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Riflemen in the "back-country" - Longhunters - Piedmont men - Overmountain men - Long Knives

Whatever their name, these men were riflemen, as necessitated for their survival in the back-country and their growing desire for new hunting grounds (longhunters).

The Frontier Rifleman: His Arms, Clothing and Equipment During the Era of the American Revolution, 1760-1800. Richard LaCrosse  Jr., Pioneer Press, Union City, TN, 1989.
"Description: 184 pp., ilustrated with photos and drawings..Intensely researched, profusely illustrated volume on early American life, examining a group of individuals who became legendary in their use of the unique American longrifle. Six chapters detail aspects of the Frontier Rifleman’s life. Descriptions and illustrations of his arms lead into discussions and contemporary accounts of the men and their rifles contribution to theRevolutionary War and the War of 1812. contains line drawings and descriptions of the clothing, equipment and accoutrements of the Frontier Rifleman."

At King's Mountain - Overmountain men and Piedmont men rendezvoused (arriving mounted) to surround and overwhelmingly defeat the English rifle expert Major Patrick Ferguson and his force of Loyalists. The battle is well told in dozens of books and on several credible websites, including the NPS.

"By and large, the most successful riflemen were the over-mountain men of Tennessee." Richard B. LaCrosse, Jr.,

The Overmountain Men, by Pat Alderman, 1986

King's Mountain and its heroes: history of the Battle of King's Mountain, by Lyman Copeland Draper, Anthony Allaire, Isaac Shelby, P.G. Thomson, 1881

THE BATTLE OF KING'S MOUNTAIN, by Rev Stephen Foster 22 
American Historical Magazine,1896

The Affair at King's Mountain an Article the British version of that battle by John Watts de Peyster nephew of Abraham de Peyster second in command at the battle Oct 7 1780, in Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History, Volume 2, by Samuel Gordon Heiskell, 1921

THE BATTLE OF KING'S MOUNTAIN: AS SEEN BY THE BRITISH OFFICERS by Sam'l C. Williams Tennessee historical magazine, Volume 7, Tennessee Historical Society, 1922

The King's Mountain men: the story of the battle, with sketches of the American soldiers who took part, by Katherine Keogh White, 1924

One Heroic Hour at Kings Mountain, by Pat Alderman, 1990

King's Mountain: the defeat of the Loyalists, October 7, 1780, by J. David Dameron, Da Capo Press, 2003

The Battle of King's Mountain: eyewitness accounts, by Robert Dunkerly, The History Press, 2007

The Overmountain Men Battle for the Carolinas
By Thomas B. Allen | Military History |  Published: September 01, 2010

According to the knowledgeable Cowpens NPS Ranger John Robertson, Riflemen, under the tactical genius of Daniel Morgan, were also likely more prevalent at the later battle of Cowpens than is commonly understood.

Webpages authored by John Robertson - including Kings Mountain, Cowpens, Daniel Morgan, Southern Campaign ~ Rev War and more!

AMERICA’S MOST IMITATED BATTLE, by LYNN MONTROSS, American Heritage Magazine, April 1956, Volume 7, Issue 3
"At Cowpens, Dan Morgan showed how militia can be used. The formula worked in three later fights."

The Battle of Cowpens: the Great Morale-Builder, by Kenneth Lewis Roberts, Doubleday, 1958
Battle of Cowpens: A Documented Narrative and Troop Movement Maps, by Edwin C. Bearss, The Overmountain Press, 1996

Cowpens Battlefield: A Walking Guide, by Lawrence E. Babits, The Overmountain Press, 1993

A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens, by Lawrence E. Babits, UNC Press, 2001 


For a long sought for corrective to the dearth of scholarly articles on the Southern Riflemen see:

"The Role of the Riflemen in the Southern Campaigns of the American War of Independence, by James R., McIntyre"
an older version is also found here; from a version of this paper was published in American Revolution magazine, Vol. 2, p.11-13.


Further beyond the Appalachian back-country, the prodigious exploits of George Rogers Clark and his Virginia State Illinois Regiment (while not a Rifle Unit by contemporaneous title) must be mentioned, if only for the extraordinary feat of arms they accomplished under his brilliant leadership and their undaunted courage and perseverance - traits of true riflemen.

Clark raised 175 men in four different companies. Originally titled the Corps of Volunteers, the unit was raised for just one operation, to strike deep behind enemy line and secure the enemy lines of communication and supply, and kill as many of the enemy as possible in the process. Capturing British posts at Kaskaskia and Cahokia on the Mississippi River and Vincennes on the Wabash River, when, however, British Lieutenant Governor Hamilton marched from Detroit and recaptured Vincennes, Clark took fewer than 200 men on foot across 175 miles of flooded, frozen plains to recapture the British fort a move so daring in concept and execution, it is considered one of the boldest in American military history (along with Arnold and Morgan's March on Quebec.).

