The purpose of this book is to correct any preconceived ideas about the American Rifleman; to present to those who wish to re-enact or interpret the rifleman's role, a compact conglomeration of his clothing, arms, and equipment. Also, it can serve as a guide for any who wish to find out about the smallest detail of their equipment based on the few surviving specimens of the period 1760-1790. Often called frontiersmen, riflemen, backwoodsmen, scouts, woods-runners, over-mountain men, Big Knives, shirt-tail men - they all refer to the same sort of man. Two differences, however, are the terms 'long hunter' or 'woodsrunner' which denoted the man, who without a wife or family, lived for periods of time west of the Alleghanys, hunting and trapping and only returning to civilization to trade for a few necessities. Many still believe the myth that the War for Independence was fought by Americans from behind trees, cutting the Redcoats to pieces. Although this was the usual method of fighting on the frontiers, only a few battles of the Revolutionary War were fought in this manner. The Continental Army was trained in the same manner as European armies of the day and eventually learned to fight successfully that way. The war had to be fought in this manner, at least in the east, because the majority of the men were armed with muskets. The exception were the riflemen who did not fight in the lines, but hid behind cover and fired at will, which they could do because of the rifle's greater range and accuracy. Riflemen, who composed only five to ten percent of all the regular troops, were an important and essential part of the army. Though it can be said that the rifle was not the sole reason for the final victory, neither can it be denied that it was the arm that won the early frontier, it being used so successfully against the British and their Indian allies."
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