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The American Riflemen in the Revolutionary War

Written By: Roger D. McGrath  |  Posted: Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

The inspiring story of the American Riflemen and Timothy Murphy, the chief among the Riflemen. Part Two

A Rifleman's Effect
Murphy fought in the Siege of Boston, then in the battles of Long Island and Westchester. By 1776, he was a sergeant in the 12th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Line and fought at Trenton, Princeton, and New Brunswick. During July 1777, he was transferred to Morgan's Rifle Corps, led by the legendary Daniel Morgan. A giant of a man with "thick, broad shoulders and arms like tree trunks, " Morgan was born to Welsh immigrant parents in New Jersey (or Pennsylvania). He left home in his mid-teens and finished his growing up on the frontier. He served in the French and Indian War as a teamster, hauling supplies for the British army. For punching a British officer, Morgan suffered a hundred lashes, a punishment that might have killed an ordinary man. His back would be scarred for life. He later served in the war as a ranger in Virginia's colonial militia, fighting Shawnee in the Ohio Valley. When the Revolution erupted, Morgan joined a rifle company and was immediately elected captain. He served in Benedict Arnold's expedition to Canada and fought heroically, although he was eventually captured and imprisoned by the British for eight months. Upon his return to the American side in a prisoner exchange, he was promoted to colonel and given command of a special corps of frontier riflemen.

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