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Revolutionary Rangers, Riflemen and Light Infantry


As ought to be well known,** the history of the Rangers continued in the American Revolution when the Continental Congress created a "Corps of Rangers," who were to be sharpshooters. Known by several various titles, as will be seen below, overtime they have most commonly been called "Morgan's Riflemen," this unit compiled a spectacular record scarcely excelled by any regiment in the Continental Army. They were regarded by Washington, in his own words as, "...chosen men, selected from the army at large, well acquainted with the use of rifles, and with that mode of fighting which is necessary to make them a good counterpoise to the Indian." 

 



Fort Gower, November 5, 1774
“Gentlemen: Having now concluded the campaign, by the assistance of Providence, with honour and advantage to the Colony and ourselves, it only remains that we should give our country the strongest assurance that we are ready, at all time, to the utmost of our power to maintain and defend her just rights and privileges. We have lived about three months in t.he woods without any intelligence from Boston, or from the Delegates at Philadelphia. It is possible, from the groundless reports of designing men, that our countrymen may be jealous of the use such a body would make of arms in their hands at this critical juncture. That we are a respectable body is certain, when it is considered that we can live weeks without bread or salt; that we can sleep in the open air without any covering but that of the canopy of Heaven; and that our men can march and shoot with any in the known world. Blessed with these talents, let us solemnly engage to one another, and our country in particular, that we will use them to no purpose but for the honour and advantage of America in general, and of Virginia in particular. It behooves us then, for the satisfaction of our country, that we should give them our real sentiments, by way of resolves, at this very alarming crisis....”

Fort Gower Address and Resolutions November 5, 1774
www.as.wvu.edu/wvhistory/documents/008.pdf
www.holstonia.net/files/FortGower2011.pdf



Richard Henry Lee  to Arthur Lee  Feby. 24th 1775

D. B.
All America has received with astonishment and concern the Speech to Parliament.1 The wicked violence of Ministry is so clearly expressed, as to leave no doubt of their fatal determination to ruin both Countries, unless a powerful and timely check is interposed by the Body of the people. A very small corrupted Junto in New York excepted, all N. America is now most firmly united and as firmly resolved to defend their Liberties ad infinitum against every power on Earth that may attempt to take them away. The most effectual measures are every where taking to secure a sacred observance of the Association. Manufactures go rapidly on, and the means of repelling force by force are universally adopting. The inclosed Address to the Virginia Delegates published a few days since in the Gazette will shew you the spirit of the Frontier Men. This one County of Fincastle can furnish 1000 Rifle Men that for their number make the most formidable light Infantry in the world. The six frontier Counties can produce 6000 of these Men who from their amazing hardihood, their method of living so long in the woods without carrying provisions with them, the exceeding quickness with which they can march to distant parts, and above all, the dexterity to which they have arrived in the use of the Rifle Gun. Their is not one of these Men who wish a distance less than 200 yards on a larger object than an Orange. Every shot is fatal. The Virginia Colony Congress meets the 20th of next month for the appointment of Delegates to the Continental Congress in May next, and for other purposes of public security. The Ministry who are both foolish and wicked, think by depriving us of Assemblies to take away the advantage that results from united and collected counsels. But they are grievously mistaken. In despight of all their machinations, public Councils will be held and public measures adopted for general security. Still we hope that the proceedings of the last Continental Congress when communicated to the people of England will rouse a spirit that proving fatal to an abandoned Ministry may save the whole Empire from Its impending destruction.

The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1,  By Richard Henry Lee, National Society of the Colonial Dames of America
http://leearchive.wlu.edu/papers/letters/transcripts-gw%20delegates/DIV0221.html


In June, 1775, the Continental Congress called into service ten companies of riflemen to be raised in the States of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Continual reorganization reshuffled these units, but the Pennsylvania contingent, whose term of enlistment did not expire until July 1, 1776,  and thus the first troops to enlist as Continentals, received the honor of being named 1st Continental Regiment of the Continental Army.  In 1776, the Maryland and Virginia contingent was later formed as one of six Extra Continental regiments because of its unique two-state composition, "not managed through a single state government, and ..therefore directly responsible to national authority..."
In September of 1775, "Three rifle companies (Daniel Morgan's from Virginia and Mathew Smith's and William Hendricks' from the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment)..." volunteered for an epic march as one of two converging which sought and failed in an attempt to capture Quebec; despite personally courageous attempts by Morgan to take the city. Upon exchange, Morgan was soon asked by General Washington to form a special Corps of select riflemen. 
The Continental Army, by Robert K. Wright, Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History 1983. Available, in part, online from the CMH website
http://www.history.army.mil/books/RevWar/ContArmy/CA-fm.htm 
- Rangers in Colonial and Revolutionary America - by Robert K. Wright
http://www.history.army.mil/documents/RevWar/revra.htm
- Battles of the American Revolution, by Curt Johnson, Rand McNally, 1975
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_Rifle_Regiment

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryland_and_Virginia_Rifle_Regiment
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Continental_Army_units

This special Corps, under Continental control, was an extension of Washington's plan for a Continental Army Corps of RANGER-RIFLEMEN, at least several months in advance, as evidenced by the following comments:


"To MAJOR GENERAL ISRAEL PUTNAM Head Quarters, Morris Town, February 28, 1777.
"...Captn. Smith mistook my meaning, about raising an Independant Company. No such powers are vested in my hands; on your recommendation, I offered him a Company in a Regiment of Rangers, which he declined. I approve your resolution of making the Militia do duty, as far from their homes, as conveniently can be done. I am etc."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 7 

http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi07.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/

That Washington saw a definite need for riflemen, in tactical situations fitted to their capabilities, showed his flexibility of mind, and contrasts against the conventional wisdom (for that time and even beyond) , practice and attitudes prevalent against riflemen; for example consider Antony Wayne:


"In a letter to Secretary of War Peters (February 8, 1777), we find this:
"I find the enclosed deficiency in Bayonets which I wish an order for from the Board of War on Mr. William Henry, at Lancaster, with directions to make them eighteen inches long in the blade. ... I would also wish to exchange a number of rifles for muskets and bayonets. I don't like rifles. I would almost as soon face an enemy with a good musket and bayonet without ammunition, as with ammunition without a bayonet, for although there are not many instances of bloody bayonets, yet I am confident that one bayonet keeps off another, and for want of which the Chief of the Defeats we have met with ought in a great measure to be attributed. The Enemy, knowing the defenceless state of our Riflemen, rush on. They [the riflemen] fly, mix with or pass thro' the other troops, and communicate fears that is ever incident to a retiring corps. This would not be the case if the riflemen had bayonets. But it would be still better if good muskets and bayonets were put into the hands of good marksmen, and rifles entirely laid aside. For my part I never wish to see one [a rifle], at least without a bayonet. I don't give this as a mere matter of opinion or speculation, but as a matter of fact to the truth of which I have more than once been an unhappy witness."
This dissertation on the advantages of the use of the bayonet becomes all the more interesting if the reader will recall what Wayne had to say, while at Ticonderoga, about the need of training men to maneuver in the open field. According to his ideas, to hide behind breastworks was to cultivate cowardice. To get out in the field and meet the enemy, man to man and steel to steel, was to cultivate manhood.
We see now Wayne's ideal of a soldier— a man in a dress that would appeal to pride; carrying a musket with bayonet fixed; trained to shoot the musket accurately, and ply the bayonet effectively; and willing, as well as able, to go through all necessary maneuvers on the open field and under fire."p.108
Anthony Wayne: sometimes called "Mad Anthony," by John Randolph Spears,1903
http://books.google.com/books?id=kMpEAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover



To assist Morgan in his selection of riflemen, Washington ordered that the army be scoured for the best marksmen for the corps - approximately 500 riflemen were chosen:


"To MAJOR GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE
Morris Town, May 27, 1777.
"...P. S. Herewith you with receive Blank Warrants for Major Parke (as Commandant) of a Corps of Rangers and his Officers,"

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 8,
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi08.html

Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/ 


"GENERAL ORDERS
Head Quarters, Middle-Brook, June 1, 1777.
"....The commanding officer of every Corps is to make a report early to morrow morning, to his Brigadier, of the number of Rifle-men under his command -- In doing which, he is to include none but such as are known to be perfectly skilled in the use of these guns, and who are known to be active and orderly in their behaviour -- Each Brigadier to make a collective Return to the Adjutant General of these men."

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 8,
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi08.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/ 


George Washington to Daniel Morgan, June 13, 1777, archival grayscale:
"To Col. Morgan
Sir: The Corps of Rangers newly formed, and under your command, are to be considered as a body of Light Infantry and are to act as such, for which reason they will be exempted from the common duties of the line. At present, you are to take a Post at Van Veghten Bridge and watch, with very small scouting parties (to avoid fatiguing your men to much, under the present appearance of things) the Enemy's left flank, and particularly in case of any movement of the enemy you are instantly to fall upon their flanks and gall them as much as possible, taking especial care not to be surrounded, or have your retreat to the Army cut off.
I have sent for spears, which I expect shortly to receive and deliver to you, as a defense against horse; till you are furnished with these, take care not to be caught in such a situation as to give them any advantage over you. It occurs to me that if you were to dress a Company or two of true Woods Men in the right Indian style, and let them make the attack accompanied with screaming and yelling as Indians do, it would have very good consequences especially if as little as possible is said, or known of the matter beforehand" 

"It occurs to me that if you were to dress a Company or two of true Woods Men in the right Indian Style and let them make  the Attack accompanied with screaming and yelling as the Indians do, it would have very good consequences especially if as little as possible was said, or known of the matter beforehand."


text at
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 8,
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi08.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


Yet, in RANGERS IN COLONIAL AND REVOLUTIONARY AMERICA, a document of the Army's authoritative Center of Military History,  there is no discussion, whatsoever, of Washington's own named "Ranger Corps" ? and they go on to state the "Continental Army only formed two functional ranger units." Knowlton's Rangers and Whitcomb's Rangers (New Hampshire Rangers (Whitcomb's Rangers) )and then precede to add that Knowlton's Rangers "performed excellently in a light infantry role at the battle of Harlem Heights on 16 September 1776."
 Concerning Knowlton's Rangers Washington described their performance to Virginia Governore Patrick Henry; 
"TO GOVERNOR PATRICK HENRY Head Quarters,
Heights of Harlem, October 5, 1776.
"In order to recover that Military Ardor, which is of the utmost Moment to an Army; almost immediately on my Arrival at this Place, I formed a design of cutting off some of the Enemy's light Troops, who (encouraged by their Successes) had advanced to the extremity of the High Ground, opposite to our present Encampment. To effect this salutary purpose, Colo Knowlton and Major Leitch were detached with parties of Riflemen and Rangers to get in their rear, while a disposition was made as if to attack them in front: By some unhappy mistake, the fire was commenced from that Quarter, rather on their Flank than in their rear; by which Means, though the Enemy were defeated and pushed off the Ground, yet they had an Opportunity of retreating to their Main Body."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 6
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi06.html

Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library

http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/

In official and unofficial writings, Washington referred to Morgan and his riflemen in a number of different ways: "Corps of Rangers" "the Rifle Men," "Col. Morgan with the Rifle Regt.," and, as shown in two letters below, composed on the same day, "Colo. Morgan's Corps of Rifle Men (or Riflemen);" it is apparent that he equated Rangers with Riflemen and vice versa, but what he had to say about their capabilities was vastly more important:


"To MAJOR GENERAL ISRAEL PUTNAM
Head Qurs., Bucks County, August 16, 1777.
    Dear Sir: I have your favour of the 14th. instant. Just before it came to hand I had received the intelligence which it contained from Genl. Clinton. The people in the Northern Army seem so intimidated by the Indians that I have determined to send up Colo. Morgan's Corps of Rifle Men who will fight them in their own way. They march from Trenton to morrow Morning and will reach Peeks Kill with all expedition. You will please to have sloops ready to carry them and provision laid in, that they may not wait a moment. The Corps consists of Five hundred Men. Be pleased to let me have an exact return of your numbers, both Continental and Provincial, that I may form a Judgment of the propriety of detaching any more force to the Northward. Remark to what time your Provincials are engaged. I am etc.
    P.S. 500. is the true Strength of Morgan's Corps, but it will answer a good purpose if you give out they are double that number.10 "

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 9,  
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi09.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/



"To GOVERNOR GEORGE CLINTON
Head Qurs., Camp at Cross Roads, August 16, 1777.
...I am forwarding, as fast as possible, to join the Northern Army, Col. Morgan's Corps of Riflemen, amounting to about 500 Men. These are all chosen Men Selected from the Army at large; well acquainted with, the use of Rifles and with that mode of Fighting, which is Necessary to make them a good Counterpoise to the Indians, and have distinguished themselves on a variety of occasions Since the formation of the Corps, in Skirmishes with the Enemy. I expect the most eminent Services from them and I shall be mistaken, if their presence does not go far towards producing a general Desertion among the Savages. I should think it would be well, even before their arrival to begin to circulate these Ideas, with proper Embellishments, throughout the Country, and in the army and to take pains to communicate them to the Enemy. It would not be amiss, among other Things, to magnify Numbers..."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 9,  
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi09.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/
 

Horatio Gates letter to George Washington, 22 August 1777
[Headquarters,Van Schaick  Island,August 22, 1777]

"....I cannot sufficiently thank your Excellency for sending Colonel Morgan’s corps to this army.  They will be of the greatest service to it for until the late successes this way I am told the army were quite panic struck by the Indians and their Tory and Canadian assassins in Indian dressers.  Horrible indeed have been the cruelties they have wantonly committed upon many of the miserable inhabitants, inasmuch as it is not fair for General Burgoyne, even if the bloody hatchet he has so barbarously used should find its way into his own head."

FamilyTales - letters from historic figures
http://www.familytales.org/results.php?year=1777

Magnanimously dispatching Morgan's Rifle Corps north left Washington without a Ranger-Rifle
capability, which he would openly regret; he was soon confronting Howe amphibious campaign and approach on Philadelphia from the south; the General, who always desired to model his army on the British, called for Light Infantry to be formed:

"GENERAL ORDERS
Head Quarters, Wilmington, August 30, 1777.

Brigadier Genl. Maxwell will take the Command of the corps of light Infantry."

"To BRIGADIER GENERAL WILLIAM MAXWELL
½ after 8 OClock P.M., August 30, 1777.

    Sir: It seems to be the Opinion of several of the prisoners and also of the deserters that have lately come out, that the Enemy intend to move to morrow morning. How well founded this Idea may be, I cannot tell, but I thought it right to communicate it to you, that you may be watchful and guarded on all the Roads.
    It will be well to place some of your Men at the pass on the Road which has been represented to be so advantageous, attending at the same time to the rest. If the Enemy come on, they will be well posted and may have an Opportunity of annoying them greatly. If otherwise, their being there will do no harm. They should be directed to lie quiet and still, and ought to be posted early to night, as the Enemy will most probably move, if they do at all, between two and three O'Clock. I am etc.19 "

"To THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS
Wilmington, August 30, 1777.

    Sir: Since I had the Honor of addressing you Yesterday, Nothing of Importance has occurred and the Enemy remain, as they then were. I was reconnoitring the Country and different Roads all Yesterday and am setting out on the same business again.
    Sensible of the advantages of Light Troops, I have formed a Corps under the command of a Brigadier, by drafting a Hundred from each Brigade, which is to be constantly near the Enemy and to give them every possible annoyance. I have the honor etc.
    10 o'Clock. This Minute 24 British prisoners arrived, taken yesterday by Captn. Lee of the Light Horse.21"
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 9
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi09.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


But getting Morgan's Corps of Rangers or Rifles back to his own army was still Washington's desire, as is made manifest in his instructions and correspondence to and from his key generals:




"To MAJOR GENERAL HORATIO GATES
Camp near Potts Grove, September 24, 1777.
    Sir: This Army has not been able to oppose Genl. Howe's with the success that was wished and needs a Reinforcement. I therefore request, if you have been so fortunate, as to oblige Genl. Burgoyne to retreat to Ticonderoga, or if you have not, and circumstances will admit, that you will order Colo. Morgan to join me again with his Corps. I sent him up, when I thought you materially wanted him, and if his services can be dispensed with now, you will direct his immediate return. You will perceive, I do not mention this by way of command, but leave you to determine upon it according to your situation. If they come, they should proceed by Water from Albany, as low down as Peeks Kill, In such case you will give Colo. Morgan, the necessary orders to join me with dispatch. I am etc."