Only hardened American frontiersman,"Long Knives," boldly and ingeniously led, could have accomplished such a task  over flooded terrain in the dead of winter!

George Rogers Clark - various primary and secondary sources

George Rogers Clark's Memoir , transcribed by Bill Thayer

American historical magazine, Volume 6, by Peabody Normal College, 1901

George Rogers Clark and the Kaskaskia Campaign, 1777-1778, by George Rogers Clark, Frederick Jackson Turner, 1903 - 16 pages

George Rogers Clark and his Conquest of the Middle West, by Lynn Tew Sprague, Outing. 49: 474-81. Ja. '07.

Col. George Rogers Clark's sketch of his campaign in the Illinois, 1778-9, by George Rogers Clark, 1907

George Rogers Clark papers, 1771, by George Rogers Clark, James Alton James, 1912

THE VALUE OF THE MEMOIR OF GEORGE ROGERS CLARK AS AN HISTORICAL DOCUMENT, Proceedings, Volume 9, by Organization of American Historians, 1917

The conquest of the Illinois, by George Rogers Clark, R.R. Donnelly & Sons Co., 1920

George Rogers Clark and the War in the West, by Lowell Hayes Harrison, University Press of Kentucky, 2001

These colorful biographies are by turn of the century historian,Lynn Tew Sprague, and are linked from Outing magazine.  "Outing" was a late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century magazine covering a variety of sporting activities" as well as adventure, travel, fiction, and historical topics.

General Francis Marion. The Knight of The Revolution, Outing. 47: 402-9. Ja. '06.

General James Robertson, the Father of Tennessee. Outing. 50: 606-13. Ag. '07.

General Isaac Shelby. Outing. 51: 73-82. O. '07.

Nolichucky Jack. Outing. 52: 97-103. Ap. '08.

Terror of the Tories. Colonel Benjamin Cleavland Old Roundabout, Outing. 53:59-67. O. '08.

John Dickinson Sherman (187?-1926), was city editor of the Chicago Tribune and a veteran Chicago newspaper man for thirty plus years. J.D. Sherman wrote a vast number of full feature articles on all the major issues of his day: political and geo-political events and issues; environmental stewardship, education, etc. ...with the occasional US history and military history and biographical articles.

George Rogers Clark - "Savior of the Northwest" - By John Dickinson Sherman
- Providence County Times, Oct 14, 1924


The following colorful and insightful related articles are culled from the prolific outpouring of one who was likely the preeminent historical journalist of his day judging by his syndication via the Western Newspaper Union -  Elmo Scott Watson (1892-1951):

George Rogers Clark - The Washington of the West - By Elmo Scott Watson

Dayton Review - Mar 17, 1927
By ELMO SCOTT WATSON FOR the last two years sesquicentennial celebrations commemorating the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of various battles campaigns and other episodes of the Revolution ...


The Battle of Kings Mountain -  By Elmo Scott Watson
- The Pentwater News, Oct 4, 1935


John Sevier - "Nolichucky" Jack and His "Bonny" Kate- By Elmo Scott Watson
- Carbon County News - Jul 25, 1929 (in Jul 18 link)


Cowpens - "It Was A Famous Victory" - By Elmo Scott Watson
- Carbon County News, May 9, 1929 (in Mar 28 link)


The Last Year of the Revolution - By Elmo Scott Watson

Providence County Times - Jul 29, 1932
ELMO SCOTT WATSON. October 1781...True it is that 1781 was the last year of the Revolution in the main theater of war\- the Atlantic seaboard. But there was one people in the new nation who were to know another year of the horrors of war such as their eastern neighbors had never known.....


Review Of The Week 900 Men Who Shook An Empire .

Lewiston Morning Tribune - Apr 6, 1958
Two years before his death, last year, Kenneth Roberts, of Kennebunkport, ... However, the most successful of all of his books was North west Passage," .


Author's Final Work Evokes Day Of Battle .

Spokane Daily Chronicle - Apr 17, 1958
true importance of theivictory«at theit Cowpens Kenneth Roberts argues was ... of adversity rabble in Arms northwest Passage His last book is a fitting epi ... 

Roberts Last Book Scores Posthumously .

Vancouver Sun - Apr 12, 1958
before his death last year Kenneth Roberts of Maine published Boon Island ... or abroad Of Mr Roberts eight novels Northwest Pas sage alone was reprinted in ...


Kudos to the Mountain Warrior Battalion (USAREC); see
The Legacy of the US Army "Mountain Warrior"

two informative reviews of the once upon a time "History" Channel's documentaries:Frontier: Legends of the Old Northwest and Frontier: The Decisive Battles of the Old Northwest

related My Military History web pages:

US Rifle Regiments

Ranger and Riflemen Sketch & Note Book


1 comment:

Keith said...

I have posted your link on my blog.
Well done. Keith.