The barrel, mounting, and lock, should be covered with a composition, to render them as dull, and as little discernible, as possible. The locks should always be in the very best firing order, and constructed to give fire as easily as the nature of the service will admit. Oil, for the inside of the rifle, should be regularly served; and the flints should be of a much better quality than those used in muskets.
Every thing depends upon this article’s being of an uniform degree of strength: it should be of the best quality, but not glazed.
ACCOUTREMENTS AND DRESS,
Cannot be better than those used by the rifle corps in this country, except perhaps that the latter should be of a dusky green, the colour died in the Highlands of Scotland for plaids; even the cap should be of this colour: a sort of helmet, constructed so as to afford a rest to fire from, when lying on the belly.
It may perhaps be presumption in me to say any thing on this subject; but I cannot help thinking it should be the reverse of what is used in the Line. They should be encamped as much as possible in a woody country, as the art of freeing, as the back woodsmen call it, is one of their best manoeuvres. Their whole time should be taken up in the real study of their profession, not in powdering, pipeclaying, blacking, polishing, and such military fopperies.
The rifle out of the question, I do not think slow, deliberate firing sufficiently attended to in the english army. Want of ammunition first introduced it into this country at Bunker’s Hill, and afterward at Sullivan’s Island. The carnage that ensued was a fatal proof of it’s efficacy.
I have often thought, that the success of our navy was in a great measure owing to cool, deliberate firing; and there is no doubt but that the military fame of our ancestors was owing to their great superiority in shooting the long bow; for the exercise of which, butts were erected in every village in the kingdom.—
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Philadelphia, February 12th, 1796.
Were I to characterise the United States, it should be by the appellation of the land of speculation.
Such has been the rapid rise of every article of american produce, of house-rent, and land (to say nothing of mercantile speculation, great part of the carrying trade of Europe being now in the hands of the Americans), that surely there never was a country where that passion was so universal, or had such unbounded scope.
The last great purchase of land from the Indians, on the confines of Georgia, was at the rate of a cent per acre; one hundred acres for a dollar!
Before the american war, flour, was sold at two dollars, per barrel; it is now selling at fourteen.