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"Will the Real Rangers Please Stand Up?" Topic


16 Posts

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Areas of Interest

18th Century

569 hits since 10 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2019 7:40 p.m. PST

Which units on either side of the AWI qualify as "Rangers" in more than name only?

I'm interested in opinions about separating Rugged Rangers from Mere Posers

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2019 7:51 p.m. PST

If by "Rangers" you mean a "ranging company", the only named Rangers that I would nominate would be Butler's Rangers.

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2019 8:16 p.m. PST

Gotta agree with Winston. Seems that the reputation of "Rangers" in the FIW was such that it was cool to call one's unit "Rangers" in the AWI.

42flanker10 Jan 2019 11:42 p.m. PST

The Queen's Rangers under Simcoe were fairly effective. Perhaps they should be seen more as light infantry.

historygamer11 Jan 2019 4:42 a.m. PST

The King's Rangers, both north and south:

link

link

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 8:30 a.m. PST

*singing*
"I want to be a Rugged Ranger!"

Virginia Tory11 Jan 2019 12:01 p.m. PST

It's not like there was a Ranger tab back then.

Virginia Tory11 Jan 2019 12:01 p.m. PST

Butler's Rangers?

oldnorthstate12 Jan 2019 6:43 a.m. PST

During the 1776 campaign a unit composed of "picked men" and riflemen, totaling 150, referred to by Washington and others as Rangers, were deployed regularly to gather intelligence and undertake difficult missions. This unit triggered the skirmish that eventually grew into the Battle of Harlem Heights. At Fort Washington it was composed of riflemen from two previous rifle regiments that had been decimated by the campaign. It surrendered along with 2,700 others when the Fort fell and I haven't seen reference to the Rangers again in Washington's correspondence. I think the phrase picked men was used consistently to reference units of this type.

42flanker12 Jan 2019 4:08 p.m. PST

Knowlton's Rangers. The future of the unit was compromised by their commanding officer and founder, Colonel Thomas Knowlton, being mortally wounded in the Harlem Heights action.

Wasn't Nathan Hale, hanged for a spy in New York some days later, also a member of the unit- or is that just a rumour?

Bill N12 Jan 2019 9:33 p.m. PST

I think your chronology is backwards ONS. The rifle unit that gave the Hessians trouble north of the fort was the Maryland & Virginia Rifle Regiment. At the time of Fort Washington it was still in formation, which in part explains how around a third of the troops survived to continue fighting in two ad hoc companies.

oldnorthstate15 Jan 2019 1:54 p.m. PST

Bill N.

The Maryland Virginia Rifle unit was deployed north of the Fort and did tangle with the Hessians but the Rangers were deployed south of the Fort, with two PA regiments and were pushed back by Lord Percy and then the landing of the 42nd Highland on their flank.

Knowlton was the commander of the Rangers until dying at Harlem Heights and I do believe Hale was a member of the unit at one time.

Bill N15 Jan 2019 5:38 p.m. PST

OK so different units.

What caught me was the reference to them being "composed of riflemen from two previous rifle regiments". My difficulty with this statement is that I can only account for three rifle regiments in Washington's Army during the New York campaign. The Maryland & Pennsylvania Rifle Regt. We agree was north of the Fort. Hand's First Continentals, which incorporated most of the troops from Thompson's Rifle corps of 1775, wasn't present at Fort Washington. I believe the Pennsylvania State Rifle Regiment (battalion?) also was not present. So I don't know which rifle regiments the troops would have been formed from. Is it possible that these troops were rifle armed men drawn from regular regiments or battalions?

oldnorthstate15 Jan 2019 7:14 p.m. PST

Unfortunately there were men referred to as "riflemen" and units referred to as "rifle regiments" or "musket regiments". At Fort Washington men from Atlee's and Miles regiments made up the bulk of the Rangers.

In the July returns for the Continental Army on Long Island Atlee is listed as commanding a "Pennsylvania Musketry" regiment although Sullivan ordered this regiment to relieve Hand's Rifle regiment at the start of the Battle of Brooklyn, so they must have had the ability to perform some of the same light infantry duties.

Miles is completely different, being shown as commanding two battalions of "rifle", totaling over 800 men in the July returns. Both battalions were deployed on the American left flank and were responsible, to the degree anyone was, for watching the Jamaica Pass…both battalions missed the British approach until it was too late.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2019 8:22 a.m. PST

Were Butlers Rangers primarily the equivalent of American rifles? Did they basically just skirmish and actually have rifles or did they fight in the line with muskets and bayonets?

historygamer19 Jan 2019 12:23 p.m. PST

Butlers fought on the northwestern frontier in present day PA, NY, VA, and I think WVA. They were armed with muskets, but never fought in a linear battle line I am aware of.

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