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 9
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi09.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/



Horatio Gates letter to George Washington, 5 October 1777
"Head-Quarters, Camp, Behmus's Heights, 

SIR,
Since the action of the 19th ultimo, the enemy have kept the ground they occupied the morning of that day, and fortified their camp. The advanced sentries of my pickets are posted within shot, and opposite the enemy's. Neither side have given ground an inch. In this situation, your Excellency would not wish me to part with the corps the army of General Burgoyne are most afraid of. From the best intelligence, he has not more than three weeks provision in store ; it will take him at least eight days to get back to Ticonderoga ; so that, in a fortnight at farthest, he must decide whether he will rashly risk, at infinite disadvantage, to force my camp, or retreat to his den. In either case, I must have the fairest prospect to be able to reenforce your Excellency, in a more considerable manner than by a single regiment."
FamilyTales - letters from historic figures
http://www.familytales.org/results.php?year=1777




"To LIEUTENANT COLONEL
ALEXANDER HAMILTON
Head Qurs., Philada. County, October 30, 1777.
"...I expect you will meet Colo. Morgan's Corps upon their way down; if you do, let them know how essential their Services are to us and desire the Colo. or commanding Officers to hasten their march, as much as is consistent with the health of the men after their late fatigues."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 9
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi09.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


"To MAJOR GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE Head Quarters, White Marsh, November 22, 1777.
"...There are not more than one hundred and Seventy of Morgan's Corps fit to march, as they in general want Shoes, they went Yesterday and will join you I suppose this day..."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 10
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi10.html

Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


Nathanel Greene to Washington, 26 November 1777
" We have a fine body of troops, and in fine spirits, and every one appears to wish to come to action. I proposed to the gentlemen drawing up in front of the enemy, and to attack their picket, and to endeavor to draw them out, but they were all against it from the improbability of the enemy's coming out. The Marquis, with about four hundred militia and the rifle corps, attacked the enemy's picket last evening, killed about twenty and wounded as many more, and took about twenty prisoners. The Marquis is charmed with the spirited behavior of the militia and rifle corps ; they drove the enemy above half a mile, and kept the ground until dark. The enemy's picket consisted of about three hundred, and were reinforced during the skirmish. The Marquis is determined to be in the way of danger.1
...I propose to leave General Varnum's brigade and the rifle corps at this place for a few days, especially the riflemen, who cover the country very much. ..."p. 527
The life of Nathanael Greene: major-general in the army...,Volume 1, by George Washington Greene, 1867
http://books.google.com/books?id=3HxKAAAAYAAJ



That same day Lafayette wrote to Washington concerning this "Battle of Gloucester:"
"I had ten light horse with Mr. Lindsey, almost a hundred and fifty riflemen, under Colonel Butler ( [Lieutenant Colonel Richard Butler of Morgan's), and two pickets of the militia, commanded by Colonels Hite and Ellis..my whole body was not three hundred....I take the greatest pleasure to let you know that the conduct of our soldiers .is above all praises ; . I never saw men so merry, so spirited, so desirous to-go on to the enemy, whatever forces they could have, as that small party was in this little fight. I found the riflemen above even their reputation, and the militia above all expectations I could have; I returned to them my very sincere thanks this morning. I wish that this little success of ours may please you, though a very trifling one, I find it very interesting on account of the behaviour of our soldiers. I must tell, too, that the riflemen had been the whole day running before my horse, without eating or taking any rest." p. 53-54
The life of Gilbert Motier de Lafayette: a marquis of France; a general in the American and French revolutions; the compatriot and friend of Washington; the champion of American independence, and of the rights and liberties of mankind : from numerous and authentick sources, by Ebenezer Mack, Jules Cloquet, 1842
http://books.google.com/books?id=Zx0RAAAAYAAJ

"To THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS Head Qurs., White Marsh, December 10, 1777.
  "Sir:...[decribes events of the Battle of Whitemarsh]...We lost Twenty Seven Men in Morgans Corps in killed  and wounded, besides Major Morris,4  a Brave and gallant Officer, who is among the latter."
[Note: Maj. Joseph Morris, of the First New Jersey Regiment. ]*
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 10
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi10.html

Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/

(It's hard to track this officer's first name and state of commission, La Crosse on page 10, refers to him as Jacob Morris, Cecere has him as Joseph Morris on page 154 - some had him from Maryland; Heitman, page 403 has as Joseph Morris from NJ, with no mention of service with Morgan, but killed at Whitemarsh, 5 Dec 77 - there was a Jacob Morris from NY - from the prominent Morris family - who was an aide to General's Lee and Greene and survived the war) Richard La Crosse & Michael Cecere (referenced below)
some sleuthing:
"HANNAH MORRIS.
Decr. Term 1779 in favor of the Widw. Hannah Morris.
A Certificate was presented to the Court in the words following : "I hereby certify that Major Joseph Morris, of the Troops of the State of Newjersey, who was appointed Major in the light corps commanded by Coll. Morgan was wounded in the Head, in an action with the Enemy about the 6th December 1778, at Edgehill in the State of Pennsylvania and that he Died in consequence sometime after. I acted as Lieut. Coll. in the corps with him at the time, and am certain of the fact.
"Richd. Butler Coll.
"9th. Pensa. Regt."
Maj 'r Morris a brave & Meritorious officer was wounded and
Died as certifyed above
"G. Washington."

p. 91
Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, by New Jersey Historical Society, 1916

http://books.google.com/books?id=tXM5AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover

"Joseph Morris, son of Stephen Morris and , born December 3, 1734, married Hannah Ford, April 12, 1759, died October 12, 1783. Active in French and Indian wars. Major in Col. Daniel Morgan's Rangers; shot at White Marsh, December 6, 1777, died of wounds January 4, 1778. General Washington wrote in a letter referring to the engagement at White Marsh: " We lost twenty-seven men beside Major Morris, a brave and gallant officer." His descendants have two autograph letters from LaFayette, one written to his son and the other to a friend, expressing solicitude for his widow."p. 100
Genealogy of the Morris family:...by Lucy Ann Morris Carhart, Charles Alexander Nelson, 1911
http://books.google.com/books?id=-xA5AAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover 




"GENERAL ORDERS, 22 June 1778

Each Brigade is to furnish an active, spirited Officer and twenty five of it's best marksmen immediately; These parties to join Colo. Morgan's Corps and continue under his command 'till the Enemy pass thro' the Jerseys after which they are to rejoin their Regiments without further orders."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 12
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi12.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


The Battle of Monmouth was fought on June 28, 1778 in New Jersey - the last major battle in the north. The British would occupy New York city and Washington's Continental Army would position itself on watch north at White Plains.

"Shortly after the battle of Monmouth, June 2d, 1778, Col. William Butler was ordered to Schoharie, New York, with his regiment [4th Pennsylvania], and a detachment from Morgan's rifles and other units, all under Major James Parr,*  late of First Pennsylvania, and Capt. Long, of the Maryland line, to defend the frontiers of New York, and to chastise the Indians...A return among the Hand Papers dated at Sehoharie October 1778 gives the strength of the Fourth...[and the] Rifle corps, one major, four captains, four lieutenants, one ensign, total strength one hundred and twenty two ."p. 484
[*not "Thomas" Parr as Michael Cecere incorrectly cites on pages 163 from George Clinton Papers, which does not give Parr's first name, and on page 167  he cites Richard La Crosse, page 38, but nowhere does LaCrosse use the name Thomas Parr, only James.  Cecere's mistake was made by GW himself see below]
Richard La Crosse & Michael Cecere (referenced below)

PENNSYLVANIA WAR OF THE REVOLUTION BATTALIONS AND LINE 1775 1783,Pennsylvania archives, 1880 
http://books.google.com/books?id=4z0OAAAAIAAJ



"To THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS
Camp near White Plains, July 22, 1778.
"....The accounts from the Western frontiers of Tryon County are distressing. The spirit of the Savages seems to be roused, and they appear determined on mischief and havoc, in every Quarter. By a letter from Governor Clinton of the 21st, they have destroyed Springfield and Andreas Town, and are marching towards the settlements on the West branch of the Delaware. Their incursions are extremely embarrassing to our other affairs, and, I think, will justify a conclusion that Sir Henry Clinton's intention was to operate up the North River. Whether it may have changed with circumstances, cannot be determined. I have detached the 4th Pensylvania Regiment and the remains of Morgans corps under Lt. Colo Butler, and also Colo. Graham 8  with a York State regiment, to co-operate with the Militia and to check the Indians if possible, Colo Butler is an enterprising good Officer, and well acquainted with the savage mode of warfare; and I am persuaded whatever comes within the compass of his force and abilities will be done. I have the Honor etc...."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 12
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi12.html

Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/
 



Return of the Rifle Corps Under Captain Thomas Posey.
Return of the Detachment of Rifle Men Under the Command of Capt. Commandant Thomas Posey. Albany July 28th 1778. p. 588 (note - no first name given for Captains Long and Parr.)

Public papers of George Clinton, first Governor of New York, 1777-1795, 1801, by New York (State). Governor (1777-1795 : Clinton), George Clinton
http://books.google.com/books?id=3rZh3-25UfUC&printsec=frontcover



"GENERAL ORDERS
Head Quarters, W. Plains, Saturday, August 8, 1778.
For the Safety and Ease of the Army and to be in greater readiness to attack or repel the Enemy, The Commander in Chief for these and many other Reasons orders and directs that a Corps of Light Infantry composed of the best, most hardy and active Marksmen and commanded by good Partizan Officers be draughted from the several Brigades to be commanded by Brigadier General Scott, 'till the Committee of Arrangement shall have established the Light Infantry of the Army agreeable to a late Resolve of Congress."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 12 
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi12.html

Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


"To BRIGADIER GENERAL CHARLES SCOTT
  Head Quarters, August 14, 1778.
    Sir: With the detachment of light troops under your command you are to take post in front of our camp and in such a position as may appear best calculated to preserve the security of your own corps and cover this army from surprise. For the better execution of these purposes you will make yourself master of all the roads leading to the enemy's lines. You will keep up a constant succession of scouting parties as large as can possibly be spared from the detachment without harrassing it by too severe duty.  These parties are to penetrate as near the enemy's lines as possible, and to continue within observing distance at all times. In order that these parties may avoid all surprise, they will have their evenings position well reconnoitred, and choose it at a greater distance than the ground which they occupied during the day. They will move to it under circumstances the least liable to excite attention, and be careful not to kindle fires in the night, as these might betray their situation. These parties will make you, constant reports of their discoveries, and you will give me the earliest and fullest intelligence of all occurrences worthy of notice."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 12 
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi12.html

Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/



Charles Scott's Light Infantry, reinforced with Dragoons, would skirmish with the British outside of New York until customary disbandment in the winter; with troops returning to their respective regiments.



"To BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES CLINTON
Head Quarters, Fredericksburg, November 27, 1778.
      Dear Sir: In a letter from General Hand of the 20th. instant, he transmitted a memorial from Major Whitcomb (who commands a Corps of Rangers) to Congress, in which he complains of want of regular pay for his own Corps and three companies of provincials under his command, who were engaged till December. The principal bar to obtaining his pay seems to have been the want of being properly mustered. Genl. Hand in his letter says he had desired a Deputy Muster Master to go up to these Corps. If therefore their pay Rolls are produced to the pay Master at Albany made out agreeable to the musters be pleased to direct him to discharge them, and to continue so to do in future upon application made in proper form."

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 13 

http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi13.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


"To MAJOR THOMAS POSEY

 Middle Brook, December 20, 1778.
    Sir: Your presence with the Regt. to which you belong is now necessary, you will therefore on the receipt of this repair here. I have written to the commanding Officer at Albany, if he thinks the corps you command can be spared to order the Troops that compose it to join their respective Regts. of this you will be informed, but you will lose no time in coming yourself. I am &ca."

[Notes: Of the Seventh Virginia Regiment. He was made lieutenant colonel in September, 1782; transferred to the First Virginia Regiment in January, 1783; retired in March, 1783; brigadier general, U.S. Army, February, 1793; resigned in February, 1794....Washington forwarded this letter to Posey, through Brig. Gen. James Clinton, in a short note of this same date (December 20) in which he expressed a desire to have the ranger corps, to which Posey had been detailed, disbanded, if its services could be dispensed with and the detachments composing it returned to their respective regiments, "but this is left for yourself to decide according to the occasion you may see for detaining it. I am however anxious it should take place." This letter is in the Washington Papers.]
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 13
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi13.html 

Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


General James Clinton decided against disbandment of the Rifle Corps under Thomas Posey at this time. Captain Posey served as Captain Commandant of the "remains" of  Morgan's riflemen - about one hundred men under James Parr and Gabriel Long. Eventually Posey left and James Parr assumed overall command. This contingent rendered highly effective service during the Sullivan Expedition or Campaign , also known as the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition during the summer of 1779; a successful expedition to retaliate and destroy the pro-British tribal villages of the Iroquois Confederacy.


General James Clinton's "...force consisted of the Third, (Colonel Gansevoort's), the Fourth, (Lieutenant Colonel Weissenfels'), and the Fifth (Colonel Dubois'), New York Regiments, the Sixth Massachusetts, (Colonel Alden's), the Fourth Pennsylvania (Colonel Richard Butler's) and four companies of Morgan's Rifles under Major James Parr, amounting in all to about sixteen hundred men, together with two pieces of artillery." pp. 352-353
fn-"Morgan's Partizan Corps," which played an important part in the military operations of the war, was a rifle corps of the best marksmen selected from existing regiments organized by General Washington himself in the summer of 1777, of which Daniel Morgan of Virginia was made colonel; Richard Butler of Pennsylvania, Lieutenant Colonel ; and Joseph Morris of New Jersey[Maryland?], Major. Its strength when enlisted was total officers and men;from Virginia, 183; Maryland, 65; Pennsylvania, 193 ; of which Capt. Parr, 2 Subalterns and 50 privates were from the First Keg't; from other states, 87; making a total of 538. Shortly after the battle of Monmouth, a detachment under Major Parr, consisting of the companies of Capt. Gabriel Long of Maryland, Captain Michael Simpson and Lieutenant Thomas Boyd of Pennsylvania, and the Fourth Pennsylvania Reg't were ordered to Schoharie to defend the borders of New York from the Six Nations, where they joined Clinton In the Western Expedition. James Parr was from Buffalo Valley near New Columbia, Penna., and First Lieutenant in Captain Lowdon's Company, June 25. 1775, promoted to Captain in the First Pennsylvania, July, 1776, to Major. Oct. 9, 1778. He commanded the Sixth Company of the Rifles, a man of great courage and boldness, cool and undaunted. His hiatory, subsequent to the Revolution, seems to be lost. He died prior to 1804." p. 354
Journals of the military expedition of Major General John Sullivan against the Six nations of Indians in 1779: by New York (State), Secretary's Office, Frederick Cook, 1887
http://books.google.com/books?id=fTYOAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover


Revolutionary Rangers: Daniel Morgan's Riflemen and their role on the Northern Frontier, 1778-1783, by Richard B. La Crosse, 2002
http://books.google.com/books?id=ygO3c-24NxwC&printsec=frontcover


(see Richard La Crosse and Michael Cecere (referenced below) for excellent narratives of these understrength remnants of Morgan's and their campaign exploits.  Michael Cecere provided new inspiration for an expanded story-line for the revision of this blog post, based on George Washington's writings.  I bought his book too - thanks stranger! 


