The rifleman shown here clad
in a green hunting shirt was a unique American contribution to the science
of warfare in the Eighteenth Century. His weapon was the long rifle
developed by the Pennsylvania gunsmith from the short, heavy European rifled
gun. This rifle was intended to be used at a range far greater than
the usual smoothbore musket. It enabled the marksman to select his
target, rather than to blindly fire at a mass of men.
The success of this tactic was
quite disturbing to the British. However effective the rifle was
at longer ranges, it had several disadvantages that prevented it being
more widely used. In addition to its high cost, it was not designed
to use a bayonet and it took longer to load.
The dress worn by this man is
not distinctive to the men of Virginia; it was a common dress of the frontiersman
The difference between Morgan's
Virginia Company, Cresap's Maryland Company or Thompson's Pennsylvania
Battalion was very small. The men themselves were all fiercely independent
and most had no more desire to submit to orders in camp than they had to
the King. Morgan's men were especially well known. They marched
to Quebec with Benedict Arnold and fought in the battles leading to Burgoyne's
The seated figure in red, so closely
resembled the British grenadier or fusilier, is a member of the uniformed
companies that existed in Connecticut before the war. One company
of Foot Guards was raised in 1771 and a second in 1775. These companies
are still members of the Continental Legion.
The standing figure in the short
brown jacket is a member of the Philadelphia Troop of Light Horse founded
in 1774 under command of Abraham markoe, a Dane. This troop served
as escort to George Washington on his trip to assume command of the Army.
They also took part in that terrible winter at Valley Forge, where their
services were very important due to their knowledge of the area.
They still exist today as an active unit of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
[REFERENCES: The War of the
Revolution. Christopher Ward. Flags of the World.
McCandless and Grosvenor.]