History of Daniel Morgan

Daniel Morgan served our Nation for many years, dating back to the French and Indian War in 1756, where he got to know Colonel George Washington. Before his military service, and between wars, he was a wagoneer and wasn’t known for being “gentlemanly.” He was involved in many battles and campaigns of the Revolutionary War and eventually earned a command of General in 1780. At some of these battles, including Saratoga and Cowpens in 1777, then Colonel, Morgan led a group of riflemen who were skilled at long range shooting and scouting.

Although the movie “The Patriot” is not entirely historically correct, the main character is based on several real people in history; One of these men being Daniel Morgan. During the Revolutionary War, Morgan was in command of a group of light infantry who included backwoods colonials familiar with hunting, scouting and taking care of their families. They used rifles (with rifling) that allowed them to shoot accurately at long distances of 200+ yards. In battle, this gave these colonials an advantage over the military lines who used muskets at very short distances. The Riflemen were also very familiar with the land and were self sufficient, using skills of fire making, hunting, scouting, etc. to survive with very little supplies.

Morgan’s Riflemen chose their targets – the first generation sniper. Because of this, if a rifleman was captured, he was hung as a “murderer.” Morgan’s riflemen were often on the move and could not leave their families behind, for their own safety. A distaff of women and children would travel behind these unconventional campaigns and would care for the men, when the opportunity arose.

History of Morgan’s Riflemen in CA

Starting in 2002, a small group of living history rangers began camping and participating in events and decided to model the riflemen that served under Daniel Morgan. Some of the riflemen are Sons of the American Revolution, though this is not required. All of the Riflemen love family and country. They are family oriented and, at most events, spouses, children and dogs are present. The women Distaff are a great support and enjoy their own activities and always cook amazing meals.

Morgan’s Riflemen engage in living history events and scouts in the Southern California area. They actually camp, dress, cook and shoot in the ways of 1770’s colonials and the Revolutionary War backwoodsmen. Although not “reenactors,” the riflemen do participate in local timeline events and show the public how our forefathers lived in these formative years of our nation. To participate, recruits must qualify with period-correct gear, skills and sharp shooting. If you are interested in joining, see the Join Up page for more information.

Links to Historical References

The Patriot Resource

Colonial Williamsburg

Books for Further Reference

Revolutionary Rangers: Daniel Morgan’s Riflemen and Their Role on the Northern Frontier, 1778-1783

A Pilgrim’s Journey; Vol 1, Mark A. Baker

A Pilgrim’s Journey; Vol 2, Mark A. Baker

The Society of 18th-Century Gentlemen Quarterly Magazine


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