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Appleseed Clinic at Wears Valley Ranch: History, Patriotism, and Marksmanship

Redcoat Retreat, April 19, 1775
Redcoat Retreat, April 19, 1775
photo by Liston Matthews

Nobody planned to start a war that day, Wednesday April 19, 1775. The Redcoats had left Boston the night before, crossing in longboats to the mainland. Although the troops had not been informed at the time, their mission was to confiscate arms from the colonists. The temperature was rather chilly, as in this report by Alex Cain,

As the men of the Lexington company of Militia were watching the regulars advance towards them, Mr. Winthrop noted the temperature was 46 degrees, the barometer 29.56 inches and rising, the sky fair and winds from the west.

By the end of the day, the colonists had bloodied some of King George's finest troops, and sent them into a full retreat back to Boston. The Redcoats were armed with Brown Bess .75 caliber smooth-bore muskets, with which they were accustomed to firing a volley, then charging with their bayonets.

Many colonists were armed with rifled muskets, which, although slower to load, were accurate to much greater distance. There was a tradition of marksmanship, and the colonists were, by the end of the day, ready to start shooting at the redcoats. The third strike of the match, from Appleseed's LibertySeed:

About one mile outside of Concord the Third Strike of the Match sparks a blaze. The Revolutionary War begins here.

At Wears Valley Ranch, Appleseed Project instructors taught this lesson of our history and heritage. In addition, we were given some excellent instruction in four positions of shooting with a sling:

  • Offhand
  • Kneeling
  • Sitting
  • Prone

Shooters learned at what range they would be able to hit a man-sized target. I learned that I could do this at three to four hundred yards. I was impressed with the instruction. We learned/reinforced basics of rifle marksmanship. One of the things that was fairly easy to understand, but very difficult to put into practice is the Natural Point of Aim (NPOA). If you are in a good position, the bone structure of your body will provide the primary support for the rifle. Easy to Understand, difficult to perfect!

Americans of 1775 had a war forced on them by the British attempt to confiscate their weapons. The Intolerable Acts of Parliament had been followed by an intolerable action of General Gage, attempted gun confiscation, igniting the fire of the revolution.

Today, history is starting to repeat itself, with politicians calling for the confiscation of modern muskets. Here's hoping that programs like Project Appleseed will continue to educate and win over citizens to the value of a well-armed society.


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A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 22:3 (NLT)

Disclaimer: The information and ideas presented in this column are provided for informational purposes only. Firearms, like cars, kitchen knives and life itself all can be dangerous. You should get professional training as part of any plan to use firearms for any purpose. I have made a reasonable, good-faith effort to assure that the content of this column is accurate. I have no control over what you do, and specifically accept no responsibility for anything you do as a result of reading my columns. Any action or lack of action on your part is strictly your responsibility.

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