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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > American Revolution

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American Revolution 1763-1789 The birth of a new nation - to commence at the Proclaimation of 1763 to the end of the Articles of Confederation.

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  #46  
Old 23 Apr 11, 13:31
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I'm not familiar with "Slatkin's 'Regeneration Through Violence'" - this an article? Book? You have the full citation. Thanks!
see if this works

http://www.amazon.com/Regeneration-T.../dp/0806132299


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Old 23 Apr 11, 13:43
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  #48  
Old 23 Apr 11, 15:12
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He "gets the credit," but it is untrue. Packenham was killed by a shot from a cannister discharge.

A study of the casualty returns and what medical records exist from the British side show that the lion's share of inflicted wounds at New Orleans were from artillery--predominately cannister & grape shot, not from rifle fire. The cannister used was musket caliber, NOT the smaller rifle caliber shot. Thus one must either conclude, based on the wound statistics, that the Brits were cut to pieces by musket armed militia and American Regulars, which we know to not be true based on ranges and accounts of the battle, or that it was cannister fire.

The propaganda of the "Hunters of Kentucky" was a piece of carefully engineered "spin doctoring" by Andrew Jackson for purely political purposes. It has since seeped into the American psyche as an Idyll of fact and truth. Slatkin's "Regeneration Through Violence" is a fantastic read on the whole rise of that myth, and it also exposes it as being largely untrue. I highly recommend it.

--T--
I strongly disagree. This sounds like alot of sour grapes and revisionist history to me. There were only some 11 cannon, mortars and howitzers of various calibers, mounted in eight batteries, located all along Jackson's 1-k long line. Such small numbers of artillery alone could not hope to inflict the horrendous casualties that were suffered by the British at New Orleans. Nearly every British Officer of any rank on the battlefield was either killed or became a casualty.

A report by an officer in the British Camp, watching the battle from the balcony of a house remarked after the entire Amercan line erupted in flame. He said ".. the entire 44th Regiment was literally swept from the face of the earth."

The reports I read said that Packenham was hit in the knee by cannister fire, but the killing shot was a single musket ball that later lodged in his spine. Packenham himself was earlier shocked at the intensity of the American musket and riflefire when he said to his 2 IC. "That's terrific fire, Lambert!!"

I already commented on the Kentucky sharp shooter, Morgan Ballard who brought down Major John Anthony Whitaker by deliberately shooting him through the head with his rifle. Following the battle, a number of riflemen tried to take credit for Whitaker's death. Ballard settled the matter by saying "If he is not shot both through the ear and temple, then he is not mine."
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  #49  
Old 23 Apr 11, 15:30
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There are technical factors about long rifles that are usually overlooked. The double-trigger system utilzed by most of them which greatly aided in accuracy also had a number of down-sides: They were finicky and fragile, the thin, high-tensil metal for the spring works was brittle and prone to breaking and it was badly affected by changes in temperature. Once sprung or broken, repair had to be effectuated by a trained gunsmith as each was custom made with no "off the shelf" replacement parts available to be swapped out by a unit armourer.

That finickiness was also evident in hand to hand combat. In spite of the iconic image of John Wayne et al. clubbing away at "bad guys" with that long rifle, any real world attempt to emulate such behaviour would render the rifle into a club more or less permenantly until a competent gunsmith could repair the damage.

The lack of a bayonet and the unsuitability of the rifle for hand to hand fighting are born out in accounts of battle, riflemen scampered when charged by redcoat flankers and light infantry.

--T--
Jackson had a number of trained gunsmiths in his army. On their way down the Mississippi River on flatboats. Coffee's Tennesseeans met up with a shipment of over a thousand US Army muskets meant for Jackson's troops at New Orleans. The remainder of the voyage was spent by the gunsmiths making these muskets battleworthy.

