By Josef Kleffmann, Bowman's Co'y
Back in January I was at the NewBerry Library looking over the 13 volumes of the Virginia State papers of George Rogers Clark. I came across something very interesting! In the folder 16, pane 0563, 0564 March 17-31 1779 is a weapons issue list for Captain Todd's company of the Illinois Regiment. The reason that this list is unusual is because of the reasons stated below.
(1) This list has both rifles and muskets issued within one company.
(2) Each of these weapon were numbered, including the rifles. Each of the weapons were stamped with a different number on the butt including the rifles. This would prove that the rifles were not privately owned ones that came into the Illinois country as many persons believe today.
(3) Only 18 weapons were issued according to this list. 13 rifles and 5 muskets to Todd's Company. Todd had 28 soldiers in his company at this time, so what the other 10 soldiers carried is unknown, but I think it was probably muskets or some type of smooth bore weapon. This would create a mixed company of light infantry.
(4) Along side of the weapon each man that receive one has signed his name. This alone is unusual because many people at this time couldn't read or write. It also puts an end to the myth that person on the frontier couldn't read or write.
(5) In the Draper Collection Series J, George Rogers Clark papers, Volume 46, pane 15 is a receipt of Capt Todd's company. It's for the 13 rifles and 5 muskets. The rifles cost 78 pounds total and the muskets cost 30 pounds. This note is signed by Lt. Colonel John Montgomery at Big Creek on April 11, 1779
(6) As a last note Jacob Dickert who came to American in 1750 and was a master gunsmith built rifles for the Continental Army.
If any one has any more information pertaining to this matter I would be very interested in hearing from them.
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