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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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  #61  
Old 24 Apr 11, 15:54
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[QUOTE=johnbryan;1818891]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.
QUOTE]

"Making muskets battleworthy"--which, being made to a standard plan were to a large extent composed of interchangalbe parts--is by no stretch of imagination the same complex problem as making from proper stock seperate, individually sized and fitted parts of different tensile stregnth that are unique to each particular rifle.

--T--
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  #62  
Old 24 Apr 11, 17:17
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Originally Posted by History fan View Post
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 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.
Officers of high rank were usually mounted on horseback, thus identifying them for who they were, while making them an easier target for American sharpshooters. The officers on foot were probably waving a sword, while urging their men onward. This too would make them a target for US sharpshooters, because they weren't carrying a musket like the enlisted men.

Jackson knew full well the abilities and limitations of the men of his half trained army and knew very well they would be hopelessly outclassed in an open field battle with the British. Jackson allowed Lambert's Army to withdraw unmolested.
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  #63  
Old 24 Apr 11, 17:21
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[QUOTE=Toisach;1819669]
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbryan View Post
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.
QUOTE]

"Making muskets battleworthy"--which, being made to a standard plan were to a large extent composed of interchangalbe parts--is by no stretch of imagination the same complex problem as making from proper stock seperate, individually sized and fitted parts of different tensile stregnth that are unique to each particular rifle.

--T--
A trained gunsmith was a craftsman who would be easily able to fix or repair either a smooth bore or a rifled musket. They could fashion gun parts on a forge or by using a file and other tools of the trade.
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  #64  
Old 24 Apr 11, 18:01
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Originally Posted by Toisach View Post
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--
I never derided the accuracy or effectiveness of a smooth bore musket at ranges of less than 100 yards distance. Jackson's Regular troops and the vast majority of his volunteers used smooth bore muskets. That issue was never in doubt. However, Caroll's Kentuckians, Coffee's Tennesseeans and some locally raised, New Orleans units used their rifles to very good effect.

Canniister shot using smaller musket balls were best used at ranges of less than 350 yards, ideally at 250 yards or less.

I never spoke about any "old propaganda saw or the martial and moral superiority of the independant, rugged-individual backwoods marksman..", but I do know that most of the men of Jackson's Army came from a largely unsettled, howling wilderness region of the country and they relied on theiir ability to kill Indians who were trying to kill them or to bring down wild game with which to feed and to some extent clothe their families as being paramount. They couldn't afford to waste shots in either case, or they might not live to tell about it. Such a do or die attitude tends to make one an excellent shot, while giving them an independant mindset. I would call that mindset "rugged individualism" and leave it at that. There is little to no mythos about this. That is historical fact. For anyone to think that settling the "dark and bloody grounds" of Kentucky or Tennessee was a simple cake walk suggests they don't know what they are talking about and are relying on anti-American, revisionist crap history.
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  #65  
Old 24 Apr 11, 18:49
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It has been said that the Kentucky/ Pennsivania long rifle was the best at the time . But That's just my opinion.
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  #66  
Old 24 Apr 11, 19:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbryan View Post
I never derided the accuracy or effectiveness of a smooth bore musket at ranges of less than 100 yards distance. Jackson's Regular troops and the vast majority of his volunteers used smooth bore muskets. That issue was never in doubt. However, Caroll's Kentuckians, Coffee's Tennesseeans and some locally raised, New Orleans units used their rifles to very good effect.

Canniister shot using smaller musket balls were best used at ranges of less than 350 yards, ideally at 250 yards or less.