"To PRESIDENT JOSEPH REED
Head Quarters, March 3, 1779.
"...offensive operations against the hostile tribes of Indians had been meditated and determined upon some time since....With respect to the force to be employed on this occasion, it is scarcely necessary to observe that the detaching a considerable number of Continental Troops on such a remote expedition, would too much expose the Country adjacent to the body of the Enemys Army. There must therefore be efficacious assistance derived from the States whose frontiers are obnoxious to the inroads of the barbarians, and for this I intended at a proper time to make application....They should be Corps of active Rangers  who are at the same time expert marksmen and accustomed to the irregular kind of wood fighting practiced by the Savages. Men of this description, embodied under proper officers, would be infinitely preferable to a superior number of Militia unacquainted with this species of war and who would exhaust the magazines of Ammunition and provision without rendering any effectual service. It will be a very necessary attention to avoid the danger of short enlistments; their service should be limited only by the expedition or a term amply competent to it, otherwise we may be exposed to having their engagements expire at some interesting, or perhaps critical juncture. I have the honor etc." 

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 14  
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi14.html


Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


"To PRESIDENT JOSEPH REED
Head Quarters, Middle Brook, April 19, 1779.
 I shall not fail to recommend to the Officer, who will command upon the Susquehannah, the cultivation of a good understanding between the settlers at Wyoming and the inhabitants of Northumberland County. Upon estimating the force necessary to be employed in the intended expedition, so as to give the most probable assurance of success, I find, that it will require more troops than can possibly be spared from the Continental Army, without weakening our main Body to that degree, that it will be ever liable to be insulted, if not materially injured by the Enemy, should they move out. I am therefore under the necessity of making application to the State of Pennsylvania for the aid of six hundred Militia, including the Companies of Rangers, to continue in service, three Month's from the 1st June if the laws or any power vested in the executive Council will authorize the calling them out for so long a time. They must come provided with Arms, as, from the exhausted State of the Continental Magazines, they cannot be supplied from thence. You will oblige me by letting me know as early as possible whether this demand can be complied with, fully in point of term of service, and if not, for the longest time that the Men may be depended upon. They are to rendezvous at Sunbury by the 10th of May.
      I imagine the Western Militia will be called out upon this service. They are infinitely to be preferred on many accounts, but particularly from their being used to the Indian mode of War, which is apt to make very fatal impressions upon Men not acquainted with that kind of Enemy.
      I would not presume to nominate the Officer who should take the command of this Body of Men, but I hope I shall stand excused when I mention Brig: Genl: Potter. From my knowledge of his Abilities, and his acquaintance with the kind of Service upon which these Men are to be employed, I should be very happy should the State think proper to confer the command upon him...."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 14  
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi14.html

Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


"GENERAL ORDERS
Head Quarters, Smith's Tavern, Saturday, June 12, 1779.
 The following formation of the three divisions of the Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania troops is immediately to take place for the present campaign:
[Table]
 The companies of Light Infantry are to be immediately drawn out agreeable to this proportion. The officers commanding regiments will be particularly careful in the choice of the men, which is a duty, the good of the service and the credit of their respective regiments equally demand; When it is considered that in every army the honor of a regiment and that of its Light Company are intimately connected, the officer commanding it cannot but be solicitous to furnish men that will support the reputation of his regiment....
    A Captain, Subaltern and three Serjeants are to be appointed to each company."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 15
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi15.html

Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


"INSTRUCTIONS TO BRIGADIER GENERAL ANTHONY WAYNE
Head Quarters, New Windsor, July 1, 1779.
     Sir: Having appointed you to the command of the light infantry of the line you will immediately repair to that part of it (consisting of four batalions now commanded by Col. Butler) which is in the vicinity of Fort Montgomery, and take the command." 
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 15
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi15.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


This would be the final straw for Daniel Morgan; not selected for this prestigious command and feeling unappreciated, he resigned - only to return to earn even greater glory in the Southern Campaign.  

"Mad Anthony" Wayne would lead the Light Infantry in storming the heights of Stoney Point on 15 July, 1779 - an illustrious victory  gained at the point of the bayonet.

Nevertheless, both the rifle troops and the Light Infantry Corps (December 5, 1779) were disbanded at the end of the year and ordered back to their original regiments, as was customary for detached units during the winter months. Cecere, p. 172

"GENERAL ORDERS
 Head Quarters, Moore's House, Sunday, November 7, 1779.
The officers and privates composing the rifle corps under the command of Major Parr, are all to join their respective regiments. The Major will see that all the rifles and their proper bullet moulds &c., are collected and numbered to prevent their being mixed or seperated, and have them then delivered to the Commissary of Military Stores and take his receipt for the same. The Commissary is to cause the rifles &c. to be carefully boxed up and is not to deliver any of them without an order from the Commander in Chief. Muskets are to be drawn for the men in lieu of the rifles. The General cannot dissolve this corps without offering his particular thanks to the officers and soldiers remaining in it for their long, faithful and important services."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 17
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi17.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/




They Are Indeed a Very Useful Corps: American Riflemen in the Revolutionary War, by Michael Cecere, Heritage Books, 2006

http://books.google.com/books?id=HECbH-KCxMUC&printsec=frontcover

also
Captain Thomas Posey and the 7th Virginia Regiment, by Michael Cecere, 2005
http://books.google.com/books?id=lN32URn4rlcC&printsec=frontcover

An officer of very extraordinary merit: Charles Porterfield and the American War for Independence, 1775-1780, By Michael Cecere, 2004
http://books.google.com/books?id=6448ThfE3sgC&printsec=frontcover


JOURNAL OF CHARLES PORTERFIELD...while a prisoner of war in Quebec  - Publications of the Southern History Association, Volume 6, by Southern History Association, 1902, pp. 113-131
http://books.google.com/books?id=5hwLAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover


The following year would see the British launch their Southern Campaign and the story of southern riflemen would come to the fore.  See my post:
Riflemen in the "back-country" - Longhunters - Piedmont men - Overmountain men - Long Knives

However, Washington's efforts to maintain a "Continental Army" Ranger or Rifle Corps capability in the north did not end with Morgan and his Rifle Corps, as we see in the following correspondence from the summer of 1780 to the summer of 1781.

"GENERAL ORDERS
Head Quarters, Pracaness, Wednesday, July 26, 1780. 

Instead of the light Infantry directed by the order of the 16th. instant, the 1st. and 3d. Pennsylvania regiments will furnish a company of rifle men each of forty two rank and file. If these regiments have not the number of riflemen requisite the deficiency is to be drawn from the other regiments of that line and the aforemention'd regiments will furnish an equal number of men to the others in Exchange. Major Parr will take command of these two Companies and will take immediate measures for preparing Arms and Accoutrements...."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 19
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi19.html  
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


"GENERAL ORDERS
Head Quarters, Pracaness, Thursday, July 27, 1780.
" The Army will hold itself in readiness to march at the shortest notice.
  The Two rifle companies directed to be formed in the order of yesterday will for the present only consist of twenty rank and file pr Company, they are to be completed to forty two from the Levies who are fit for this Service, as fast as they arrive....The officers for the Companies of riflemen are to be such as are acquainted with the nature of that service. A Captain, sub and three serjeants are to be appointed to each Company of riflemen from the regiments from which the men are drafted...." 

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 19
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi19.html  
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/



Nevertheless it was a period that turned out to be one of relative inactivity - combat-wise - but busy with planning and choosing how to evict the British from the north.

"On August 1, 1780, at Springfield, New Jersey, the Corps of Light Infantry was again formed, and on August 7 assigned to the command of the Marquis de LaFayette in the Light Division. At his own expense, Lafayette improved and standardized a distinctive uniform for the light infantry, including swords, espontoons, brass belt buckles and cap plates, and red-and-black plumed hats (later switched for plumed leather helmets)....Numbering 2,000 men, it had six battalions organized as two brigades:..." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Continental_Army_units

"GENERAL ORDERS
Head Quarters, Peekskill, Tuesday, August 1, 1780.
Watchword Discipline.
'Till the absent Corps join the Army and a more complete Arrangement can be made for the Campaign the following formation for the Light Infantry is to take place.
[TABLES]...
The General entreats the officers commanding Divisions and brigades to exert themselves to get in readiness as fast as possible and as fast as they are ready they are to move towards the New bridge on Croton river...
The two Brigades of Light Infantry will compose a Division and form the Advanced corps of the Army.
    Major General the Marquis de la Fayette will command it for the Campaign; in his absence Major General St. Clair is requested to take the command.
    EVENING ORDERS
    The whole corps of Light Infantry is to be paraded tomorrow ten o'clock on the same ground they were paraded on this afternoon, where the Brigades and Battalions will be formed and after wards will encamp by themselves...."  
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 19
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi19.html  
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


This corps was broken up on November 27, 1780. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Continental_Army_units
 
"GENERAL ORDERS
   Head Quarters, New Windsor, Thursday, February 1, 1781.
    Light Infantry companies are to be immediately formed -- one from each regiment, and to consist of: One Captain, Two Subalterns, Four Serjeants, One Drum, One Fife and for the present, Twenty five rank and file.
    The honor of every regiment is so much interested in the appearance and behavior of the Light troops which are a representation of the whole Army that the General exhorts and expects the commanding officers of them will exert themselves to make a judicious choice for the formation of their respective companies. The Assistant Inspector General is to review each company and reject every man who in his opinion is not likely to answer the above ends. The General would prefer well made men from five feet six to five feet ten inches stature.
    Every regiment that has at this time more than two hundred and twenty five rank and file for duty including those on command and on furlough is to give a full ninth of its number instead of twenty five for the Infantry company, and as the other regiments increase in strength and exceed this number they are to do the like invariably. When these Companies are formed they are to relieve the Troops on the Lines and do duty there by rotation in such manner as Major General Heath shall direct.
    The General strictly prohibits recruiting men belonging to one State into the Regiments assigned as the Quota of another State. "

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 21 
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi21.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/



On February 5 Washington wrote also to Maj. Gen. Robert Howe that he "would not wish Major Galvan to place any dependance on a Command in tile Light Corps the ensuing Campaign. These appointments having commonly been made in some measure by Rotation." This letter is in the Washington Papers .


"GENERAL ORDERS
Head Quarters, New Windsor, Friday, February 16, 1781.
...The Light companies are immediately to be augmented to fifty rank and file each with an additional serjeant and are to rendezvous the 19th. at Peekskill prepared for a march. They are to be completed in shoes. The former directions concerning the greatest care in the choice of the men are repeated; the Adjutant General will inspect the companies when formed and exchange all the men who have been indifferently chosen."

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 21 
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi21.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/

This Light Infantry corps, under Lafayette, was sent to oppose Cornwallis in Virginia. With reductions in the size of the regulars, the corps consisted of three battalions, with an approximate strength of 1,200.
This left only Scammell's Light Infantry Continentals available in the New York area.
"To COLONEL ALEXANDER SCAMMELL
   Head Quarters, New Windsor, May 17, 1781.
    Dear Sir: I have recd. intelligence that a party of the Enemy are establishing themselves at or near Fort Lee and building a Block House or some kind of Work. If they are permitted to compleat their plan they will not only be difficult to remove but they will harrass the Country from thence and may be much in the way of some future operation. When I formed the Battalion, which you at present command, it was with a view of having a Corps ready to execute a project of the kind which I shall propose to you, which is to endeavour to strike, by surprise, the party above mentioned. You will, without loss of time, see Captain Lawrence 40 who commands the York Levies near Dobbs Ferry and concert measures with him for gaining certain intelligence of the real strength and situation
    [Note:Capt. Jonathan Lawrence, jr., of the New York levies. He was made captain of Sappers and Miners in June. 1781, and resigned in November, 1782. ]
of the Enemy and if you find them such as seem to give you a tolerable certainty of success you will plan your attack in such manner as shall be best warranted from your information. The sooner it is done the better, as the enemy, if they are fortifying will be every day stronger. You will take Captain Lawrence under your command with the Levies of New York and any Jersey Militia that you may find embodied, but you will trust no Officer among them nor any other but Lawrence with your design. He is sensible and appears discreet.
    As I confide very much in your prudence and Judgment I shall only give you these general directions: to attempt nothing which may have the appearance of rashness and to guard well against being drawn into an ambuscade or being intercepted by a sudden reinforcement from York Island. Captain Lawrence's party who must be acquainted with every foot of the Ground ought to secure you against the first, and guards, at the practicable landing places will certainly prevent the last.
    I shall set out in the Morning for Connecticut and shall be absent six or seven days. If you make the attempt I wish you every success. I am etc. "

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 22 ,  
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi22.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/
 
 "To PRESIDENT JOSEPH REED
  Head Quarters, New Windsor, May 27, 1781.
    Sir: I beg leave to inform your Excellency, that at a late conference between His Excellency the Count de Rochambeau and myself it has been agreed, that the principal part of the French Force shall march as soon as circumstances will admit, and form a junction with me upon the North River. The enemy have so exceedingly weakened themselves by repeated detachments to support the War to the southward, that a favourable opportunity seems to present itself of expelling them from New York, or obliging them to recall part of their force to defend the extensive posts dependant upon that Garrison. Could this last be effected, it would essentially relieve the southern States...."

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 22 ,  
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi22.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/

"To PRESIDENT JOSEPH REED
 Head Quarters, New Windsor, June 24, 1781.
      Dear Sir: In the course of our expected operations we shall stand in need of a species of troops, which are not at present to be procured either in this Army or in any of the States to the Northward of Pennsylvania. They are expert Rifle Men. The use of these Men will be to fire into the embrazures and to drive the enemy from their parapets when our approaches are carried very near their Works. Without this can be done, our loss will be immense when we shall come within Musket Shot. General Lincoln informs me that the enemy made use of this mode at the Siege of Charlestown, and that his Batteries were in a manner silenced, untill he opposed the same kind of troops and made it as dangerous for the enemy to shew their Men as it had been before for him to expose his. The number which we shall want will be about three hundred, and I shall be exceedingly obliged to your Excellency, if you will endeavour to procure so many from the Frontier of Pennsylvania.
      Had the quota of Militia from your State come to this Army, I should have endeavoured to have selected the required number from among them. But that not being the case, I think it but reasonable, that the expence of raising the Rifle Men should be Continental. 

