Happy Independence Day: Guns of the Grunt 1776-2020
By Chris Eger
Back-to-back World War champs and arguably the strongest military in the world, America’s Soldiers have carried a wide array of rifles in the past 244 years.
Going as far back as the matchlocks carried by settlers at Sir Walter Raleigh’s short-lived Lane Colony in 1585, America had a gun culture. According to early militia laws established in the 17th Century, able-bodied men in the colonies had to keep “a good musket or firelock, or rifle, knapsack, shot pouch and powder horn” at hand to use in their role in the common defense.
By 1775, at the outbreak of the War of Independence that would see the original 13 Colonies sever their relationship with the British throne, each community had its local militia force. It was such as the force that met the King’s men at Lexington and Concord on that fateful day that sparked the American Revolution, and the citizen-soldiers were armed with a variety of “fowling pieces”– early muzzleloading shotguns– Pennsylvania rifles, and a surplus military arms such as French M1728 and British Pattern muskets.
“Stand Your Ground” by Don Troiani, portraying the 77 volunteers, aged 18 to 63, of Captain John Parker’s company of militia that met the 700-strong British