I never spoke about any "old propaganda saw or the martial and moral superiority of the independant, rugged-individual backwoods marksman..", but I do know that most of the men of Jackson's Army came from a largely unsettled, howling wilderness region of the country and they relied on theiir ability to kill Indians who were trying to kill them or to bring down wild game with which to feed and to some extent clothe their families as being paramount. They couldn't afford to waste shots in either case, or they might not live to tell about it. Such a do or die attitude tends to make one an excellent shot, while giving them an independant mindset. I would call that mindset "rugged individualism" and leave it at that. There is little to no mythos about this. That is historical fact. For anyone to think that settling the "dark and bloody grounds" of Kentucky or Tennessee was a simple cake walk suggests they don't know what they are talking about and are relying on anti-American, revisionist crap history.
Quite apt JB especially that last part.....and are relying on anti-American, revisionist crap history.
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  #67  
Old 24 Apr 11, 19:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankee View Post
It has been said that the Kentucky/ Pennsivania long rifle was the best at the time . But That's just my opinion.
They were all descendants of the German inspired Jaeger (hunter) Rifle, The main difference was the Pennsylvania and Kentucky Rifles were of a smaller bore, while having a much longer barrel. They had a considerably higher muzzle velocity because black powder burns slow and the longer barrel made accurate rifle fire possible at much greater ranges if placed in skilled hands.
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Old 24 Apr 11, 19:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbryan View Post
They were all descendants of the German inspired Jaeger (hunter) Rifle, The main difference was the Pennsylvania and Kentucky Rifles were of a smaller bore, while having a much longer barrel. They had a considerably higher muzzle velocity because black powder burns slow and the longer barrel made accurate rifle fire possible at much greater ranges if placed in skilled hands.
The only Rifle I have heard about from the time is the Baker rifle -- Harris etc-- how do they compare?
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Old 24 Apr 11, 20:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinmeath View Post
The only Rifle I have heard about from the time is the Baker rifle -- Harris etc-- how do they compare?
The Baker Rifle was an excellent rifle in it's day, built to withstand the hard, rigorous life of military service. They were very accurate. The British 95th Rifles was equipped with the Baker Rifle and some companies ended up at the Battle of New Orleans. I'm not famiiar with the Harris Rifle.
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Old 24 Apr 11, 23:34
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Another personal acount from a rifleman during the Battle of New Orleans.

An unknown eyewitness, fighting from the top of the breastworks defending New Orleans, describes the battle.

"Col. Smiley, from Bardstown, was the first one who gave us orders to fire from our part of the line; and then, I reckon, there was a pretty considerable noise... Directly after the firing began, Capt. Patterson, I think he was from Knox County, Kentucky, but an Irishman born, came running along. He jumped upon the brestwork (sic) and stooping a moment to look through the darkness as well as he could, he shouted with a broad North of Ireland brogue, 'shoot low, boys! shoot low! rake them - rake them! They're comin' on their all fours!'

...It was so dark that little could be seen, until just about the time the battle ceased. The morning had dawned to be sure, but the smoke was so thick that every thing seemed to be covered up in it. Our men did not seem to apprehend any danger, but would load and fire as fast as they could, talking, swearing, and joking all the time. All ranks and sections were soon broken up. After the first shot, everyone loaded and banged away on his own hook.

Henry Spillman did not load and fire quite so often as some of the rest, but every time he did fire he would go up to the brestwork, look over until he could see something to shoot at, and then take deliberate aim and crack away.

At one time I noticed, a little on our right, a curious kind of a chap named Ambrose Odd, one of Captain Higdon's company, and known among the men by the nickname of 'Sukey,' standing coolly on the top of the brestworks and peering into the darkness for something to shoot at. The balls were whistling around him and over our heads, as thick as hail, and Col. Slaughter coming along, ordered him to come down.

The Colonel told him there was policy in war, and that he was exposing himself too much. Sukey turned around, holding up the flap of his old broad brimmed hat with one hand, to see who was speaking to him, and replied: 'Oh! never mind Colonel - here's Sukey - I don't want to waste my powder, and I'd like to know how I can shoot until I see something?' Pretty soon after, Sukey got his eye on a red coat, and, no doubt, made a hole through it, for he took deliberate aim, fired and then coolly came down to load again.


The battle
During the action, a number of the Tennessee men got mixed with ours. One of them was killed about five or six yards from where I stood. I did not know his name. A ball passed through his head and he fell against Ensign Weller...This was the only man killed near my station.

It was near the close of the firing....there was a white flag raised on the opposite side of the brestwork and the firing ceased. The white flag, before mentioned, was raised about ten or twelve feet from where I stood, close to the brestwork and a little to the right. It was a white handkerchief, or something of the kind, on a sword or stick. It was waved several times, and as soon as it was perceived, we ceased firing.