I have written to this effect to Congress and have requested the president to signify their approbation to your Excellency if they think proper to accede to it.
I would wish the Corps to be formed into six Companies of 50 each, under the command of a Captain and two subs, the whole to be commanded by a Major. The term of service to the 1st. day of January next. The choice of the Officers I shall leave to your Excellency. If Major Parr formerly of the 7th. Penna. Regt. would engage in such a service, a better Officer could not be found for the purpose. The Bounty cannot now be determined, and therefore it will be with you to procure them on as low terms as possible. But that the business may not be retarded for want of proper encouragement, I would wish you to make yourself acquainted with the Sum which will most probably engage them and offer that, whatever it may be. One of the terms should be that they are to find their own Rifles, as we have none in Store. I shall be glad to hear as soon as possible what probability there will be of succeeding in this undertaking. The greater part of the Men, must be with the Army by the 1st. of Augt. or their services will be useless afterwards. I have the honor etc...."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 22 ,  
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi22.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/



"To THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS
Head Quarters, New Windsor, June 24, 1781.
  Sir:
    ...In the Course of our intended Operations, I shall have Occasion for a Body of about three Hundred expert Rifle Men, for most necessary and essential Services, and as all those of our Troops, composing the Line of the Army, from whence I could hope to draw such a Corps, are gone southward, so that is become impracticable to supply them here. I have written to his Excellency President Reed, begging that he will furnish me with such a Body of Troops from that State to serve with this Army during this Campaign. If Congress should approve the Measure, I have to request, that they will be pleased to signify their Approbation to Mr. President Reed, and enforce this Requisition; accompanying it with a Promise of Prepayment to the State of whatever Bounty they shall engage, with Pay, Rations and compleat Continental Establishment, equal to the other Troops in the Field, during the Time they are in Service, this measure I deem necessary, because I suppose they cannot be raised as Militia. A Corps of Men composed of such expert Marksmen, being in my Opinion, of so very great Importance in the Execution of our Intensions, I have the most sanguine Hope, that this Requisition will meet with a most speedy Success. I have the Honor etc."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 22 ,  
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi22.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/



"To PRESIDENT JOSEPH REED
  Head Quarters, Dobbs Ferry, July 28, 1781.
    Sir: I have been honored with your Excellencys Letter of the 18th inst., and observe with much Pleasure the Train into which the recruiting the proposed Rifle Corps is thrown, and hope they will soon be obtained. As this Body of Men will be exceedingly essential to our Designs, and may be very usefully employed in Detachments, I have to beg of your Excellency that you will be pleased to give Orders, that as fast as they are recruited, they may be marched off for this Camp in small Parties from twenty to thirty in a Party, as they are collected, with proper Officers to conduct the Parties: in this Mode our Operations may not be delayed by waiting for the whole Corps to be completed before we receive the Benefits of their Services.
    I am rejoiced to be informed the Prospects you have for filling the Line of your Continental Troops, and most sincerely hope your Success may be equal to your most sanguine Expectations.
    The inclosed Letter for Majr Parr, is left open for your Excellency's Observation, and is recommended to your particular Care to be forwarded. I have the Honor etc.
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 22 ,  
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi22.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/

"To MAJOR THOMAS* PARR
  Head Quarters, Dobbs's ferry, July 28, 1781.
      Sir: I am pleased to find by a letter from His Excellency president Reed that you have accepted of the command of the Corps of Rifle Men which are to be raised in Pennsylvania and that there is a probability that the Men will be obtained. As their services are immediately wanted, you will be pleased to send them to Camp in parties from 20 to thirty under the charge of an Officer.
      I observe by the Recruiting instructions that the Men are to be paid for the use of their Rifles if they bring them into the field; this leaves the matter optional, and if a considerable part of them should come unarmed we shall be put to very great difficulties on that account, as we have but few Rifles belonging to the Continent. You will therefore recommend it to the recruiting Officers to procure as many Arms in the Country as they possibly can. I am &c...."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 22 ,
 
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi22.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


George W's mistake? The only listing for a PARR found in Francis Heitman's authoritative source is for:
Parr, James (Pa). 1st Lieutenant of Thompson's Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment, 25th June. 1775; 1st Lieutenant 1st Continental Infantry, 1st January, 1776; Captain, 9th March, 1776; Captain 1st Pennsylvania, 1st January, 1777; Major 7th Pennsylvania, 9th October, 1778; retired 17th January, 1781.
Historical register of officers of the Continental Army during the war of, by Francis Bernard Heitman, p. 427

http://books.google.com/books?id=tZALAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover

["Thomas" Parr is used by Michael Cecere on page 167, citing from Richard La Crosse, page 38, but LaCrosse never refers to Parr other than  bu his first name James.]



This unit, however, was not raised as, shortly thereafter Washington began his movement south to conduct the climatic Yorktown campaign.  Virginia militia riflemen under Colonel William Lewis were planned on to be a part of the besieging forces. 

 "Uniting at Williamsburg, Virginia, on September 24, 1781, both corps were organized again into Lafayette's Light Division of two brigades to lead the advance of the army to Yorktown. The first brigade, commanded by Brig-Gen Peter Muhlenberg, consisted of the regular corps of Vose's, Gimat's, and Barber's battalions. The second brigade, commanded by Brig-Gen Moses Hazen, consisted of Scammel's provisional corps and a battalion formed under the command of Lt-Col Alexander Hamilton from the two light infantry companies of the New York Line. The Canadian Regiment filled out Hazen's brigade." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Continental_Army_units

In the midst of this momentous campaign requiring his best strategic and tactical judgment, Washington still had to deal with the headaches of personnel actions, bruised egos, and wounded feelings:

"To COLONEL ALEXANDER SCAMMELL
  Williamsburg, September 26, 1781.
      Dear Sir: I am always unhappy, when by an Act of mine, I make others unhappy; but when I am conscious that it does not result from Design, or any Impropriety in my Conduct, I am consoled. I have ever esteemed you as a Gentleman, and an Officer. I have ever had a Disposition to oblige you, in every thing I could do with propriety. In proof of it, when I found you was uneasy at not being appointed to the Command of one of the three Battalions which marched to this State with the Marquis De Lafayette, I gave you the next Lt Infantry Corps that was formed. I had no Idea of giving more, or that you expected more; the Annexation of Colo Hamilton's Battn. to your Regiment was local, resulting from the then disposition of the Army, the position we had taken, and the Objects we had to attend to; for the same Reason, Sheldons Horse and the York Compas. at one Time composed your temporary Command; but does it follow, that they were not to be separated from it, and that a Change of Circumstances will not occasion a Change in the Disposition of an Army.
      In this Place, and to remove the Misconception which you seem to be under, Candor obliges me to add, that if the Operation against N York had continued, the probability was, that upon the Augmentation of the Army, (as was expected) the light Corps would have been increased, and placed under the Orders of a Brigadier; not, I will farther add, because I thought it would have been better conducted, but because it would have been more consistent with our Military practice, and the Expectations founded thereon.
      Whether you, or Colo Tupper is the Senior Colo. I did not, nor do I now know. He (I speak from Memory only) commanded the Brigde. in which the Troops of N Hampshire are, while you stood altogether alone with the Regt. of Infantry; this led me to think, that you were either his Junr. or preferred the Command you then had.
      Tho' it is extremely inconvenient to me (when I am pressed in point of Time, by a thousand Occurrences) to go into a Discussion of this Matter, my Regard for you induces me, thus hastily to make these Observations; and to wish, that in the great and important Matter before us, the only Contention among us may be, who shall do most to bring it to a happy and speedy Issue. With much Esteem etc."

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 22 ,  
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi22.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/


"When Scammel was killed in action on October 1, the light infantry companies of the second brigade were reorganized into two battalions, the first consisting of the New Hampshire and five Connecticut provisional companies (commanded by Lt-Col John Laurens), and the second of the New York companies and the four Massachusetts provisionals (commanded by Hamilton)." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Continental_Army_units


Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton (a key Washington staff aide and favorite) was an officer  itching for command and glory and he would play a prominent part in the victory with the capture of Redoubt Number 10.

"The plans prepared by the Commander in Chief of the allied armies for the attack on the two British redoubts, generally referred to as numbers 9 and 10, provided that the American Light Infantry under the Marquis de Lafayette should attack No. 10, situated on the edge of the bluff overlooking the river; and that a detachment of French grenadiers and chasseurs under Major General the Baron Viomesnil [Vioménil] should attack No. 9, located less than 200 yards from the right of where the second parallel ended.
    Lafayette designated the battalion of Lieutenant Colonel Gimat, supported by Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton's battalion, to make the assault on No. 10. A party of 80 men under Lieutenant Colonel Laurens was given the mission of turning the redoubt to prevent the escape of any of its defenders. The entire assaulting party was commanded by Lieut. Col. Alexander Hamilton. The troops advanced in two columns, Gimat's battalion in the lead of the column on the right, followed by Hamilton's battalion, under Major Fish. The detachment under Laurens formed the left column. Ahead of the right column was a vanguard of 20 men and a detachment of sappers and miners. All of Hamilton's troops marched to the assault with unloaded arms, in compliance with Lafayette's orders....The American loss in this action was 44 killed and wounded. The British killed and wounded in redoubt No. 10 did not exceed eight. All others were captured. Hamilton said in his report of the action: Incapable of imitating examples of barbarity, and forgetting recent provocations, the soldiery spared every man that ceased to resist. The loss amongst the French amounted to about 100 killed and wounded. " 

SEIZURE OF REDOUBTS 9 AND 10, YORKTOWN 1781
http://xenophongroup.com/mcjoynt/9and10.htm



http://books.google.com/books?id=0niAAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover

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The Rifle in the American Revolution, by John W. Wright, The American Historical Review
Vol. 29, No. 2 (Jan., 1924), pp. 293-299 -
a critical view

https://www.jstor.org/stable/1838519
"Its slow loading and lack of a bayonet made the rifle weak against the advance of a determined enemy, so this weapon was best adapted to the light troops, which acted outside of the line of the battle. Firing from positions in woods and on rough ground, difficult for the rigid line of the period, they could retreat when pressed and avoid a hand-to-hand engagement. The qualities of the musket and rifle were such that they could not be used together, but they could, in the hands of separate bodies, be combined to their mutual advantage. This idea was expressed by an American military writer in 1811, who said that ‘where the musket ends, the rifle begins’. He also noted that a rifle corps is distinct from any other species of troops and useless in close combat.12"

The Corps of Light Infantry in the Continental Army, by John W. Wright, The American Historical Review Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1926), pp. 454-461
https://www.jstor.org/stable/1840985
"In August, 1778, when the corps was called out for a new campaign under General Scott, we notice in the orders for its reorganization that it began to assume the character of a corps d'elite, as witnessed by the qualifications for the men selected. They were to be the best men, the most hardy and active marksmen, commanded by good partizan officers...The following 'were the remarks placed on the report by the inspector: "The above companies almost to a man are composed of proper sized well built men from five feet seven to five feet nine inches high, who have been in Actualt Service two, three, and Some almost four years, a very few excepted, who are native"....[at Stoney Point] The brilliant assault of the light in- fantry upon the hostile works, July 15, is well known. The advance of their columns with bayonets fixed and muskets unloaded showed the high state of their discipline and training; they were, in fact, a corps d'elite."



Notes on the Continental Army, by John W. Wright, The William and Mary Quarterly, Second Series, Vol. 11, No. 2 and 3, Apr and Jul., 1931,
[As concerns Rifles and Light Infantry, the author provides summaries of his major articles cited above as part of his lengthy discourses on all things Continental - definitely worth the reading!]
"...[Charles F.]Adams' criticisms are mainly destructive but he does on one occasion offer something constructive, which we will now notice. He says that Washington should have assembled Morgan's riflemen and the rangers of Virginia and Pennsylvania (riflemen), and, to use his expression, "jerked them into the saddle." In other words Adams advocates the creation of mounted riflemen, and as a precedent he refers to the Civil War Cavalry and the Boers. This leads us to the American rifle as a weapon and to the thought that sufficient consideration was not here given to the state of development of the rifle at this period....After the Revolution a legend grew around the American rifleman, just such a legend as we saw appear and encircle the Rough Rider in 1898...Adams' views on the Continental cavalry are largely influenced by his service in the Civil War. The Federal cavalry towards the close of the war became a most formidable body, fully capable of independent action as it was equipped with the most modern arms,-swords, pistols and rifled breech loading carbines. This body presented for the first time in history the unusual spectacle of a cavalry with fire power superior to the opposing infantry. Cavalry without fire power, like the Continental, must depend upon infantry support and it has but one mode of action, the mounted charge, which calls for large open plains; but the Revolution did not see its battles on such scenes..."p.98 
[RG - Why not evoke germane precedents such as The OverMountain Men at Kings Mountain, The Kentucky Mounted Riflemen at The Battle of The Thames, or Coffey's Mounted Riflemen in the Creek War?]


Those Tall American Patriots and Their Long Rifles, by Donald R. McDowell, SAR Magazine, Spring 1988     

http://www.revolutionarywararchives.org/life-times-link/182-those-tall-american-patriots-and-their-long-rifles

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 the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. contains line drawings and descriptions of the clothing, equipment and accoutrements of the Frontier Rifleman. - http://www.ajarmsbooksellers.com/cgi-bin/ajarms/1483.html
http://www.amazon.com/Frontier-Rifleman-Richard-Jr-Lacrosse/dp/0913150576

Riflemen of the Revolution, By Maj. John L. Plaster, USAR (Ret.), American Rifleman, 2011

Note: The author uses the term "Morgan's Kentucky Riflemen" - excellent artwork!
http://www.americanrifleman.org/ArticlePage.aspx?id=1351&cid=9
Download PDF of Full Article 

For recent detailed scholarship of note see the Tucker Heintz's article:
Unit History of the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment (1776-1781): Insights from the Service Record of Capt. Adamson Tannehill. , Military Collector & Historian; Fall 2006, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p129-144, 16p
which 
"presents an examination of Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment that served in the U.S. Revolutionary War...The new force would be called the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, with Hugh Stephenson becoming the colonel, Moses Rawlings the lieutenant colonel, and Otho Holland Williams the major, preserving the three officers' relative seniority. However, unlike Pennsylvania's 1st Continental Regiment, the new unit would be an Extra Continental regiment. As such, it was not part of a state line organization because of its two-state composition but was directly responsible to national authority (Congress and the Continental Army)....By the first week of November (1776), the regiment, minus the elements still completing organization and recruiting in Maryland and Virginia, was serving in garrison at Fort Washington on the northern end of Manhattan Island. Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene had decided on 31 October to order the regiment from Fort Lee, New Jersey, to Fort Washington (both under Greene's overall command)...The riflemen tenaciously defended the northern end of the American position from a much larger force of some 4,000 Hessian troops. However, Lt. Col. Moses Rawlings was forced to surrender the main body of the regiment as part of the garrison of Fort Washington on 16 November. Rawlings was commanding the regiment at that time because Colonel Stephenson had died of illness in September and had not been replaced. The colonel's position was being held vacant to allow Capt. Daniel Morgan of the other 1775 Virginia rifle company to be restored to relative seniority once he was released from British captivity...The officers and enlisted men of the Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment ("Rawlings' regiment") not captured in the Battle of Fort Washington continued to serve actively with Washington's Main Army...Partly because Washington had come to consider separate infantry companies inefficient by the end of 1776, in early December he provisionally grouped the Maryland and Virginia remnants of Rawlings' regiment not captured at Fort Washington into two composite rifle companies commanded by the highest ranking officers still free — Capts. Alexander Lawson Smith and Gabriel Long. ...While in winter quarters at Morristown during the winter and early spring of 1777, the Main Army needed to maintain an effective field presence to buy time for the new regiments of Washington's still nascent force to complete their organization and training. Because the units under Capts. Smith and Long provided an experienced, if small, force in being, Washington used them to bolster the 11th Virginia Regiment after its arrival at Morristown in early April. Washington had a clear logic in making this decision: that regiment was built around a cadre from Daniel Morgan's 1775 rifle company (prisoners of war exchanged late in 1776). Returning members of Morgan's 1775 rifle company were re-equipped with muskets because Washington's mobilization plans of late 1776 had created more units than could be filled by true marksmen. In fact, by the end of 1776 Washington called for the elimination of most earlier rifle units, including Pennsylvania's 1st Continental Regiment (reorganized and redesignated by Congress on 1 January 1777 as the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, an infantry unit), requiring that they trade in their rifles and draw muskets as replacements. However, implementation of this regiment's arms exchange was delayed until the late spring of 1777, and several units that performed specific skirmishing duties during the first half of 1777 did serve continuously as riflemen. Specifically, Alexander Lawson Smith's and Gabriel Long's composite companies served alongside these Pennsylvania and other Virginian riflemen to maintain patrols in northern New Jersey during the winter and spring of 1777. The Virginians included representatives of the three-company rifle elements from several of that state's line regiments. (In late January or early February, the effective force of Smith's and Long's companies was temporarily diminished when those members of the units who had not already had smallpox marched to Whippany, just northeast of Morristown. where they underwent inoculation.) In his letter to Lieutenant Gilbert. Captain Smith described several skirmishes and scouting and escort missions in which his rifle company and Rawlings' regiment were involved in early 1777. The two provisional composite companies constituted an administratively autonomous unit from their organization in early December 1776 until April 1777, when Washington formally attached them to the 11th Virginia Regiment. During this chaotic period after the Battle of Fort Washington, they therefore continued in their roles as riflemen....
The success of these rifle units during that skirmishing period, coupled with the arrival of large numbers of new infantry recruits, led Washington to expand the force of riflemen and to group them under unified command. Drawing on the most qualified marksmen from all regiments of the Main Army, in early June 1777 he created additional provisional rifle companies and placed them under the command of Col. Daniel Morgan, calling it the Provisional Rifle Corps. Some of the riflemen of Alexander Lawson Smith's, Gabriel Long's, and William Blackwell's units, as well as others detached from their regular (musket) regiments, were selected to join this regiment-sized force"

http://www.vahistorical.org/research/tann.pdf
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Summary of Morgan and his Riflemen:

The "Continental Rifle Corps" were a light infantry corps of accomplished riflemen.
These units were comprised of 10 companies, each possessing 68 musket infantrymen. Note that the colonial rifle differed from the musket in function and application. Due to the inability of the rifle to accept a bayonet, musket infantrymen were normally used in conjunction with riflemen in order to repel British bayonet charges.


