. The way the American national and militia forces were equipped, trained and employed between 1781 and the next go around with British armed forces in the field in 1812/1815 should provide some grist for the proverbial mill.

    Your argument, as I understand it, is that we can judge the effectiveness of rifles used in the American Revolution by by whether or not the Army wanted them. Then you then claim that the rifle was barely used during the Early Republic; ergo, we can conclude that the rifle wasn't an effective weapon in the American Revolution.

    Since the Army did in fact want rifles, made a considerable effort to acquire them, and then armed a fifth of the their total force (by your own sources, mind: 360/1800 = 1/5) with rifles on their first major campaign, that sort of flips your argument on its head, no? We can then conclude that the Army, with its recent experience, concluded the rifles made up a very useful auxiliary weapon to back up its muskets, particularly against Indians. Ergo, they must have found them a significantly useful tool in the Revolution itself. Happily, this jibes with all the other available evidence.

    As for the argument that the Army wanted rifles because they could be used as hunting weapons, it seems entirely based on the observation that the contract rifles resembled hunting rifles. As I've already observed, there were pretty logical reasons for them to use that pattern of rifle, and I'll now add that it wouldn't be the last time that the military bought civilian weapons to fill a specialized need for which there was no readily available military design. The fact that they could also be used for hunting does not indicate that the Army intended them for that role, or even considered it, and the fact that they were ordered and deployed in numbers is pretty strong evidence to the contrary. Yes, I am aware that the Army made some effort in later years to get some guns suitable for hunting into the hands of its frontier garrison troops, but it is fairly clear that that wasn't the intended purpose with the 1792 contract rifles. The fact that they could be to fill a mess kettle is a red herring, which is why I'm not paying much attention to it.

    I was just observing that the fact that Virginia was producing and buying copies of those same civilian hunting rifles with which to arm their own forces into the 19th century is another instance of post-Revolutionary planners who appear to have thought that the longrifle was a viable weapon worth having in their armories. As you observed, lessons of the last war...
     
  15. Dec 1, 2018 #115

    Straekat

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    The idea there were thousands of rifles ordered and received and issued to limited numbers of troops was due to expectations of high attrition rates doesn't pass the sniff test. Considering that firearms during that era were produced by hand and damaged firearms were repaired and parts were reused and recycled to make firearms that would work, or to make new ones from those parts.

    You consistently seem to be limiting your thinking to rifles being used as weapons only, without any acceptance of there being a dual-use capability for hunting and as a combat weapon. During wartime, how much time do you think soldiers spend in combat compared to their daily experiences otherwise? At the risk of repeating myself, soldiers on the early American frontier might receive very rudimentary rations and were expected to supplement them by gardening, hunting, fishing, through dealing with locals, etc.

    I agree the army may have intended the rifle to be used as a weapon, but not that it was intended for single purposes only. In fact, everything indicates it was a dual purpose item, with the secondary purpose (hunting for food) most likely being used far more often than the so-called primary one.

    Although a soldier on the frontier carried a firearm and if ordered into combat was expected to use it as a weapon, the amount of time spent in combat was small compared to soldier's daily life and the expectation that if he needed meat he was expected to hunt, fish, etc.

    At the risk of simplifying things too much, everything the army does is not intended for combat purposes only, or even to support a war. If it were then toilet paper would not be supplied by the military and soldiers would be expected to buy their own or find a suitable alternative or field-expedient. Want me to keep going? If you can't grasp the idea that a firearm might be used more often to hunt on an almost daily/weekly basis than as an infrequent combat weapon, there is no point in my continuing trying to change your opinion.
     
  16. Dec 1, 2018 #116

    Straekat

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    At this point, instead of two people going around in circles, what about OTHER people providing their take on post war use of rifles/muskets/etc,
     
  17. Dec 1, 2018 #117

    Elnathan

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    I'm dismissing the idea that the US Army (and Virginia) would deliberately arm their troops with inferior weapons in great numbers while on active campaign for fear that they might use an extra 250 grains of lead while shooting their supper and alerting the enemy, yes. I'm also dismissing the idea that the fact that the Army wanted rifles in excess of their immediate needs somehow indicates that they saw them as an inferior battle weapon but wanted to have on hand because they made garrison duty a little less tedious.

    I'm dismissing the first because the only way this line of reasoning makes sense is if we first assume that the rifle was an inferior battlefield weapon to the musket and that we need to find some reason, other than battlefield effectiveness, why this inferior weapon was issued as a primary arm. Since the battlefield effectiveness of the rifles is the primary point under contention, this is an example of the logical fallacy of Begging the Question. I'm not going to accept this conclusion to so that it can be proven - particularly when it flies in the face of all the other evidence available - and I have no need to explain the evidence in any other way but the obvious one: The Army bought and issued rifles in the numbers and proportion they did because they believed rifles were useful for its primary mission of Killing the Enemy. From that we can observe that they were in a position to know, and their attitude can be taken strong evidence that rifles were useful in certain numbers and proportions for Killing the Enemy.