Just then the wind got up a little and blew the smoke off, so that we could see the field. It then appeared that the flag had been raised by a British Officer wearing epaulets. It was told he was a Major. He stepped over the brestwork and came into our lines. Among the Tennesseans who had got mixed with us during the fight, there was a little fellow whose name I do not know; but he was a cadaverous looking chap and went by that of Paleface.

As the British Officer came in, Paleface demanded his sword. He hesitated about giving it to him, probably thinking it was derogatory to his dignity, to surrender to a private all over begrimed with dust and powder and that some Officer should show him the courtesy to receive it.

Just at that moment, Co!. Smiley came up and cried, with a harsh oath, 'Give it up-give it up to him in a minute.' The British Officer quickly handed his weapon to Paleface, holding it in both hands and making a very polite bow. A good many others came in just about the same time.

...On the opposite side of the brestwork there was a ditch about ten feet wide, made by the excavation of the earth, of which the work was formed. In it, was about a foot or eighteen inches of water, and to make it the more difficult of passage, a quantity of thornbush had been cut and thrown into it. In this ditch a number of British soldiers were found at the close under the brestwork, as a shelter from our fire. These, of course, came in and surrendered.

When the smoke had cleared away and we could obtain a fair view of the field, it looked, at the first glance, like a sea of blood. It was not blood itself which gave it this appearance but the red coats in which the British soldiers were dressed. Straight out before our position, for about the width of space which we supposed had been occupied by the British column, the field was entirely covered with prostrate bodies. In some places they were laying in piles of several, one on the top of the other."

References:
This eyewitness account first appeared in The Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. IX, No. 1, January 1926, republished in Angle, Paul, M., The American Reader (1958); Remini, Robert Vincent, The Battle of New Orleans (1999).
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Old 24 Apr 11, 23:58
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"In a few minutes the head of the British column could be dimly seen. It appeared about two hundred files long that would, for regiments the size of theirs, be a formation four ranks deep. They were about six hundred to six hundred and fifty yards away ; too long a range for our small-bore rifles which, as you know, carried round bullets of forty-five or even sixty to the pound of lead and were not effective more than four hundred yards at the outside.

General Jackson, Carroll and Adair and Major Latour, Mr. Livingston and I got up on the parapet. In a minute or two the enemy began to move. Two rockets were fired, one toward us and one toward the river. 'That is their signal for advance, I believe,' General Jackson said. He then ordered all of us down off the parapet but stayed there him- self and kept his long glass to his eye sweeping the enemy's line with it from end to end. In a moment he ordered Adair and Carroll to pass word along the line for the men to be ready, to count the enemy's files down as closely as they could, and each to look after his own file-man in their ranks, also, that they should not fire until told and then to aim above the cross-belt plates.

Then men were tense, but very cold. A buzz of low talk ran along the line for some minutes. The enemy's front line was now within five hundred yards, and the center of their formation was almost exactly opposite Car- roll's left company or Adair's right one. Then boom! went our first gun. As well as I can remember after so many years, it was fired from the long brass 12-pounder in Battery No. 6, which was commanded by Old GeneralFleaujeac, a French veteran who had served under Napo- leon and came to Louisiana about 1802 or 1803. "Then all the guns opened. The British batteries, formed in the left rear of their storming column near the river, were still concealed from us by the fog, but they re- plied, directing their fire by the sound of our guns. It was a grand sight to see their flashes light up the fog turning it into the hues of the rainbow

Still the enemy came on, but no sound from the rifie- line; no fire but that of artillery on either side. Our Bat- teries Nos. 7 and 8 were on the rifle-line. Number 7 had an old Spanish 18-pounder and a 6-pounder. Number 8 had but one gun a 6-pounder. The smoke from these hung in front of the works or drifted slowly toward the enemy with- out lifting much in the damp air. Adair noticed this and said it was worse than the fog ; that the smoke would spoil the aim of the riflemen when their turn came. Carroll agreed with him. Then General Jackson ordered these two batteries to cease firing, whereupon the smoke soon lifted and the head of the enemy's column appeared not more than three hundred to three hundred and fifty yards off and coming on at quickstep, with men in front carrying a few scaling-ladders.

