Honorary write-up on George Rogers Clark Capture of Fort Sackville written and illustrated by David Ruckman.
Rifles Used by the Indiana Rangers
In a passage from the book, “Pioneer History of Indiana”, there is a description of the weapons that were to be issued to the Rangers in their second generation, leading to the War of 1812. There it explains the first Ranger companies in 1807 were foot soldiers but the 1812 soldiers were mounted forming a light Calvary. On page 350 of that text Acting Governor John Gibson wrote in that ordered that the Rangers be equipped with appropriate weapons. Here is what Gibson wrote in that order: “The arms should be of the best that can be secured, not of the army musket, as that is too heavy, but of the regular hunting rifle, with the caliber of a size that would make 40 balls to the pound. For convenience in carrying, if the barrels could be cut down one to three feet and a half in length, it would be better. For the rest of the armament, the usual hunting outfit will be sufficient.”
Rifles were much more expensive than a musket. These were very long rifles generally with a full stock. The rifles that were supplied to the Rangers in 1812 were of a caliber that made 40 balls to the pound of lead. That works out to a .50 caliber, or 500/1000 of an inch round ball. The cut down length would make this at least similar to the then new Harper’s Ferry Rifle. They shot a large, heavy ball that were effective at long ranges, and were more easily handled on horseback.