FIREARMS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
The armies of four nations took part in this struggle: Great Britain, Germany, France, and America. The British Army was made up of English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh subjects of King George the Third, all commonly called English, and the hired German troops forced into the war by their rulers the electors or princes of Brunswick, Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Hanau, Anspach-Beyruth, Waldeck, and Anhalt-zerbst, all commonly called Hessians. The British Army in America totaled for a short time only about forty thousand; it did not generally exceed twenty thousand; the total number of Germans who came to America was twenty-nine thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven; the greatest number at one time did not exceed twenty thousand. The French Army, which came after the victory at Saratoga, numbered about four thousand; when reinforced by French marines and sailors during the siege of Yorktown it totaled about seven thousand. The American Army consisted of troops put into the field by the Continental Congress, called Continentals, and state troops called Militia. There are no reliable records as to the total number of different soldiers who enlisted, or the greatest number enrolled at one time; careful sifting of evidence leaves indications that sixteen thousand and perhaps one or two hundred were the greatest number bearing arms at once. The navies of three nations — England, France, and America — cooperated with their armies. The American navy consisted early in the war of thirteen small vessels; they were soon destroyed and were not replaced; privateers did the sea service of America. The firearms used in the navies of England, France, and America, and on the American privateers, were not in any way peculiar to their service, did not differ from those used on land, with the possible exception that blunderbusses were used and rifles were not, did not of themselves alone, by peculiar fitness or unfitness, influence the war, and therefore need no classification. Also the arms used by deserters and by Indians in the opposing armies do not affect the general classification, as follows: —
English Army—muskets, a few rifles of one type, pistols. Navy—
muskets, pistols, blunderbusses.
German Army — muskets, rifles (six to eight hundred), a few pistols.
American Army — muskets of many kinds and ages, fowling-pieces of infinite variety, rifles in great numbers and variety, pistols of all the flint kinds known. Navy—muskets, fowling-pieces, pistols, and blunderbusses — anything that would shoot.
French Army — muskets and pistols. Navy — muskets, pistols, blunderbusses.
Sawyer, Charles. Firearms in American History. Boston: The Author,
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