Sent  by General George Washington to assist General Horatio Gates in the Saratoga Campaign, Morgan's Riflemen not only ended the activities of the British Indian allies, they also played a pivotal role in the defeat of the main British army - delivering devastating targeted fire on the enemy and its officer corps, in particular.
Later Morgan's tactical acumen and charismatic leadership would place him as one of, if not, the most successful and outstanding field leaders of the American Revolution - but among the least remembered. 

"In the bloody battle of Freeman's Farm, 19 September, in which Arnold frustrated Burgoyne's attempt to dislodge the American left wing from Bemis Heights, Morgan played a principal part; and in the final conflict of 7 October, in which the British army was wrecked, his services were equally eminent. It is said that when Burgoyne was introduced to Morgan, after the surrender at Saratoga, he seized him by the hand and exclaimed, "My dear sir, you command the finest regiment in the world In the great work of overthrowing Burgoyne, the highest credit is due to Morgan, along with Arnold, Herkimer, and Stark. History has not been kind to the "Old Wagoner" or to the men that served under him in the siege of Boston, in the assault on Quebec, the destruction of Burgoyne's army at Saratoga, and his devastating defeat of Banester Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpen's."
Morgan, Daniel, in Appleton's cyclopædia of American biography, Volume 4, by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske, 1888
http://books.google.com/books?id=fGwsAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover

This "Continental Rifle Corps" also participated in the Battle of Monmouth, though their true potential was not realized in that battle. 
In command at Cowpens, sans his beloved Corps, Morgan's perceptive tactics saved the American Army, and the Revolution,with a smashing victory.
"
"By the act of 9th March, 1781, "The United States in Congress assembled, considering it as a tribute due to distinguished merit to give a public approbation of the conduct of Brigadier-General Morgan, and of the officers and men under his command on the 17th day of January last, when, with 80 cavalry and 237 infantry of the troops of the United States and 553 militia from the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, he obtained a complete and important victory over a select and well-appointed detachment of more than 1,100 British troops, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton, do therefore resolve, that the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled be given to Brigadier-General Morgan, and the officers and men under his command, for their fortitude and good conduct displayed in the action at the Cowpens, in the State of South Carolina, on the 17th day of January last; that a medal of gold be presented to Brigadier-General Morgan, with emblems and mottoes descriptive of his conduct on that memorable day." Served to close of war. (Died 6th July, 1802.)"

Historical register of officers of the Continental Army during the war of, by Francis Bernard Heitman, p. 427
http://books.google.com/books?id=tZALAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover

General Daniel Morgan: The Hero of Cowpens, by Lynn Tew Sprague, Outing. 48: 228-34. My. '06.
http://books.google.com/books?id=YKthAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA228

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."
http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1956/3/1956_3_34.shtml
http://jrshelby.com/kimocowp/cp.htm



"The following note from Colonel Trumbull, will illustrate the peculiar costume of the portrait we have selected of General Morgan, for the purpose of preserving an interesting relic of the revolution.
Sir,
You expressed an apprehension, that the rifle-dress of General Morgan may be mistaken hereafter for a wagoner's frock, which he, perhaps, wore when on the expedition with General Braddock; there is no more resemblance between the two dresses, than between tt cloak and a coat; the wagoner's frock was intended, as the present cartman's, to cover and protect their other clothes, and is merely a long coarse shirt reaching below the knee; the dress of the Virginia rifle-men who came to Cambridge in 1775, (among whom was Morgan,) was an elegant loose dress reaching to the middle of the thigh, ornamented with fringes in various parts, and meeting the pantaloons of the same material and color, fringed and ornamented in a corresponding style. The officers wore the usual crimson sash over this, and around the waist, the straps, belts, &c., were black, forming, in my opinion, a very picturesque and elegant, as well as useful dress. It cost a trifle; the soldier could wash it at any brook he passed; and however worn and ragged and dirty his other clothing might be, when this was thrown over it, he was in elegant uniform.

I remember to have seen in Connecticut a regiment of militia drawn up for review, of which the battalion companies had adopted this rifle-dress of white linen with black straps and hats. A grenadier company had been selected of the tallest and finest men, and dressed at considerable expense in a handsome uniform of blue coats and scarlet under-dress. I first saw the regiment at the distance of half a mile; the grenadiers appeared small, and the rest of the regiment seemed grenadiers; the cause is obvious — the rifle-dress is loose, and the sleeves above the elbow loose like the ladies'dresses of the present day, and the figure of course appears larger than if dressed in a coat with tight sleeves and body; besides which, opticians teach us that white objects always seem larger than objects of the same size, but of any other color." -

Daniel Morgan, National Portrait Gallery, Longacre
 

An interesting footnote to the Ranger and Rifle unit connection comes in the person of Morgan's illegitimate son, Willoughby Morgan, born about 1780-81 (while Morgan campaigned in the Carolinas),who served as an officer in the post War of 1812 Rifle Regiment. - see Donald Higginbotham's "Daniel Morgan - Revolutionary Rifleman" and website CANTONMENT MISSOURI, 1819-1820 by Sally A. Johnson. Footnote for Lt. Col. Willoughby Morgan - "Morgan, Willoughby, Va. Capt. 12 Inf., 25 Apr, 1812. Maj. 26 June, 1813. Retained 17 May 1815 as Capt. Rifle Reg. with bvt of Maj. from 26 June 1813. Maj 8 Mar 1817. Lt. Col. 10 Nov. 1818. Trans. to 6 Inf. I June 1821. Trans. to 5 Inf. 1 Oct. 1821. Trans. to 3 Inf. 31 Jan. 1829. Col. 1 Inf. 23 Apr 1830. Bvt Col 10 Nov. 1828 for 10 yrs. fai serv. in one grade. Died Apr. 4, 1832." (Hamersley, op. cit., p. 648)." 

see also - 
http://books.google.com/books?id=T_EKAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover
Daniel Morgan, ranger of the Revolution,North Callahan
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1961
Daniel Morgan: Revolutionary Rifleman, by Don Higginbotham,UNC Press, 1979
http://books.google.com/books?id=_v-JEE4GmIsC&printsec=frontcover
The Morgan legacy: the man who paved the way to American Independence : the story of Daniel Morgan, Anne Patricia Morgan,1999

http://jrshelby.com/kimocowp/morgan.htm
http://jrshelby.com/morgan/index.htm

Daniel Morgan - wiki - note us of the name "Provisional Rifle Corps"

Provisional Rifle Corps (Morgan’s)
http://valleyforgemusterroll.org/regiments/riflecorps.asp

Daniel Morgan: Morgan And His Sharpshooters http://www.freedomproject.com/latest/articles/biographies/120-daniel-morgan-morgan-and-his-sharpshooters


Daniel Morgan and his contributions to the Ranger-Riflemen legacy

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Another Forgotten Ranger Rifleman leader - James Smith (among many - Edward Hand; the Butler brothers Richard and William; Joseph Morris,* Posey, James Parr, Gabriel Long, Charles Porterfield)

Although made famous for a time by a book (First Rebel 1937), a Time Magazine article, which called him "one of the most dramatic minor figures ever neglected by U. S. historians," and a major motion picture, Allegheny Uprising starring John Wayne, the legend of James Smith as a "Ranger" has been neglected and forgotten by US Army Ranger historians. More recent "colonial" historians, such as René Chartrand (2003), Gary Zaboly (2004), and David Dixon (2005), have given James Smith his due as a ranger. 
Born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, in 1737, he was captured by the Indians when he was eighteen years of age, and adopted into one of their tribes, but escaped in 1759, was a leader of the "black boys" in 1763-'5, and a lieutenant in General Henry Bouquet's expedition against the Ohio Indians in 1764. He was one of an exploring party into Kentucky in 1766, settled in Westmoreland county in 1768, and during Lord Dunmore's war was captain of a ranging company, and in 1775 major of the Associated battalion of Westmoreland county. He served in the Pennsylvania convention in 1776, and in the assembly in 1776-'7. In the latter year he commanded a scouting party in the Jerseys, and in 1777 was commissioned colonel in command on the frontiers, doing good service in frustrating the marauds of the Indians. He settled in Cane Ridge, near Paris, Kentucky, in 1788, was a member of the Danville convention, and represented Bourbon county for many years in the legislature. He published two tracts entitled " Shakerism Developed" and "Shakerism Detected," "Remarkable Adventures in the Life and Travels of Colonel James Smith" (Lexington, 1799; edited by William M. Darlington, and republished, Cincinnati, 1870), and "A Treatise on the Mode and Manner of Indian War" (Paris, Kentucky, 1804). - http://www.famousamericans.net/jamessmith1/

His respect for the Indians and understanding of their tactics - which formed the essentials of Ranging tactics - was second to none and was documented clearly and concisely in:
“On Their Discipline and Method of War in An Account of the Remarkable Occurrences in the Life and Travels of Colonel James Smith, Now a Citizen of Bourbon Country, Kentucky, During His Captivity with the Indians in the Years 1755, 1756, 1757, 1758, 1759., Lexington, Kentucky, 1799

http://books.google.com/books?id=QWE9AAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover

also at
http://www.archive.org/stream/anaccountofremar00smitiala/anaccountofremar00smitiala_djvu.txt
and
 the lesser known, and unavailable online
"A Treatise on the Mode and Manner of Indian War," by James Smith, 1812 (reissued by Chicago, 1948). 


"James Smith, brother of Jonathan and Robert Smith, the hero of "Border Life;" colonel of a battalion of rangers in the revolution ; emigrated to Kentucky."
The Scotch-Irish in America: proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Congress, Robert Clarke & Co., 1902, p.214
http://books.google.com/books?id=eH7XAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover



Colonel James Smith's Life Among the Delawares, 1755-1759, in Captives Among the Indians: First-hand Narratives of Indian Wars, Customs, Tortures, and Habits of Life in Colonial Times, edited by Horace Kephart, Outing Publishing, New York, 1915

http://books.google.com/books?id=3wATAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover

"...When the Revolution broke out Smith and 36 of his veteran fighters volunteered for guerilla fighting in New Jersey. Delighted by their success, Smith proposed to General Washington that a battalion of frontiersmen be recruited to fight Indian style. On the grounds that it would look undignified to have white men fighting camouflaged as Indians, Washington refused. Smith, who by this time "entertained no high opinion of the colonel," went back to the frontier. Still hale at 74, the old Indian fighter stormed because he was not allowed to enlist in the War of 1812. Finally he set off alone to join the army at Detroit, turned back only when news of the Americans' easy surrender there convinced him that the army did not amount to much any more."
Time, Monday, Jul. 26, 1937 Pennsylvania's Black Boys review of - THE FIRST REBEL—Neil H. Swanson—Farrar & Rinehart
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,758045,00.html

"His reputation as an Indian expert was widespread, and when the Indians began to attack along the frontier in 1763, his fellow colonials turned to him for help.  he quickly organized a company of rangers and dressed them, paintedthen, and taught them to fight like Indians. their success in defending the settlements was notable, Smith took parter in later campaigns against the Indians, and during the revolutionary War won a colonelcy." p.26
Prisoner of the Caughnawagas: James Smith, Captured by the Indians: 15 firsthand accounts, 1750-1870, by Frederick Drimmer, Courier Dover Publications, 1985, pp. 25-60
http://books.google.com/books?id=sRQuzMWCLhUC&printsec=frontcover
selection is taken from An Account of the Remarkable Occurrences in the Life and Travels of Colonel James Smith, Now a Citizen of Bourbon Country, Kentucky, During His Captivity with the Indians in the Years 1755, 1756, 1757, 1758, 1759., Lexington, Kentucky, 1799   

"The Black Boys, also known as the Brave Fellows and the Loyal Volunteers, were members of a white settler movement in the Conococheague Valley of colonial Pennsylvania...similar to the earlier Paxton Boys in their hostility to the British Crown and the colonial government, but the Black Boys did not target Native Americans in their actions. According to historian Gregory Evans Dowd, a number of historians have confused the two movements. The Black Boys Rebellion has generally been forgotten, overshadowed in American historiography by the 1765 Stamp Act crisis. Nevertheless, some historians see the Black Boys Rebellion as a precursor to the American Revolution. A fictionalized version of the Black Boys Rebellion was depicted in the 1939 Hollywood film Allegheny Uprising, starring John Wayne as James Smith. The film was based on the 1937 boys' history The First Rebel: Being a lost chapter of our history and a true narrative of America's first uprising against English military authority, by Neil H. Swanson." no preview, two reviews


"Conococheague Rangers; Pennsylvania, 1763 Captain James Smith described the unusual dress of his frontier riflemen: 'As we enlisted our men, we dressed them uniformly in the Indian manner,..."
Colonial American troops, 1610-1774, Part 2, by René Chartrand, David Rickman, 2003, p. 46
http://books.google.com/books?id=ZJ3IRwtWfe8C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0

"Captain James Smith's ranger company, raised in 1763 to defend Pennsylvania's Conococheague valley against Pontiac-allied war parties, perfectly exemplified this growing willingness to meet the Indians on their own terms..."
American colonial ranger: the northern colonies 1724-64, by Gary Zaboly, 2004, p. 63
http://books.google.com/books?id=sg3Bhd6dCI4C&printsec=frontcover

James Smith. This narrative was later reprinted in an annotated edition edited by John J. Barsotti,..."Conococheague Rangers," 128-29.
Never come to peace again: Pontiac's uprising and the fate of..., by David Dixon, 2005, p. 320
http://books.google.com/books?id=UeaN0-Ra64oC&printsec=frontcover


The James Smith Story
http://www.fortloudoun-pa.com/history.htm

Captain James Smith and the Black Boys, Fort Loudon Monument Dedicatory Services, by Rev. Cyrus Cort, 1916.
http://www.pa-roots.com/bedford/history/histjamsm.html
  
For more on James Smith - and his contention that Indians were disciplined and tactically astute fighters, see series of noteworthy papers by Leroy V. Eid:

“Their Rules of War': The Validity of James Smith's Summary of Woodland  War."  Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 86 (Winter 1988): 4-23 "