Riflemen located behind tall, earthern ramparts had little to fear from redcoat flankers and light infantry who had forgotten their scaling ladders and fascines.
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  #50  
Old 23 Apr 11, 17:16
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" The rocket was hardly in the air before a rush of our troops was met by the most murderous and destructive fire of all arms ever poured upon a column. Sir Edward Pakenham galloped past me with all his Staff, saying, "That's a terrific fire, Lambert." I knew nothing of my General then, except that he was a most gentlemanlike, amiable fellow, and I had seen him lead his Brigade at Toulouse in the order of a review of his Household Troops2 in Hyde Park. I said, "In twenty~five minutes, General, you will command the Army. Sir Edward Pakenham will be wounded and incapable, or killed. The troops do not get on a step. He will be at the head of the first Brigade he comes to, and what I say will occur."

A few seconds verified my words. Tylden came wildly up to tell the melancholy truth, saying, "Sir Edward Pakenham is killed. You command the Army, and your Brigade must move on immediately." I said, "If Sir Edward Pakenham is killed, Sir John Lambert commands, and will judge of what is to be done." I saw the attack had irretrievably failed. The troops were beat back, and going at a tolerable pace too; so much so, I thought the enemy had made a sortie in pursuit, as so overpowering a superiority of numbers would have induced the French to do. "May I order your Brigade, sir, to form line to cover a most irregular retreat, to apply no other term to it, until you see what has actually occurred to the attacking columns?" He assented, and sent me and other Staff Officers in different directions to ascertain our condition. It was (summed up in few words) that every attack had failed; the Commander~in~Chief and General Gibbs and Colonel Renny killed; General Keane, most severely wounded; and the columns literally destroyed. The column for the right bank were seen to be still in their boats, and not the slightest impression had been made on the enemy.

Never since Buenos Ayres had I witnessed a reverse, and the sight to our eyes, which had looked on victory so often, was appalling indeed. Lambert desired me, and every Staff Officer he could get hold of; to go and reform the troops, no very easy matter in some cases. However, far to the rear, they (or, rather, what were left) were formed up, Sir John meanwhile wondering whether, under all the circumstances, he ought to attack."


The Autobiograpy of Sir Harry Smith. Battle of New Orleans
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  #51  
Old 24 Apr 11, 00:56
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Sir John Moore ,who as a 18 year old 2nd lieutenant fought in the ‘American war’ , was instrumental in not only developing ‘light infantry’ regiments, that is a whole battalion dedicated to ‘American’ tactics rather than a company per battalion (a policy that other European armies did not follow?). He also pushed for the formation of ‘rifle’ regiments.

The French, partly because of their experience in America, sent light infantry ahead of their mass formations to hit officers, NCO’s and disrupt the enemy before the mass of conscripts arrived. The British countered this with their own light companies and even whole regiments of light infantry, all however where armed with a ‘musket’. Wellington mixed companies of riflemen in with these light infantry, thus getting the best of both wapons.
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Old 24 Apr 11, 10:02
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The 95th Rifles were formed by the British in direct response to being on the receiving end of American riflemen though out the Revolution, They had no doubt that rifles are effective battlefield weapons. And as for the bayonet question, the Continental Army had developed tactic of deploying Light Infantry companies to support the rifle companies. So riflemen, who weren’t about to let the redcoats get close and negate their advantage of long range accuracy, go out and act as scouts and snipers and would fall back to the infantry with their higher rate of fire and bayonets when the redcoats got too close.

Riflemen were specialists, the paratroopers of their day. American units were recruited from the frontier and European ones were given extensive training.

the british had been forming rifle companies long before and during the American revolution. they weren't anything new in the American revolution, and their effectiveness is largely overblown. the british army did not even use line formation, they were fighting in open ranks, so i think the american rifleman were greatly overrated
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Old 24 Apr 11, 12:47
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I strongly disagree. This sounds like alot of sour grapes and revisionist history to me. There were only some 11 cannon, mortars and howitzers of various calibers, mounted in eight batteries, located all along Jackson's 1-k long line. Such small numbers of artillery alone could not hope to inflict the horrendous casualties that were suffered by the British at New Orleans. Nearly every British Officer of any rank on the battlefield was either killed or became a casualty.

