Valley Forge NHP Exhibit header graphic
ost American riflemen were rugged individualists. A New England doctor with the Continental Army noted in his diary that "they are remarkably stout and hardy men; many of them exceeding six feet in height. They dressed in white frocks or rifle shirts and round hats." Riflemen usually carried the American or Pennsylvania long rifle. With its distinctive decoration, the rifle reflected the owner's personality. He also carried a tomahawk and a large knife, which substituted for the bayonet.

he American long rifle was more accurate than the standard smoothbore musket. However, what the rifle gained in accuracy, it lost in the rate of fire. Unlike the infantryman who could open a prepared cartridge that held powder and a musket ball, the rifleman had to measure the powder before pouring it down the barrel. A patch of linen had to be cut, greased, and wrapped around the shot before it was rammed down the barrel. The rifleman cast his own shot sized specifically to his rifle. He carried this shot in a pouch and his powder in a powder horn. The rifle proved to be a useful and deadly weapon.
Click an image to enlarge
Rifleman Powder Horn Rifle
Shot Mold Knife Tomahawk
PowderMeasure Knife
<_Prev Page Next Page_>
|Museum Management Program|

Last Modified: Wednesday, May 09, 2001