"In 1946, a reviewer in this periodical puzzled over the fact that one of Kentucky's earliest heroes "could occupy so great a part in the national and local life of the pioneer period, contributing so widely to its military, religious, and cultural phases and fall within a century into almost complete oblivion." 1
A decade earlier this same pioneer Kentuckian had had his own published account of his life recast by Neil H. Swanson into the format of a popular novel entitled The First Rebel, which the outstanding historian Henry Steele Commager clearly identified as "a carefully documented historical biography." 2
Nevertheless,this attempt to rescue this Kentuckian's name from near-oblivion was not particularly successful. In the race that year (1937) for popular historical reconstruction, Swanson lost out by a very wide margin to Kenneth Roberts' version of woodland Indian war, The Northwest Passage. Even a reader generally familiar with Kentucky history would probably need to be told how James Smith fits into Kentucky history and why (from among the five hundred or so narratives by ex-captives) his account was so particularly popular.
Supplying this biographical material will be the first (and shortest) part of this paper. Then will follow an abbreviated summary of James Smith's analysis of Indian war, the central thrust of the least quoted part of his immensely popular Account, which Smith amplified in his Treatise. Finally, the credibility of Smith's recollections will be emphasized through an exploration of how this Kentuckian was one of fewer than a handful of writers who had a rather complete awareness of the military sophistication of late eighteenth-century Indian-style fighting in the Ohio Valley.
The larger part of the Account was an anecdotal telling of his captivity among the Indians, and respectfully portrayed thc human aspects of the way of life of the Ohio Indians. Then, in the especially important concluding section, Smith vigorously defended the view that Indians were not to be dismissed as militarily insignificant. The wording of this concluding part of the Account formed the basis of his 1812 Treatise, which is devoted solely to the topic of Indian War. 4 While both of Smith's editors, William M. Darlington (1870) and John Barsotti (1978), refer to the Treatise as simply "an abridged" version of the Account, I will argue at the end of this article that Smith's chart in the Treatise on how to encircle an Indian war party makes a significant contribution not found in the Account." pp. 1-6

remainder of text available at
Selected Papers From The 1985 And 1986 George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conferences  -   "THEIR RULES OF WAR": JAMES SMITH'S SUMMARY OF INDIAN WOODLAND WAR Leroy V. Eid University of Dayton
http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/gero/papers/1985-1986/sec4.htm

“A Kind of Running Fight': Indian Battlefield Tactics in the in the Late Eighteenth Century." Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 71 (April 1988): 147-172;
"The Cardinal Principle of Northeast Woodland Indian War." Papers  of the Thirteenth Algonquian Conference,ed. by William Cowan (Ottawa: Carleton University) (1982) 

James Smith - a Typical "Leatherstocking Hero" Was First American to Lead An Armed Uprising Against England _ - By Elmo Scott Watson
- The Pentwater News, Oct 29, 1937


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Frontier Rangers were the Minute Men of the Frontiers.  They formed regular Militia Companies, under elected officers, and were subject to call at a minute's notice.  There service was not continuous like that of the Flying Camp or Continental Line, though they were often called out to assist these two regular services.  But many of these men experienced more actual warfare than did their regular comrades......"pp. 20-30
"Frontier Rangers," The Tenmile Country and Its Pioneer Families: A Genealogical History of the, by Howard L. Leckey, 1977 & 2001
http://books.google.com/books?id=UM7gBFLDzvkC&printsec=frontcover


Muster rolls of the navy and line, militia and rangers, 1775-1783: with list, edited by William Henry Egle, 1898
http://books.google.com/books?id=60MOAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover

Chronicles of Border Warfare:, by Alexander S. Withers, Reuben Gold Thwaites,1895
http://books.google.com/books?id=r0IBAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover
"The focal point of Chronicles of Border Warfare is the American settlement throughout the northwestern portion of colonial Virginia (an area which today encompasses parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) from the French and Indian War to the Battle of Fallen Timbers, and the ensuing clashes with the indigenous population. The book is full of graphic accounts of massacres and reprisals. Genealogists will appreciate the numerous references to the intrepid scouts and settlers along the frontier."
 

3d SOUTH CAROLINA REGIMENT [Rangers]
http://sciway3.net/proctor/marion/military/revwar/RevWarSC_regiments.html#third 


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.

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The picturesqueness of the rifle dress* worn by the expert marksmen of the Carolinas, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania has made it well known, but the very general use of the hunting shirt by all the American troops is not generally recognized. Lieutenant Lefferts wrote: "The rifle dress or hunting frock was preferred by Washington, and was worn by most of the army throughout the war. It was the field dress of almost the entire army. The hunting shirt was made of deer leather, linen, or homespun, dyed in various colors, in the different regiments, such as tan, green, blue, yellow, purple, black or white. They were all of the same pattern, but some had capes and cuffs of different colors. With the hunting shirts were worn long leggings or overalls, also preferred by Washington in place of breeches and stockings. They were made of linen or duck undyed, or of deer leather, and later in the war were furnished in wool for the winter. They were shaped to the leg, and fastened at the ankle with four buttons and a strap under the shoe." ....Washington recommended hunting shirts as part of the clothing bounty to be provided by the Continental Congress, and as the most practicable garment for troops not supplied with uniform coats. He pointed out the several advantages of the rifle dress in his General Order of July 24, 1776: "No dress can be cheaper, nor more convenient, as the wearer may be cool in warm weather and warm in cool weather by putting on under-cloaths which will not change the outward dress, Winter or Summer -- Besides which it is a dress justly supposed to carry no small terror to the enemy, who think every such person a complete marksman." ...This was so, as the the British and Hessian forces thought that Rifleman, also called "widowmakers" wore this particular garb. Hunting shirts were dyed in various colors to identify regiments. It was also easily manufactured in a number of materials, and was easily repairable. The cape kept the rain and snow off the soldier, and thus was the far more common uniform of the period. The famous picture of Daniel Morgan at Saratoga, shows the particuarlity of this dress.
http://www.srcalifornia.com/nav2.htm

* Variously known as the hunting shirt, hunting frock, rifle shirt, rifle frock, rifle coat, and possibly other names (but note that these names may also be used to refer to other styles of shirt, frock, or coat). See The Ubiquitous Hunting Frock, American War of Independence Garb

http://www.atlantafigures.com/tips1.htm

Excerpts From Who Was I?:
http://www.epsi.net/graphic/WIexcrpt.html
"Virginia, Pennsylvania, 1763-1783: The Rev. Joseph Doddridge on clothing: "The hunting shirt was universally worn. This was a kind of loose frock, reaching halfway down the thighs, with large sleeves, open before, and so wide as to lap over a foot or more when belted. The cap[e] was large, and sometimes handsomely fringed with a ravelled piece of cloth of a different color from that of the hunting shirt itself. The bosom . . . served as a wallet to hold a hunk of bread, cakes, jerk, tow for wiping the barrel of the rifle, or any other necessary . . . The belt, which was always tied behind, answered several purposes, besides that of holding the dress together. In cold weather the mittens, and sometimes the bullet-bag, occupied the front part of it. To the right side was suspended the tomahawk, and to the left the scalping knife in its leathern sheath. The hunting shirt was generally made of linsey, sometimes of coarse linen, and a few of dressed deer skins . . . The shirt and jacket were of the common fashion. A pair of drawers or breeches and leggins were the dress of the thigh and legs; a pair of moccasins answered for the feet much better than shoes. These were made of dressed deer skin. They were mostly made of a single piece with a gathering seam along the top of the foot, and another from the bottom of the heel, without gathers as high as the ankle joint or a little higher. Flaps were left on each side to reach some distance up the leg. They were nicely adapted to the ankles and lower part of the leg by thongs of deer skin so that no dust, gravel or snow could get within the moccasin. . . "
Doddridge also describes the common dress of women, the "linsey petticoat and bed gown . . . which were the universal dress of our women . . . they went barefooted in warm weather, and in cold their feet were covered with moccasins, coarse shoes or shoepacks."
"In the later years of the Indian war our young men became more enamored of the Indian dress throughout, with the exception of the matchcoat. The drawers were laid aside and leggins made longer, so as to reach the upper part of the thigh. The Indian breech clout was adopted. This was a piece of linen or cloth nearly a yard long, and eight or nine inches broad. This passed under the belt before and behind leaving the ends for flaps hanging before and behind over the belt ... strings which supported the long leggins were attached. When this belt, as was often the case, passed over the hunting shirt the upper part of the thighs and part of the hips were naked.
"The young warrior instead of being abashed by this nudity was proud of his Indian like dress. In some instances I have seen them go into places of public worship in this dress. Their appearance however, did not add much to the devotion of the young ladies" (Doddridge, Joseph; The Settlement and Indian Wars of the Western Parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania, 1763-1783; Heritage Books Inc., Bowie, Maryland, 1988; 91-93). Talk about understatement!"
------------------------------------
"In 1774 flatlander Daniel Trabue so "admired the looks of" troops going against the Ohio Indians from near Richmond, uniformed all alike with cockades of red ribbon on their hats, "I would have been glad to have went with them if I had been old enough." West of the Blue Ridge, however, Cohee Alex Alexander's "earliest childish ambition ... was to have a pair of moccasins and a hunting shirt" like "all soldiers" near his home on Irish Creek, in the limestone hills of Rockbridge County, Va.

Alexander was nine in 1781 when British Colonel Banastre Tarleton chased the General Assembly over the mountains from Charlottesville. Some of his neighbors and kin were no doubt part of Samuel McDowell's "large force" of riflemen who at Steele's Tavern (Waynesborough, Va.) stopped Continental officer Captain Francis T. Brooke from proceeding to the new seat of government in Staunton. Brooke assumed they stopped him because "at that time ... a regimental coat had never been seen on that side of the mountains nothing but hunting-shirts ..."

Nathan Boone called the hunting shirt an "outer garment," and contemporary accounts confirm it was worn seldom if ever by itself, but over a shirt, a waistcoat, a jacket, rarely over a coat. Individual tastes dictated minor differences, but the consensus among contemporary observers is that a true hunting shirt was an open "frock" of coarse homespun or "dressed deer skins" with a cape or large collar for shedding water, but no pockets or buttons. The wearer would wrap one side of the open "bosom" over the other and belt it with a piece of cloth or sash to make space inside for storing small articles.

General Washington's recommendation in 1775 that the army adopt "Indian or Hunting Shirts" suggests they had a Native American origin. He was better qualified than most to know, having frequently met with Native Americans since he first saw thim in 1747 at Thomas Cresap's Oldtown, Md. trading post. Washington himself had worn "Indian walking dress"matchcoat, leggings and moccasins in 1753 in western Pennsylvania. Still, his lack of descriptive detail leaves us to fill in many blanks. Fortunately we can deduce with a fair amount of certainty where the hunting shirt originated, for prior to the Revolution all references to hunting shirts in the Gazettes of Pennsylvania and Virginia place them in areas connected by western and southern emigration routes from the Delaware. The hunting shirt may have achieved wide popularity in western Virginia, but there can be little doubt it was born in eastern Pennsylvania."

Author David Hackett Fischer in his book Albion's Seed says the hunting shirt was an American version of "linsey or leather shirts" popular in Northern Britain, made with "the same broad cut across the shoulders and chest, the same horizontal seams, the same heavy stress on masculinity." He also claims that north country folkways were transplanted undiluted to the American backwoods where they developed independent of Native-American cultures, and in isolation from Quaker society on the Delaware.

Fischer is wrong. Daniel Boone, the backwoodsman who did more than any other American figure to make frontier dress a national symbol, was Cornish on his father's side, Welsh on his mother's, and was raised as a Quaker in an area of Pennsylvania Owatin Creek in Berks County settled largely by Finns and Swedes, Swiss Mennonites, and Quakers from England and Wales.
In fact Quakers dominated many areas of backwoods Pennsylvania and Virginia, putting to rest a myth that pacifists avoided settling on the frontier..."

from "Homespun and Bucksin"
http://people.virginia.edu/~mgf2j/clothes.html


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Light Infantry

The
Corps of Light Infantry was a provisional unit of Washington's Main Army, following the British Army model of consolidating together the light infantry companies of the line infantry regiments during campaigns. Each corps formed at or near the beginning of a campaign, and then was dissolved as its components went into winter quarters with their parent units. The cycle was repeated during each of the five years between 1777 and 1781.

The immediate predecessor of the Corps of Light Infantry was the Provisional Rifle Corps created in early June 1777 and commanded by Col. Daniel Morgan. With 508 expert riflemen in eight companies drawn at large primarily from Pennsylvania (193), Virginia (163), and Maryland (65), the Provisional Rifle Corps performed many of the duties of light infantry. It saw action during the British retreat from Brunswick, New Jersey, on June 22, and scouted for Howe's movements towards Philadelphia. Unlike the corps of light infantry to follow, it remained a semi-permanent organization, fighting in the battles of Saratoga and Monmouth, after which it was reduced to three companies commanded by Captain Thomas Posey. He was replaced by Major James Parr, and they accompanied the Sullivan Expedition before their enlistments expired. During that campaign, Sullivan formed a battalion of light infantry from a dismounted troop of the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons, two light infantry companies of New Yorkers, and one from New Hampshire.

The five light infantry organizations of the Continental Main Army were:

1777: The Corps of Light Infantry on the British model was implemented to replace the Provisional Rifle Corps, which was detached as reinforcements to Gates during the Saratoga Campaign. The first corps of light infantry was formed on August 28, 1777, commanded by Brig-Gen William Maxwell. Because the Continental Army did not yet authorize permanent light infantry companies, provisional companies were formed from drafts of 100 men chosen from each of the ten brigades present in the field. Maxwell's Light Infantry formed the advanced skirmish line at the Battle of Brandywine, and was brigaded as a reserve with Maxwell's regular New Jersey Brigade during the Battle of Germantown. In December 1777, the corps was disbanded.

1778: The second light infantry corps was formed on June 24, 1778, after British forces abandoned Philadelphia, to harry their line of retreat and to bring them to battle when Washington pursued. It was commanded by Brig-Gen Charles Scott, and like Maxwell's corps the previous year, drafted provisional companies to fill its ranks. Scott's Light Infantry fought at the Battle of Monmouth.

1779: Permanent light infantry companies were made a part of each line regiment in 1779. They were grouped as the Corps of Light Infantry on June 12, with Brig-Gen Anthony Wayne taking command July 11, and stormed the fortified British position at Stony Point, New York four nights later. Serving until December 5, 1779, the corps was organized into four regiments of two battalions each, totaling 1,350 men:

    * 1st Regiment (Col. Christian Febiger, 2nd Virginia Regiment: six Virginia and two Pennsylvania companies);
    * 2nd Regiment (Col. Richard Butler, 9th Pennsylvania Regiment: four Pennsylvania and four Maryland companies);
    * 3rd Regiment (Col. Return Meigs, 6th Connecticut Regiment: eight Connecticut companies);
    * 4th Regiment (Col. Rufus Putnam: six Massachusetts and two North Carolina companies).

1780: On August 1, 1780, at Springfield, New Jersey, the Corps of Light Infantry was again formed, and on August 7 assigned to the command of the Marquis de LaFayette in the Light Division. At his own expense, Lafayette improved and standardized a distinctive uniform for the light infantry, including swords, espontoons, brass belt buckles and cap plates, and red-and-black plumed hats (later switched for plumed leather helmets). The corps was broken up on November 27, 1780. Numbering 2,000 men, it had six battalions organized as two brigades:

    * 1st Brigade (Brig-Gen Enoch Poor)
          o Van Cortlandt's Battalion (Col Philip Van Cortlandt, 2nd New York Regiment: five New York and three New Hampshire companies),
          o Shepard's Battalion (Col William Shepard, 4th Massachusetts Regiment: eight Massachusetts companies),
          o Gimat's Battalion (Lt-Col Jean-Joseph Sourbader de Gimat: eight Massachusetts companies).
    * 2nd Brigade (Brig-Gen Edward Hand),
          o Swift's Battalion (Col Heman Swift, 7th Connecticut Regiment: eight Connecticut companies),
          o Ogden's Battalion (Col Matthias Ogden, 1st New Jersey Regiment: eight New Jersey companies),
          o Stewart's Battalion (Col Walter Stewart, 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment: eight Pennsylvania companies).