A report by an officer in the British Camp, watching the battle from the balcony of a house remarked after the entire Amercan line erupted in flame. He said ".. the entire 44th Regiment was literally swept from the face of the earth."

The reports I read said that Packenham was hit in the knee by cannister fire, but the killing shot was a single musket ball that later lodged in his spine. Packenham himself was earlier shocked at the intensity of the American musket and riflefire when he said to his 2 IC. "That's terrific fire, Lambert!!"

I already commented on the Kentucky sharp shooter, Morgan Ballard who brought down Major John Anthony Whitaker by deliberately shooting him through the head with his rifle. Following the battle, a number of riflemen tried to take credit for Whitaker's death. Ballard settled the matter by saying "If he is not shot both through the ear and temple, then he is not mine."
How is it sour grapes and revisionist history ????

Have been reading British at the Gates by Robin Riley seems to support the thesis
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Old 24 Apr 11, 13:32
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How is it sour grapes and revisionist history ????

Have been reading British at the Gates by Robin Riley seems to support the thesis
All of the stuff regarding the so-called "Myth of the American sharpshooters" and the idea that ten cannon were largely responsible for the British defeat at New Orleans. I say ten cannon instead of eleven, because the gun at Battery number 8 never fired a round because its carriage was broken. I've read a number of accounts and posted two of them that remarked upon the heavy concentrations of musket fire that swept the British ranks during their advance. Cannonfire played a big role in the battle, but we must not underestimate the role that deliberately aimed musketfire played in the British defeat at New Orleans. As I stated earlier, nearly every British Officer of high rank was killed or became a casualty during the battle. Canister and grapeshot do not respect rank, but it was common knowledge that American soldiers deliberately singled out British officers as their targets.
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Old 24 Apr 11, 13:42
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The American Regular and Volunteer Regiments along Jackson's line were arrayed in 4 ranks, so that continuous, repeating volleys of musketfire could be fired at the British as soon as they were in range. Coffee's Tennesseeans and Carrol's Kentuckians were at the far left of the line and began firing earlier, as most of them were armed with rifles.
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Old 24 Apr 11, 13:47
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All of the stuff regarding the so-called "Myth of the American sharpshooters" and the idea that ten cannon were largely responsible for the British defeat at New Orleans. I say ten cannon instead of eleven, because the gun at Battery number 8 never fired a round because its carriage was broken. I've read a number of accounts and posted two of them that remarked upon the heavy concentrations of musket fire that swept the British ranks during their advance. Cannonfire played a big role in the battle, but we must not underestimate the role that deliberately aimed musketfire played in the British defeat at New Orleans. As I stated earlier, nearly every British Officer of high rank was killed or became a casualty during the battle. Canister and grapeshot do not respect rank, but it was common knowledge that American soldiers deliberately singled out British officers as their targets.
Wan't that the whole point of the Rifle? and isn't that what Rifle regiments in the British army eg 95th did throughout the period?
It was I believe considered very unsporting by many officers actually aiming at an individual was not the mark of a gentleman!
In the Peninsula (I sure this is true) the officers of the 95th used to call up a rifleman such the Irishman Plunkett point out an officer some long distance away in the French lines and wager if Plunkett could hit him. Plunkett was a very good shot (300 yards + possible?), he could a bottle of booze for his trouble. Many officers (I think including Wellington) considered this to be very unfair and bad manners. Just because there's a war on no need to be uncivilised.
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Old 24 Apr 11, 13:56
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Wan't that the whole point of the Rifle? and isn't that what Rifle regiments in the British army eg 95th did throughout the period?
It was I believe considered very unsporting by many officers actually aiming at an individual was not the mark of a gentleman!
In the Peninsula (I sure this is true) the officers of the 95th used to call up a rifleman such the Irishman Plunkett point out an officer some long distance away in the French lines and wager if Plunkett could hit him. Plunkett was a very good shot (300 yards + possible?), he could a bottle of booze for his trouble. Many officers (I think including Wellington) considered this to be very unfair and bad manners. Just because there's a war on no need to be uncivilised.
Good points! However, there was also the added onus of the British being on US soil and the Americans taking exception of this. I read an account of a British Officer being asked what he thought of the American habbit of deliberately trying to shoot British Officers. He replied. "I should think that our own countrymen back home would react this way should an invader ever trod upon our soil."
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Good points! However, there was also the added onus of the British being on US soil and the Americans taking exception of this. I read an account of a British Officer being asked what he thought of the American habbit of deliberately trying to shoot British Officers. He replied. "I should think that our own countrymen back home would react this way should an invader ever trod upon our soil."
There is also an account of british troops being asked what they were doing there to which the reply was ask your president he invited us. Besides seeing as how the US had invaded British soil (Canada) first I dont think we can go to much down that route.
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Wan't that the whole point of the Rifle? and isn't that what Rifle regiments in the British army eg 95th did throughout the period?
It was I believe considered very unsporting by many officers actually aiming at an individual was not the mark of a gentleman!
In the Peninsula (I sure this is true) the officers of the 95th used to call up a rifleman such the Irishman Plunkett point out an officer some long distance away in the French lines and wager if Plunkett could hit him. Plunkett was a very good shot (300 yards + possible?), he could a bottle of booze for his trouble. Many officers (I think including Wellington) considered this to be very unfair and bad manners. Just because there's a war on no need to be uncivilised.