    I'm dismissing the second because it makes no sense whatsoever to me. I wish you could explain your reasoning to me there.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  18. Dec 1, 2018 #118

    Artificer

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    Let me begin with the Caveat that I have studied and reenacted different time periods of history normally in a Military Role/Persona, though sometimes as Militia or as a civilian. I spent four years reenacting around and volunteering with Historic Fort Wayne, in Fort Wayne, Indiana in the late 1970’s where we primarily reenacted the Summer of 1816, though also some War of 1812 events. They had an almost unbelievable amount of original plans for the Fort, account books for both the Fort and the Indian Agent, as well as numerous diaries of both the Soldiers and some of the Wives. So it was uncommonly easy to portray many people who were stationed at or worked in or near the Fort. Further, because the campaign by General Anthony Wayne allowed the Fort to be built there, we studied some on it as well and there was some mention of it in the original documentation we had.

    The Legend/Myth/Hyperbole on how important the Rifle was in the AWI, began even before the War when some Americans advertised in London newspapers what would happen to British Soldiers when they faced American Rifles. The Legend grew even greater as Rifle Companies did “Dog and Pony Shows” on their way to Boston and they got such huge amount of press coverage for the time. However, the Riflemen often did not live up to the “hype/advertisements” and some of that was because they were so rowdy/undisciplined, but also because most American Commanders did not know how to properly use them.

    There were Frontier Battles where the Rifle really shined, though those battles were often with rather small forces opposing each other – compared to the larger Armies operating East of the Mountains. George Rogers Clark effectively used Rifles to stop the British Artillery at Vincennes, BUT that was because the British Commander did not level/burn the civilian buildings close to the fort. The American Riflemen were firing under cover of those buildings from ranges as close as 75 yards and thus were able to “silence” the British Cannon by shooting the Artillery Crews every time they dared to open the Gun Ports in the Fort. The only fairly major battle where Riflemen used “Frontier Tactics” effectively was at King’s Mountain, where the terrain was so advantageous to that kind of warfare.

    Truth be told the Rifle did not live up to the Pre/Early/Post War Hyperbole when facing large numbers of British Troops and ESPECIALLY since most American Commanders did not come up with new tactics for American Riflemen. Now, this is not to say the Rifle did not offer advantages when used correctly in a supporting role in the War and the few times American Commanders used them properly. However, many American Commanders wanted to and some did Re-Arm Rifle Equipped Companies with Muskets. So with the notable exception of King’s Mountain, the importance of the Rifle was in a supporting/secondary role in combat.

    Most of the study I have done on the 1792/4 Contract Rifles has been about procurement and logistics. Though I agree they were used in a secondary role at times for foraging and possibly or even probably more often actually used in that role, the primary purpose of the Government ordering and buying such large quantities was to have on hand enough rifles for their use as a Combat Weapon in a Supporting Role as Rifle Companies for the Small Regular Army, but also for use by State Militia’s in the same role. Part of the evidence for that was in the uniform caliber of Rifles they ordered, even though they changed that as the contracts went on. By specifying the Rifles made up with as uniform caliber as possible, they wanted to be able to have a standard bore size to better able to supply them with molds, balls, patching, etc., etc.. for combat. Had they wanted Rifles primarily for foraging, there would have been no reason to pay extra money for a uniform bore size. Actually, they could have purchased Rifles or accepted civilian arms when needed, if the main purpose was for foraging. This actually happened as late as the UnCivil War when civilian double barrel shotguns were purchased for foraging by Federal Army Units throughout the War.

    While General/President George Washington can rightly be considered the Father of the Nation, most people may not know that General Anthony Wayne is the Father of the Modern U.S. Army. The brilliance of Wayne was not only that he understood how important it was to turn Raw Militia/Recruits into Soldiers BEFORE he led them into combat, he even resisted going into combat until he got his men properly “Basic Trained” as Soldiers, this even in spite of what some folks in the Government and the Press wanted him to do. Wayne established his “Basic Training Camp” at Legionville or what is now a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. “Throughout the winter of 1792-93, existing troops along with new recruits were drilled in military skills, tactics and discipline. The following spring the newly named Legion of the United States left Legionville for the Northwest Indian War, a struggle between American Indian tribes affiliated with the Western Confederacy in the area north of the Ohio River.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legionville

    While Wayne did want Riflemen as another “Supporting Arm” and used them in that role, he trained most of his force as Musket Armed Soldiers and that was why he won the campaign, even against well trained/experienced NA Braves and some of who also used the Rifle.


    Gus
     
    yulzari and SamTex1949 like this.
  19. Dec 5, 2018 #119

    Nicholas A. Genda

    Nicholas A. Genda

    Nicholas A. Genda

    40 Cal

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    From my research on the 1803; there were 3-4 patterns made through 1819 most were the same with the later model having a longer barrel. At .54 with a solid under rib and steel rammer; these guns were heavy for a short rifle. The two biggest issues; weight and no sling. Third ; no provision for a bayonet so what was a riflemen to do with no sling to get a belt knife or short sword? Four; they were expensive to produce as a half stocked rifle.

    I’ve seen 3-4 originals most are in decent shape so the gun pasts the test of time as a very durable rifle. Later on some were converted and uprgraded to take a sling most during the Mexican war and civil war.

    In the war of 1812 these rifles were used at the battles of York and Sandy Creek with a devastating effect.

    The later 1814 and 1817 were cheaper to make and provided for slings and bayonets. The locks were more reliable and the weight of the rifle was reduced. The 1817 was a very well made fine rifle that came 5 years too late for the war of 1812; most saw service the the Indian wars.
     

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