1781: On February 17, 1781, the corps was reassembled under LaFayette at Peekskill, New York, and sent to oppose Cornwallis in Virginia. With reductions in the size of the regulars, the corps consisted of three battalions, with an approximate strength of 1,200:

    * Vose's Battalion (Col. Joseph Vose, 1st Massachusetts Regiment: eight Massachusetts companies);
    * Gimat's Battalion (Lt-Col Gimat: five Connecticut, two Massachusetts, and the Rhode Island company);
    * Barber's Battalion (Lt-Col Francis Barber, 1st New Jersey Regiment: two New Jersey, two New Hampshire, and the Canadian Regiment's company).

An additional corps of light infantry, amounting to 400 men, was created on *June 24, 1781,* in New York by forming provisional light infantry companies, five from Connecticut, four from Massachusetts, and one from New Hampshire. Commanded by Col. Alexander Scammel, it seized Dobbs Ferry, New York and was the vanguard of Washington's march to Yorktown, Virginia in August. 

[*error - this Light Infantry Corps was created 1 February 1781.
see "GENERAL ORDERS   Head Quarters, New Windsor, Thursday, February 1, 1781."

Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 21 
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi21.html 
and
"GW To COLONEL ALEXANDER SCAMMELL,   Head Quarters, New Windsor, May 17, 1781."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Volume 22 ,  
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi22.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/

It was a Rifle Corps of 300 men which was called for on June 24, 1781.]

"Uniting at Williamsburg, Virginia, on September 24, 1781, both corps were organized again into Lafayette's Light Division of two brigades to lead the advance of the army to Yorktown. The first brigade, commanded by Brig-Gen Peter Muhlenberg, consisted of the regular corps of Vose's, Gimat's, and Barber's battalions. The second brigade, commanded by Brig-Gen Moses Hazen, consisted of Scammel's provisional corps and a battalion formed under the command of Lt-Col Alexander Hamilton from the two light infantry companies of the New York Line. The Canadian Regiment filled out Hazen's brigade. When Scammel was killed in action on October 1, the light infantry companies of the second brigade were reorganized into two battalions, the first consisting of the New Hampshire and five Connecticut provisional companies (commanded by Lt-Col John Laurens), and the second of the New York companies and the four Massachusetts provisionals (commanded by Hamilton)." 

List of Continental Army units
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Continental_Army_units


The Corps of Light Infantry in the Continental Army, by John W. Wright, The American Historical Review Vol. 31, No. 3 (Apr., 1926), pp. 454-461
https://www.jstor.org/stable/1840985
"In August, 1778, when the corps was called out for a new campaign under General Scott, we notice in the orders for its reorganization that it began to assume the character of a corps d'elite, as witnessed by the
qualifications for the men selected. They were to be the best men, the most hardy and active marksmen, commanded by good partizan officers...The following 'were the remarks placed on the report by the inspector:  
"The above companies almost to a man are composed of proper sized well built men from five feet seven to five feet nine inches high, who have been in Actual Service two, three, and Some almost four years, a very few excepted, who are native"....[at Stoney Point] The brilliant assault of the light in- fantry upon the hostile works, July 15, is well known. The advance of their columns with bayonets fixed and muskets unloaded showed the high state of their discipline and training; they were, in fact, a corps d'elite...The corps of light infantry, accord- ing to orders, was to be considered as under the direct orders of the commander-in-chief; its duties were defined and limited. The men furnished were required to be the best in the battalions, middle-sized, active, robust, and " trusty ";...Steuben has left complete details of organization at this time, and on July 28, 1780, he was able to write to Washington:
"The corps will be the admiration of our allies as much the terror of our enemies. There is hardly a man in it under twenty or over thirty years of age. They are all robust and well made and have a military appearance"....
But by far the best description of the light infantry at this period is that given by the Marquis de Chastellux, who visited the corps in November, I78o. The vanguard, he says, consisted, of light infantry, that is to say the picked corps of the American Army: the regiments in fact which compose it [the army] have no grenadiers but only a company of light infantry, answering to our Chasseurs, and of whom battalions are formed at the beginning of the campaign. This troop made a good appearance, were better cloathed than the rest of the army: the uniforms both of the officers and soldiers were smart and military, and each soldier wore a helmet made of hard leather with a crest of horsehair. The officers are armed with espontoons, or rather with half pikes, and the subalterns with fusils; but both were provided with short sabres brought from France and made a present of to them by M. de Ia Fayette. Lafayette in his Memoirs speaks of the high character of the corps and of its excellent discipline. In October, 1780, the Grand Army was at Orangetown, the " Flying Camp " three miles in front, com- posed of the light infantry, Parr's riflemen, and Lee's legion. The corps was disbanded for the winter on December 26....During this year, 1781, Lafayette was sent into Virginia and
he took with him three battalions of light infantry, "the best troops that ever took the field"...It had recently been reorganized into a division, under Lafayette for a second time. This division was assigned the post of
honor in the army, the right of the front line. Their attack on the redoubt, like that at Stony Point, was with unloaded muskets and bayonets fixed. Not a shot was fired. Again the light infantry demonstrated their valor...During periods when the army was in the field but no operations in progress, the light infantry were the advance corps, nearest the enemy, a shield to the army; and a trying role it was, involving constant vigilance. The corps of light infantry stands unique to-day, the first and only corps d'tlite of the American army."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Related articles written by Lynn Tew Sprague in Outing Magazine 1905-1908.
 "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
 
Old Put [Israel Putnam] A Hero of The People Outing. 47:343-7. D. '05.
http://books.google.com/books?id=3KFhAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA343


(General) Mad Anthony Wayne. Outing. 47: 761-6. Mi. '06.
http://books.google.com/books?id=3KFhAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA761

 
General Daniel Morgan. The Hero of Cowpens,  Outing. 48: 228-34. My. '06.
http://books.google.com/books?id=YKthAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA228

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The following colorful and insightful "riflemen"-related articles are culled from the prolific outpouring of the preeminent historical journalist of his day Elmo Scott Watson:
-

"The Sweet Ancient Weapon of our Fathers" - By Elmo Scott Watson

Woodville Republican - Jan 19, 1929
By ELMO SCOTT WATSON... In his book Way of the West the late Emerson Hough paid a fine tribute to one of the earliest "Made in America" products when he wrote: "Witness this sweet ancient weapon of our fathers the American rifle, maker of states, empire builder." ...

x

James Smith - a Typical "Leatherstocking Hero" Was First American to Lead An Armed Uprising Against England _ - By Elmo Scott Watson
- The Pentwater News, Oct 29, 1937

Morgan's Riflemen - Anniversary Of Famous Fighting Corps - By Elmo Scott Watson...

Troy Tribune - Apr 24, 1925
By ELMO SCOTT WATSON  ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY years ago this June there began the ... a resolution that six companies of expert riflemen be immediately raised...

The Riflemen of the Revolution - The Pennsylvania Companies - By Elmo Scott Watson
- The Pentwater News, Jul 26, 1935

The Riflemen of the Revolution - The Virginia And Maryland Companies - By Elmo Scott Watson

Pentwater News - Aug 2, 1935
By ELMO SCOTT WATSON .In the cool dawn of a summer morning 100 years ago a boy awoke and looked out from the window of his home in a little Massachusetts village. And this is what he saw: ...

When Brave Montgomery fell - Quebec - By Elmo Scott Watson

Weston County Gazette - Dec 10, 1936
By ELMO SCOTT WATSON E WAS born just 200 years ago on December 21736 and the ... Daniel Morgan's riflemen through the woods of Maine and were now be fore ...

 

Israel Putnam - "Old Put" - By Elmo Scott Watson
Entiat Times - Jan 13, 1938 

John Stark and the Green Mountain Boys - By Elmo Scott Watson 

Dayton Review - Jul 14, 1927 

John Stark and the Green Mountain Boys - By Elmo Scott Watson
Duchesne County Newspapers - Jul 15, 1927 [printable pdf]

- 

Herkimer At Oriskany; Stark At Bennington -  By Elmo Scott Watson.

Mount Washington News - Jul 30, 1937
By ELMO SCOTT WATSON ...
Prelude To Saratoga: .Herkimer At...- Pentwater News, Jul 31 1937 


Timothy Murphy - Fighting Irishman - Fired "Shot Heard 'Round World" - By Elmo Scott Watson .

Pueblo Indicator - Mar 12, 1938
By ELMO SCOTT WATSON... MARCH 17 means St Patrick's Day and the wearing of the green not only for Americans of Irish blood but for thousands of others.


The Storming of Stony Point - Anthony Wayne - By Elmo Scott Watson

Carbon County News - Jul 11, 1929
By ELMO SCOTT WATSON this year mark the of one of the most brilliant victories In the Revolution feat of arms which not only ...
 

The Last Year of the Revolution - Boonesborough - Yorktown - 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.....


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Pass in Review - a short summary of Revolutionary Rifle and Light Infantry and their influence on future formations

The achievements and legacy of the "Riflemen of the Revolution," and Light Infantry were not lost on the likes of Washington's former chief of artillery of the Continental Army and later the first United States Secretary of War, Henry Knox; especially as he wrestled with the establishment of the United States Army which succeeded the Continental Army in 1784.

Four rifle formations of note bear importantly on the eventual formation of a later regular army Rifle Regiment of 1808-1821. Taken in sequence, by formation, although somewhat confusing, their legacy is apparent.

"The Congressional resolution of June 14, 1775 authorized ten companies of expert riflemen to be raised for one-year enlistments as Continental troops. Maryland and Virginia were to raise two companies each, and Pennsylvania six. Pennsylvania, however, mustered nine companies and organized as a regiment, the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment. All thirteen companies were sent to Washington's army at Boston for use as light infantry and later as special reserve forces." -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_Rifle_Regiment

aka "Continental Independent Rifle Companies or Corps"

"The 1st Pennsylvania Regiment (Authorized September 16, 1776. Disbanded November 15, 1783), also known as the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment and 1st Continental Regiment, was raised under the command of Col. William Thompson for service in the Continental Army...In 1776, when a new army was raised following the expiration of enlistments at the end of 1775, the rifle regiment, whose term of enlistment did not expire until July 1, as the first troops to enlist as Continentals, received the honor of being named 1st Continental Regiment [a "line regiment" - organized and supported under the direct authority of individual state governments]...The regiment was furloughed June 11, 1783 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and disbanded on November 15, 1783." The Pennsylvania National Guard, "Company C of the 337th Engineer Battalion, claims lineage from Captain Michael Doudeis Company of York, Pennsylvania of the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment."- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_Rifle_Regiment

The Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, (Authorized June 17, 1776. Disbanded January 1, 1781) "most commonly known as Rawlings' Regiment in period documents, was organized in June 1776," as one of six Extra Continental regiments because of its unique two-state composition, "not managed through a single state government, and ..therefore directly responsible to national authority..." Three companies of this nine company regiment, were among the first of the colonial units to join the newly constituted Continental Army as part of the "Continental Independent Rifle Companies or Corps." "Because most of the newly formed regiment surrendered to British and German forces at the Battle of Fort Washington on November 16, 1776, the service history of the unit's surviving element is complex. Although modern and contemporaneous accounts of the battle convey the impression that it marked the end of the regiment as a combat entity, a significant portion of the unit continued to serve actively in the Continental Army throughout most of the remainder of the war. Elements of the regiment served with George Washington's Main Army and participated in the army's major engagements of late 1776 through 1778. Select members of the regiment were also attached to Col. Daniel Morgan's elite Provisional Rifle Corps at its inception in mid-1777...[it was] reorganized in January 1779 and was initially stationed at Fort Pitt, headquarters of the Continental Army's Western Department, in present-day western Pennsylvania primarily to help in the defense of frontier settlements from Indian raids. The unit was disbanded with all other Additional and Extra Continental regiments during the reorganization of the Continental Army in January 1781. It was the longest serving Continental Army rifle unit of the war." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryland_and_Virginia_Rifle_Regiment


Captured at Quebec on 31 December 1775, while leading a contingent of riflemen as part of the American Invasion of Canada in 1775, Captain Daniel Morgan remained a prisoner of war until exchanged in January 1777. "When he rejoined Washington early in 1777, Morgan was surprised to learn that he had been promoted to colonel for his efforts at Quebec. He was assigned to raise and command a new infantry regiment, the 11th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line. On June 13, 1777 Morgan was also placed in command of the Provisional Rifle Corps, a light infantry unit of 500 riflemen selected primarily from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia units of the Main Army. Many were drawn from his own permanent unit, the 11th Virginia Regiment."
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Morgan

While specifically referred to by Washington as "The Corps of Rangers," in a June 13, 1777 letter to Morgan, this unit was contemporaneously and afterward has been called by a variety of titles - confusing to all: "Morgan's Corps of Rifle Men or Riflemen," "Provisional Rifle Corps," "Continental Army Rifle Corps," "Continental Rifle Corps," "Partisan Corps," "Rifle Corps," "Morgan's Corps," "Morgan's Rifles," "Morgan's Riflemen," and  even"Morgan's Sharpshooters."  By whatever its name, its organizational life-span was brief,  as most units formed for and in wartime are, but colorfully eventful.

At first "Washington assigned them to harass General William Howe's rear guard, and Morgan followed and attacked them during their entire withdrawal across New Jersey...Morgan's regiment was reassigned to the army's Northern Department and on August 30 [1777] he joined General Horatio Gates to aid in resisting Burgoyne's offense." In the two key battles leading to the pivotal victory at Saratoga, Freeman's Farm [19 September 1777] and Bemis Heights [7 October 1777], Morgan and his riflemen played a decisive role in the defeat of the main British army, delivering devastating targeted fire on the enemy and its officer corps, in particular. "During the next week, as Burgoyne dug in, Morgan and his men moved to his north. Their ability to cut up any patrols sent in their direction convinced the British that retreat was not possible...After Saratoga, Morgan's unit rejoined Washington's main army, near Philadelphia. Throughout 1778 he hit British columns and supply lines in New Jersey, but was not involved in any major battles. He was not involved in the Battle of Monmouth but actively pursued the withdrawing British forces and captured many prisoners and supplies. When the Virginia Line was reorganized on September 14, 1778 Morgan became the Colonel of the 7th Virginia Regiment [The "Provisional Rifle Corps seemingly disbanded at this time].
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Morgan

His acumen and leadership throughout the war, at Quebec, Saratoga, and later Cowpens,"...widely considered to be the tactical masterpiece of the war and one of the most successfully executed double envelopments of all of modern military history.," would place Morgan as one, if not the, most successful battlefield tacticians of the American Revolution - but he is definitely the least remembered and his Ranger/Rifle Corps, due to lineage issues affecting nearly all post-Revolution US Army units, for its worth to the patriot cause, the least honored.

"It is said that when Burgoyne was introduced to Morgan, after the surrender at Saratoga, he seized him by the hand and exclaimed,
"My dear sir, you command the finest regiment in the world."
- Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889
http://books.google.com/books?id=P60LAAAAIAAJ&q=daniel+Morgan#v=snippet&q=daniel%20Morgan&f=false
http://www.virtualology.com/danielmorgan/

Why would the "finest regiment in the world" not be emulated; or re-formed when the army was required to expand; or even a new-model army formed from the ashes of defeat?  
To Knox the answer was likely simple - such a regiment should and would be. 

First, however, circumstances and events on the frontier with old foes and erstwhile allies would have to prove the folly of the early American military policy.