Yes and no. The High casulties would probably be from the fact the British officers (officers in general in most armies too) would have been in the front ranks leading the attacks as otherwise it would be quite hard to distinguish uniforms as campaigning in the swamps and Bayous of Louisana (even assuming the were given fresh uniforms before the start of the campagin) would wear and dirty them out.

Officers though did consider themselves gentlemen and looked after each other. In Canada an American officer apologised to a british officer after he complained at how an american private treated him and gave the private a severe tounge lashing. Officers do tend to look after each other

As it was Lambert took command afterwards and fooled Jackson got the men away (Getting a beaten force away from a victorious enemy one of the hardest feats in war) reformed the army and then captured Fort Boyer which Jackson himself thought was safe.
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Old 24 Apr 11, 15:45
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I strongly disagree. The reports I read said that Packenham was hit in the knee by cannister fire, but the killing shot was a single musket ball that later lodged in his spine. Packenham himself was earlier shocked at the intensity of the American musket and riflefire when he said to his 2 IC. "That's terrific fire, Lambert!!"
Packenham was grazed in the knee by grapeshot early on. As you have stated, he was killed by a musketball (NOT a rifle ball; the difference is substantial and would have been noted) around 350 yards or so from the American position.

It seems to me an inconsistent position: to deride the accuracy and effective fire of the smoothbore musket and then expect one to believe that the very same weapon, in the hands of a "freed-slave-Carlos-Hathcock-prototype" is capable of such an extra-ordinary shot. Cannister from artillery could and did travel to around 500 yards or so.

The disaster at New Orleans was primarily the result of terrible planning and leadership by Packenham, and he paid the ultimate price for his folly. Packenham's appointment to command the expedition was met with trepidation by all seasoned officers, especially his brother-in-law Wellington, who remarked that he could handle a division well enough if kept on a tight rein but lacked the temperment and intelligence to succeed in an independant command.

I simply dispute the old propaganda saw of the martial and moral superiority of "independant, rugged-individual backwoods marksman" which, with natural born ease swept away the automaton slaves of a European tyrant, thus proving again the moral superiority of American Character. That carefully manufactured image of The American Cincinatus as an Alligator-Horse (to quote Jackson) that has been groomed as part of the "foundation mythos" of the US since Jackson and it is simply untrue.

--T--
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