Rifles, Tomahawks & Tactics

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Posted by Victoria on January 01, 1998 at 08:18:10:

A partial answer to your previous question about rifles. "Special rifled barrelled guns" were issued to Gage's Light Infantry in 1758. (Gage was to be Robert Roger's arch enemy after the war was over.) This was supposed to be part of the effort to replace Roger's irregular troops in the wilderness war. Didn't work. Muskets and smooth bored weapons were used clear down to the 18C.

The Indians proved their tactics and techniques were still superior to regular warfare during Harmar's and St. Clair's defeats in the 1790's. Screaming, painted,tatooed and pierced nearly naked men scared the pee out of the militia in both engagements (many of them KY militia). Many of the Indians were armed only with tomahawks, and managed to "skip lightly out of the range of the bayonets." Those that did have guns singled out and picked off the officers, throwing the frightened soldiers into further confusion. The Indians fought in a half-moon formation using a "swan shot-a ball and six buckshot," until they could get in amongst the Americans for their well known hand to hand combat. Their leaders were Me-she-kin-no-quah (Little Turtle) and Blue Jacket, both described as brilliant tacticians. In St. Clair's Defeat many of the wounds suffered by the Americans were as a result of the soldiers and milita throwing down their guns and injuring themselves on the bayonets as they lay on the ground and everybody running into them in their panic. Really gruesome atrocities occurred against the women who were in the camp at the time of the battle. In all there were nearly 630 dead, wounded and missing. It was the biggest defeat ever at the hands of the Indians.

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