Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Morgan's Rifle Company: Deerlick Scout

     "...through hardships and dangers that would have appalled the stoutest follower of Xenophon...in the heart of the enemy's country, in the midst of a northern winter, where nothing was seen but ice and snow, with raw recruits, half clad, half fed, and scarcely half covered from the storms of wind and snow-the Expedition to Canada may fairly be placed on a parallel with any of the boasted achievements of Greece or Rome..." [1]

 "Nov. 28.—Capt. Goodrich with 2 subalterns, 4 Sergeants and
64 men, were detach'd to meet Gen. Montgomery's advanced
guard with necessary stores, &c., and to watch the Vessels ;
also Capt. Morgan with a like number of men, to go before
Quebec to watch their motions."

"We retraced the route from Quebec. A snow had fallen during the night, and
continued falling. To march on this snow was a most fatiguing business. By this
time we had generally furnished ourselves with seal-skin moccasins, which are
large, and according to the usage of the country, stuffed with hay or leaves, to
keep the feet dry and warm. Every step taken in the dry snow, the moccasin
having no raised heel to support the position of the foot, it slipped back, and
thus produced great weariness..." [3]

"...our people are Supply'd with provisions at Several places By the way,
but being in Great Hurry, and having but Little time to provide, necessaries,
our men were but Very poorly supply'd in General..." [4]

"...Nothing extraordinary or remarkable to-day, the weather is attended
with Snow Squalls..."

"...a Great Number of them being Barefoot, and the Weather
Cold and Snowy, many of our men died within the last three days..."

Survivors of the Deerlick Scout, Quebec Campaign
"Each man of the three companies bore a rifle barreled gun, a tomahawk, or
small axe, and a long knife, usually called a scalping knife, which served for
all purposes in the woods.  His under-dress, by no means in a military style,
was covered by a deep ash-colored hunting-shirt, leggins, and mocassins,
if the latter could be procured..." [7]

Morgan's Riflemen are a group of living historians in Southern California.  I had the honor to scout with this most estimable, yet filthy, bedraggled, and friendly passal of polecats for a few years.  They do an amazing amount of events-for an 18th c organization on the West Coast:  Pacific Primitive Rendezvous, Fort Mac Days, Deerlick (San Bernardino Mountains), Hart Canyon, Holcomb Valley, Chino Military Through the Ages, to name a few.  They also host a colonial faire and rifle frolic in the the San Gorgonio Mountains (scouts, gaming, rifle matches, you name it.)

If you get lost heading to Kaskaskia or Vincennes, keep heading west until you hit another ocean (the South Seas).  They're somewhere around there above the snow line.


       "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD:  and he delighteth in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:  for the LORD upholdeth him with His hand.

                                                             -Psalm 37:  23-24  

[1] Stone, Edward M., Invasion of Quebec, 1775:  Journal of Captain Simeon Thayer,  Knowles & Arthur, Providence., 1867. (xxiii)., University of Pittsburgh Library, http://archive.org/details/invasionofcanada00thay, accessed 29 Jan 13.

[2] ibid, 23.

[3] ibid, 23-24.

[4] Dearborn, Henry., Journal of Captain Henry Dearborn in the Quebec Expedition: 1775. J. Wlison & Son, Cambridge, MA., 1886. (12)., Library of Congress, http://archive.org/details/journalofcaptain00dear, accessed 29 Jan 13.

[5] ibid, 12.

[6] ibid, 12.

[7] Stone, 28.


  1. Looks like a grand scout, albeit very cold! Time spent with the Morgans is always a good one. I miss the groups out there in California.

    1. 28 degrees was the high according to Mad Jack. I miss those knuckleheads!