Suddenly one rifle cracked a little to the left of where I stood. A mounted officer on the right and a little in front of the British head of column reeled in his saddle and fell from his horse headlong to the ground. What followed in an instant I cannot attempt to describe. The British had kept right on, apparently not minding the artillery fire much, though it was rapid and well-directed. They were used to it. But now, when every hunter's rifle from the right of Carroll's line to the edge of the swamp where Coffee stood, was searching for their vitals, the British soldiers stopped! That was something new, something they were not used to! "They couldn't stand it. In five minutes the whole front of their formation was shaken as if by an earthquake. Not one mounted officer could be seen. Either rider or horse, or both, in every case, was down most of them dead or dying. I had been in battle where rifles were used up on the northwest frontier under Harrison. But, even so, I had never seen anything like this

In less than ten minutes the first line of the enemy's column had disappeared, exposing the second, which was about a hundred yards in its rear. You see, their formation was columns or brigade in battalion front and there were three batallions or regiments in the column, each formed four ranks deep. The plain was so level and their forma- tion in line so dense that to a certain extent the front or leading battalion afforded some cover to the one following, and so on.

We were formed four deep, in open order, with plenty of room to move to and fro. As fast as one line fired, its men would step back to the rear and load. But the time the fourth line had fired the first one would be ready again, and so on.

When their leading battalion, which we now know to have been the Forty-fourth Regiment, was practically destroyed, the next one, which was the Seventh Regiment, had been already a good deal shaken by the halt and carnage in the first and by the headlong flight of the survivors around or through its ranks, and so the Seventh Regiment broke almost as soon as they got their full weight of our rifle- fire. This left exposed in turn their third regiment of the column which was the Fourth or King's Own Foot, and they, too, succumbed after a very brief experience. Almost, as incredible as it may seem, this whole column, numbering, I should say, 2,500 or 2,600 men, was literally melted down by our rifle-fire. To put it another way, this column had been to all intents destroyed and the work was done in less than twenty minutes from the first rifle-shot. No such execution by small arms was ever done before, and I don't believe it ever will be done again.

Some of our men got excited and talked about leaping over the breastwork to follow them. But these were sternly suppressed by all the officers and by the more sensible and prudent men in the ranks also. To have gone out in the open field then, with their second column and all their reserves unhurt, would have been the undoing of us!

The man who fired first was Morgan Ballard. The British officer was afterwards ascertained to be Brigade- Major John Anthony Whittaker, of the 21st Foot in General Gibb's Brigade."

I'm not sure if this is an actual first person, officer's account. I am looking into it.
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Old 25 Apr 11, 01:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinmeath View Post
The only Rifle I have heard about from the time is the Baker rifle -- Harris etc-- how do they compare?
other than both being muzzleloading flintlock rifles
they don't compare

Kentucky would have been a handmade long barreled rifle in any of a variety of calibers, anything from .36 to .50 caliber...

Baker was a military rifle of large caliber, manufactured to a set of paramaters
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Old 25 Apr 11, 04:10
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[QUOTE=Toisach;1819669]
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Originally Posted by johnbryan View Post
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.
QUOTE]

"Making muskets battleworthy"--which, being made to a standard plan were to a large extent composed of interchangalbe parts--is by no stretch of imagination the same complex problem as making from proper stock seperate, individually sized and fitted parts of different tensile stregnth that are unique to each particular rifle.

--T--
Fully Interchangable parts doesnt rally come in until a lot later.

The Brown bess and its rivals were pretty much made by hand to a Pattern part. there were diffeences in tolerance that pretty much stopped you from being able to take a gun apart and use its bits in another of the same class with out a considerable amount of filing and hammering and presumably swearing.
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Old 25 Apr 11, 04:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbryan View Post
The Baker Rifle was an excellent rifle in it's day, built to withstand the hard, rigorous life of military service. They were very accurate. The British 95th Rifles was equipped with the Baker Rifle and some companies ended up at the Battle of New Orleans. I'm not famiiar with the Harris Rifle.
Rifleman Harris from the Sharpe books, I think?
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Old 25 Apr 11, 07:28
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Sorry Meant "The Recollections of Rifleman Harris"
first published in 1848 and reprinted often since.
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