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Rifles versus muskets.

We are all familiar with the myth about the Rebel riflemen who won the American Revolution. Rifles were indeed more accurate than muskets, but they took much longer to load -- a decided disadvantage when the opposing side was charging down upon you.

While Washington was undoubtedly aware of the advantages of the rifle, he is reported to have requested more musketmen, rather than more riflemen. The following quotation refers to events in the War of 1812, and it demonstrates how muskets and rifles could be used together to great effect:

... Riflemen were mingled with, the redcoats of the other three Light companies. Those redcoats carried the quick-firing but short-ranged muskets, while the Green-jackets had the more accurate, longer-ranged rifle that was slow to reload. The mixture of weapons could be lethal; the rifles killed with precision and were protected by the muskets.(1)

(1) Cornwell, Bernard. Sharpe's Revenge. London: Harper Collins Publishers. 1997. p 61
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Author:Johnson, Peter
Publication:The Loyalist Gazette
Date:Sep 22, 1999
Words:155
Previous Article:Lucile Hooker, UE.
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