"Copy of a letter from Major General St. Clair to the Secretary for the Department of War.
Fort Washington, November 9th, 1791
"...but for want of a sufficient number of riflemen to pursue this advantage, they (Indians) soon returned, and the troops were obliged to give back in their turn."p. 137  
- American State Papers: Indian Affairs Volume Four Part One,
http://books.google.com/books?id=F_vEDrEFm6AC&printsec=frontcover


"Statement relative to the Frontiers Northwest of the Ohio
...The Plan
That the military establishment of the United States shall, during the pleasure of Congress, consist of....one squadron of cavalry...It should be a stipulation in the engagements of these men, that they should serve on foot whenever the service requires the measure...Five regiments of infantry, one of which to be riflemen entirely, each of three battalions; each battalion of four companies;...accounting for each regiment, to 912...in addition to the foregoing arrangement, it would be proper that the President of the United States should be authorized, besides the employment of the militia, to take such measures, for the defensive protection of the exposed parts of the frontiers, by calling into service expert woodsmen, as patrols or scouts, upon such terms as he may judge proper...That he may further be authorized...to employ a body of Indians belonging to tribes in alliance with the United States, to act against hostile Indians...it seems necessary to raise the pay...The rifle corps will require more....- H. Knox, Secretary of War. War Department, December 26, 1791." p. 199
- American State Papers: Indian Affairs Volume Four Part One
http://books.google.com/books?id=F_vEDrEFm6AC&printsec=frontcover
Although Knox's 1791-1792 plan was never executed, a bolder plan was forced on the Army - The Legion of the United States .

"The impetus for the Legion came from General Arthur St. Clair's disastrous defeat at the Battle of the Wabash by Blue Jacket and Little Turtle's tribal confederacy in November 1791. The Legion [begun in June of 1792] was composed of four sub-legions, each commanded by a brigadier general. These sub-legions were self-contained units with two battalions of infantry, a rifle battalion (light infantry skirmishers armed with Pennsylvania longrifles to screen the infantry), a troop of dragoons and a battery of artillery...The Legion by its very concept was formed and trained from its early days in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to fight in a woodland environment...Officers, sergeants and enlisted personnel were trained to fight in small units and were used to being geographically separated and fighting on their own. General Anthony Wayne's tactics were to fire and move quick with the light infantry being his front line forces supported by heavy infantry. The Legion was taught to move quickly on the enemy thus not allowing him to re-load and to then attack with bayonets...By August 20, 1794, the Legion of the United States had trained for over 25 months for this battle and was a finely honed machine...The success of the Legion is owed mostly to Major General Anthony Wayne but also to George Washington and Henry Knox. On August 3, 1795, as a direct result of the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the Native Americans signed the Treaty of Greenville, creating peace with the United States..It is a common misbelief that the Legion was abandoned in 1796. After the death of General Anthony Wayne in Erie, Pennsylvania on December 15, 1796, his second-in-command, Brigadier General James Wilkinson (later found to be a spy for the Spanish government) tried to rid the army of everything Wayne had created including the Legionary structure of the army. Thus the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sub-Legion became the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Regiments of the United States Army"
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legion_of_the_United_States

The Lost Legion(s)


In 1798, James McHenry, the third Secretary of War (1796–1800), who served under presidents George Washington (1796-1797) and John Adams (1797-1800), solicited the enlightened foreign and domestic politico-military council from the former first President,and first and only commander of the Continental Army, resulting in a remarkable opus of received wisdom and foresight, the likes of which no future President, save Jackson, Grant or Eisenhower, could possibly attempt, let alone match. Doubting that the French would invade, nevertheless, in line with the umbrella credo "in times of peace, prepare for war," in two letters he provided such overarching gems as: "pursue a steady system, to organize all our resources and put them in a state of preparation for prompt action...cultivate a spirit of self-dependence, and to endeavour by unremitting vigilance and exertion under the blessing of providence, to hold the scales of our destiny in our own hands...cultivate peace. But in contemplating the possibility of our being driven to unqualified War, it will be wise to anticipate, that frequently the most effectual way to defend is to attack." "I shall now present to your view the additional objects alluded to in my letter of this date. A proper organization for the troops of the U States is a principal one..."

In the case of the Rifles, Washington saw the need for and appreciated a coming revolution in military affairs; portended by their possible arming with a currently available breech loader, leading to the modern rifle.


He opined, "If there shall be occasion for the actual employment of military force, a corps of riflemen will be for several purposes extremely useful. The eligible proportion of riflemen to infantry of the line may be taken at a twentieth. Hence in the apportionment of an army of fifty thousand men, in my letter of this date, two thousand riflemen are included; and in the estimate of arms to be provided two thousand rifles. There is a kind of rifle commonly called  Fergusons* which will deserve particular attention. It is understood that it has in different European  armies supplanted the old rifle, as being more quickly loaded and more easily kept clean. If the shot of it be equally or nearly equally sure those advantages entitle it to a preference. It is very desirable that this point and its comparative merit in other respects be ascertained by careful examination and experiment."
Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/WasFi37.html
Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44)
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/

fn - "*the first breech loading rifle to be adopted by any organized military force. It was a .65 (.648 true) caliber rifle used by the British Army in the American Revolutionary War at the end of the 1770s. Its superior firepower was unappreciated at the time because it did not conform to the usual tactics of armed soldiers standing face to face-- a necessity given the requirement to stand when reloading the then-standard muzzleloading muskets or rifles._ - wiki

The Regiment of Riflemen 1808-1821







The American environment and ranger-riflemen indeed inspired their former foes to develop their own rifle units - of which their history has been made famous - in ironic contrast to 

our own:













                                                                   

)













British Rifleman 1797-1815 by Philip J. Haythornthwaite,Illustrated by Christa Hook; Edition: 3,

Published by Osprey Publishing, 2002
(note the number of editions - not one yet on the US Rifleman!







Kings Royal Rifles - By Elmo Scott Watson .

Mount Washington News - Sep 8, 1944
... General Alexander's British Eighth army To most Ameri can readers this reference to the loyal Rifles had no special significance although they might have ...


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

**A look at five available Ranger histories on the web; official and unofficial, treat the foregoing Morgan's Riflemen-Rangers connection either in a cursory fashion or,  in one case, not at all.
The "75th Rangers" official history ; "The Continental Congress formed eight companies of expert riflemen in 1775 to fight in the Revolutionary War. In 1777, this force of hardy frontiersmen commanded by Dan Morgan was known as The Corps of Rangers." Then adds "Francis Marion, “The Swamp Fox”, organized another famous Revolutionary War Ranger element known as Marion’s Partisans." - https://www.benning.army.mil/75thranger/content/history.htm
There is no mention of Morgan's rangers/rifles or even  the "Swamp Fox" at the
US Army Ranger Association (USARA) Ranger History site.  Under the American Revolution are short discourses on, King's Rangers, Armand's Legion, and Whitcomb's Rangers.
http://www.ranger.org/Default.aspx?pageId=599537
The King's of course being a British unit!? and deserving mention because....
At the Sua Sponte.com - "Of Their Own Accord" - site  under EARLY RANGERS: THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR THROUGH THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, we find two short paragraphs devoted to the independent ranger Companies and Morgan vice six short paragraphs to "Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, and his Partisans." Two sentences on Thomas Knowlton's Connecticut Rangers and one mentioning loyalist Ranger units, citing John Butlers Corps of Rangers (what happened to the King's Rangers?).  Again the treatment is surface but a tad more accurate and than the 75th Ranger's online version and overall more pertinent than the USARA treatment.
The best and most definite connection is made here between Rifles and Rangers: 
"During the American Revolution (1775-1784), the individual states and the continental government made widespread use of Rangers. On June 14, 1775, with war on the horizon, the Continental Congress resolved that six companies of expert riflemen be immediately raised in Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in Virginia. In 1777, this force of hardy frontiersmen provided the leadership and experience necessary to form the organization George Washington called the Corps of Rangers. Dan Morgan commanded the Corps of Rangers.

The type of fighting used by the first Rangers was further developed during the Revolutionary War by Colonel Daniel Morgan, who organized the unit known as Morgan's Riflemen. These men, clad in frontiersman buckskin garb, schooled in the Indians' methods of forest fighting, and armed with the deadly, accurate frontiersmen's rifles were without equal. Their service ran from 1775 to 1781, and some of their most famous battles were fought at Freeman's Farm during September 1777 and at the Battle of Cow Pen during January 1781, against General Cornwallis' crack British troops. According to remarks by General Burgoyne, a famous British general, Morgan's men were the most famous corps of the Continental Army. All of them crack shots."
http://www.suasponte.com/earlyrang.htm
Courtesy of "historian" JD Lock, the available Ranger History at ArmyRanger.com (
- For Rangers By Rangers) is taken from his book. Under THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, one finds an opening paragrph citing the "The Corps of Rangers" as refrred to by George Washington and a link to expanded discussion including mention of the Queen's & King's Rangers (Robert Rogers) (2 paragraphs), Morgan's 'Rangers'(3 paragraphs) and  Francis Marion "Swamp Fox'(a whopping 20 paragraphs by comparison for a Partisan i.e. non Continental unit!).
http://www.armyranger.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=27&Itemid=49
By far the most "rewarding" site, as promised by its webmaster, at least in terms visually, is the extensive collage of colorful graphics with narrative, all set to music, found at the Ranger Ring website - at which I helicoptered in and rappelled down unto the Ranger Base Camp! Here, a worthy tribute to various selected Patriots, including Ethan Allen, Nathan Hale, leads to a three paragraph paen to Daniel Morgan. The narrative uses the title "Morgan's Rifles," cites their weapon's prowess as Morgan's Sharpshooters - but alas includes no mention of Washington's
bestowed title - the "Corps of Rangers."  John Stark, the former French and Indian war ranger, is mentioned for his role at Bennington, followed by the old Fox Marion, and even a discourse on his nemesis "The Bastard Tarleton."
Most interesting, to me, was discovering what was treated and NOT treated on the following pages covering the period 1786-1847. A full treatment, with beautiful music, proceeds with the Lewis and Clark (1803-1806) epic; and then a moving tribute to the "Ranging Abilities of Frontier Explorers and The American Mountain men," and the bestowing of the "Honorary Ranger" title - "They were all ranger Qualified" for a Who's Who List of legends.  Page 4 followed with no mention having been made of the Rangers of the War of 1812, 1832-33 Mounted Ranger Battalion, or even the renowned  Texas Rangers - as US Army absorbed units during the Mexican war or Indian Fighters.  Nope, by scratch, its on to - you guessed it - Mosby and his Confederates comrades (
formally the 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry, Partisan Rangers); opening to the melody of Dixie no less - nary a mention of an US Army - read Union or Federal rangers e.g Means Rangers - and on through to the Korean war.
http://rangerring.com/

The other three sites do not shine either when it comes to the Rangers between the Revolution and the Civil War either..all three mention that "companies of United States Rangers were raised from among the frontier settlers as part of the regular army." Sua Sponte tells us they were independent companies, JD Lock informs there were 6 of them (there were more) - the 75th site reveals thats Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln were Rangers and another, that Andrew jackson formed a ranger Company in 1818."  No Ranger-Rifleman connection is made as with the revolutionary era; such a connection is at least as mentionable as the inclusive efforts highlighted above concerning British units and "bloody" heroes, Confederate Units and resigned US Army officers in rebellion, and American Mountain Men who deserve the tab!


Now, for the best overall comprehensive account of the Revolutionary and Early Republic's  US Army Rangers, available to the public, one need only look to the fairly recent book:
Elite Warriors: 300 Years of America's Best Fighting Troops, by Lance Q. Zedric, Michael F. Dilley, Pathfinder Publishing, Inc., 1996
http://books.google.com/books?id=ccVm7FTnz4AC&printsec=frontcover



For the periods and purposes under consideration here, the authors have compiled a wide-ranging, sufficiently inclusive, often surprisingly detailed, yet highly readable account of the formation and employment of Ranger units.  Consider the following fleshed out outline of the periods under question and compare to the ranger "histories" discussed above.:
Part II: Revolutionary War - Introduction, pp. 46-49;
Marblehead Mariners, pp. 49-53; 
Morgan's Rangers, pp. 53-57;
Knowlton's and Whitcomb's Rangers pp. 57-58;
Partisans under militia officers Francis Marion and Andrew Pickens, pp. 58-62 and Thomas Sumter, pp.62-64 
Part III: Post Revolutionary War Period - Introduction pp. 65-67;
Wood Rangers 1792-1794 under William Wells and Major General Anthony Wayne;
War of 1812 - Seven (7) ranger companies from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky territories, raised in 1812 plus an additional ten (10) companies authorized and raised in 1813 from Indiana (4), Illinois (3) and Missouri (3), "in place of a regiment of infantry that had been planned." "These ranger companies were identified, over the years that they were active, in a wide  variety of ways.  Although they were members of the regular Army, they were usually singled out and referred to as Rangers, United States Rangers, the Regiment of Rangers, and even the Corps of Rangers." The ranger companies operated independently rather than as a larger force. As a consequence, lieutenants and captains commanded these companies. A total of 10 captains and 41 lieutenants were on the Army's rolls as ranger officers. The "senior" ranger officer was captain Andre Piere, although Colonel William Russell was theoretically the overall commander of these independent ranger companies." pp. 71-72;
rangers (from Tennessee) in the south commanded by Colonel John Coffee under Major General Andrew Jackson during the Creek War (1813-1814, from December 1814- January 1815, at the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson again relied on "...Coffee's mounted rangers to provide intelligence on British movement as well as to conduct raids."  pp. 67-73;
Florida Rangers in the First Seminole War - two Ranger companies recruited by Major General Andrew Jackson (7th President) under Captains Boyle and McGirt, pp. 73-76;
Texas Rangers - Texas Revolution - War with Mexico - Post Mexican War, pp. 76- 80 - from three (3) companies in 1835 to two regiments (20 companies?) under Major General Zachary Taylor during the Mexican War 1846-1848 and then down to 6 companies under state control in the post-war period, with two companies under federal control in 1854;
Mounted Rangers - 6 companies of a US Army Mounted Ranger Battalion under Major Henry Dodge 1832-1833, pp. 81-83;
Elite Warriors: 300 Years of America's Best Fighting Troops, by Lance Q. Zedric, Michael F. Dilley, Pathfinder Publishing, Inc., 1996
http://books.google.com/books?id=ccVm7FTnz4AC&printsec=frontcover


Lance Q. Zedric's blog article on Elite Warriors
Michael F Dilley bio in Galahad - google book


Erstwhile Ranger historians, especially at the above sites, should take note and would do well to revise their research and narratives concerning these periods.  Their focus, beyond the colonial inheritance, and into the early U.S. history, should not be glossed over for lack of effort, time, length or space (bandwidth).  To merit any legitimacy they need to re-focus and further expand on the organizational schemes, attempts and successes of regular Army Ranger units and not mainly the glamorous exploits of British rangers, militia Partisan Rangers who served the patriot cause, primarily local, often to the disadvantage of the larger national effort under a beleaguered Continental Army, Explorers and Mountain men who could and would have been "rangers" only if, and Confederate States Partisan Rangers who frankly fought for the wrong side against the nation and its institution, that US Army Rangers have always served! If one can make a case for these disparate groups, then, with an open mind, one should consider the Regiment of Riflemen, the Voltigeurs and Foot Riflemen Regiment, and the US Sharpshooter Regiments, as also fitting candidates for inclusion, and on more solid organizational (US Army), recruitment (nationally based, unique skill set and selectivity), and tactics, techniques and procedures that foreshadowed and paved the way for the role of ranger infantry on a modern battlefield.



______________________________________________________________________________

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some interesting information. I've been trying to research this as well ... specifically Knowlton's rangers, but there's hardly anything on them.

RG said...

I'm sure you've seen the google book:
The Record of Connecticut Men in the Military and Naval Service During the, By Connecticut Historical Society
http://books.google.com/books?id=2c4wvMNji00C&lpg=PA121&dq=knowlton's%20Rangers&pg=PA121#v=onepage&q=knowlton's%20Rangers&f=false

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