Thursday, February 16, 2012

American History - A Quote

     One of the great things about the library, as I have said many times, is that you never know what new and interesting stuff you're going to find. Today, while looking at a book on Revolutionary War weapons for my Military History Class, I came upon the following quote from a British officer, Major George Hanger:

"Colonel, now General Tarleton, and myself were standing a few yards out of a wood, observing the situation of a part of the enemy which intended to attack.  . . . A rifleman, observing two officers laid himself down [by a mill run] to take a good shot at a long distance.  Now observe how well this fellow shot. It was the month of August, and not a breath of wind was stirring. Colonel Tarleton's horse and mine were not anything like two feet apart; for we were in close consultation  . . . a rifle ball passed between him and me [and] I directly said to my friend 'I think we had better move, or we shall have two or three of these gentlemen shortly amusing themselves at our expense'. The words were hardly out of my mouth when the bugle-horn man behind me said 'Sir, my horse is shot.' Now speaking of this rifleman's shooting, nothing could be better . . . I have passed several times over this ground and ever observed it with the greatest attention, and I can positively assert that the distance he fired from at us was full 400 yards."

     I don't know which part of this impresses me more, the fact that an unknown American militiaman with (probably) a Kentucky rifle was able to hit a target at 400 yards - a feat which would have been near impossible with the modern M-16 I trained with; or the coolness of the British Major who had a rifle bullet pass within a foot of him, and his only reaction is to casually remark that they should probably move. Remarkable.

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