Who Were Morgan & Murphy?
The American Rifleman has been the subject of myth and grandiose stories since before we were a nation. The settlers along the western frontier of our young nation in Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina relied on their skills with a rifle to carve a living from the wilderness. For them, being good with a rifle was more than a sport it was a way of life.
During the Revolutionary War, the frontier riflemen used the skills and tools that they honed hunting to aid in the bid for independence. These frontiersmen were organized into a Provisional Rifle Corp under the Command of Daniel Morgan. Known for a fiery temperament, Morgan was also a brilliant tactician with great loyalty to his men, friends and his country. Each rifleman that served in what became known as Morgan’s Rifles, had to be able to repeatedly hit a 7-inch shingle at 250 yards.
Amongst those capable of hitting the mark with their flintlock rifles, Timothy Murphy stood out. His name was cemented in history as being credited with a 300 yard shot to British Brigadier General Frasier, removing him from the fight (he expired later that evening) during the Battle of Bemis Heights (or the Second Battle of Saratoga). This battle marked a turning point for our young nation and France soon joined our efforts for independence.
Both Morgan & Murphy survived the war and fought through several other key battles in the revolution. Each of the men who served with Morgan & Murphy understood the craft of using their rifles either in the field hunting or the field of battle. In their day, the Kentucky Long Rifle was the peak of firearm technology and they knew that a properly maintained firearm was crucial for their needs.