- Hello group,
There has been alot of talk about the various muskets used during
the Warof 1812 but I was wondering about rifles. Someone mentioned a
HF rifle whatever that is. I was wondering just was rifles were used
by either side. Also (and I know questions like these tend to be
controversal but...) how much did rifles and riflemen play in the
war. Did they really exist in enough numbers to make a difference?
Were they quicker to load than the Revolutionary models? Did
riflemen per se exist as they did in the Revolution? Did they wear
the famed hunting shirts? Thanks in advance.
I would suggest GREEN COATS AND GLORY The United States Regiment of Rifleman 1808-1821 by John C. Fredriksen, Ph.D.
Old Fort Niagara Association publications 2000. ISBN 0-941967-22-0
4,015 rifles were made between 1804-1807 at Harpers Ferry Arsenal, known as the pattern 1803.
Dave Bennett, 1st U. States Infy. & Missouri Rangers.
--- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Edward Otte" <edotte@o...> wrote:
> Hello group,
> There has been alot of talk about the various muskets used during
> the Warof 1812 but I was wondering about rifles. Someone mentioned a
> HF rifle whatever that is. I was wondering just was rifles were used
> by either side. Also (and I know questions like these tend to be
> controversal but...) how much did rifles and riflemen play in the
> war. Did they really exist in enough numbers to make a difference?
> Were they quicker to load than the Revolutionary models? Did
> riflemen per se exist as they did in the Revolution? Did they wear
> the famed hunting shirts? Thanks in advance.
> Edward Otte
There were rifle units on both sides in the war of 1812 .
The US had the Regiment of Rifles ,and militia riflemen as well ,the RR were
regulars and used eight different types of rifles the Harpers Ferry rifle
being one of them ,and then seven different contract rifles . They were all
of 54 cal the standard of the US Gov at the time . The regiment of Rifles
fought mostly along the Canadian frontier and were effective in small unit
action . According to some history very effective and were increased to 4
regiments from only one , because of their good showing .
Militia were in some cases issued the Harpers ferry rifle but in very small
numbers ,as well as the contract rifles also in small numbers .
So we are talking about light infantry ,Most commanders did not want to be
bothered with them ,In many cases they were rearmed with muskets and fought
as regular infantry . Today's reenactor officers have the same problem when
a rifle group shows up , what do I do with them .
Riflemen US were known as being unruly and surely hard to control ,an
attitude they picked up from being considered an elite unit ,many problems
existed surrounding them .
Read Green Coats and Glory ,John C Fredrickson , ISBN:0-941967-22-0
MEN AT ARMS 345 James L Kochan ISBN 1-84176-051-X
The rival unit on the Canadian frontier were the Glengarry Light Infantry
,however I do not know their history ,and they might have carried a double
sighted musket rather than a rifle . They were good enough to capture
Captain Forsyth's sword as they pushed the US RR out of a town in some haste
.The captain was the most famous of rifle officers US. Also giving his life
up to a rifle armed Indian Allis of the British forces .
Jim Keeger might want to chime in at this point .
> The US had the Regiment of Rifles ,and militia riflemen aswell ,the RR were
> regulars and used eight different types of rifles the HarpersFerry rifle
> being one of them ,and then seven different contract rifles .Lloyd, thanks for the reply. I am not quite up to all the lingo what
does "RR" mean? Also what is a "contract" rifle?
- Hi Edward,
In 1812 all of the contract rifles in stock at Harpers Ferry Arsenal
were given replacement locks and if I remember correctly, shortened to a
In 1792 when Gen Anthony Wayne organized the army into the Legion, Rifle
Companies were added. The US had never produced rifles for the Army. A
contract was issued to several Lancaster County PA rifle makers for a
plain flintlock rifle with a .49 cal. bbl. and plain wood and plain
brass furniture. A few minor changes were made quickly shortening the
bbl. to 42 inches. In 1807 new specifications were issued shortening
the barrel, increasing the caliber to .54 and making the bbl. half
round. For complete information see Robert Reilly's " United States
Martial Flintlocks " which is one of the best sources on this topic.
- Edward ,
RR = Regiment of Rifles Their were different Shako =[Hat] plates one
such plate was a brass diamond with the initials RR in the center that was
worn on the front of said plate.
Contract rifles were rifles that the US government supplied the 1803 Harpers
Ferry parts for and the contractors put those parts in their own pattern of
stock , some supplied their own patch box and butt plate ,others supplied
their own lock .
This was done because the Harpers Ferry arsenal was being over expected of
and could not keep up with demand ,through no fault of their own .
These contract rifles we are talking about are from the contracts of the war
Another good book for you to read is 226 men at arms ISBN 0-85045-197-3.
AND ,UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT OF THE UNITED STATES forces in the War of 1812
,ISBN 0-941967-13-1 Very difficult to get, try a library .
Their were contract rifles from a previous time period that I will not get
into right now as they do not pertain to 1812 . I will say that some of the
older contract rifles ,that were still in storage were ordered cut down ,I
believe 6 or 8 inches these were issued to States militia as they were not
the 54 cal required to be issued to regular units ,also in small quantity
.Also they did not have the harpers Ferry parts involved they were truly
Pennsylvania and Kentucky rifles .
- I think this is one of my first posts here despite being a memeber
for a long time.
I'm chiming in as one of the reenacting groups I belong to reenacts
Captain Forsyth's, Forsyth's Rifles Regiment. The unit is based in
Ogdensburg, New York. I'm sure some here have heard of the group.
--- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Annette and Lloyd" <agower@b...>
They were good enough to capture
> Captain Forsyth's sword as they pushed the US RR out of a town insome haste
> .The captain was the most famous of rifle officers US. Also givinghis life
> up to a rifle armed Indian Allis of the British forces .