Durs Egg Ferguson – The Rifle That Didn’t Shoot George Washington

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Captain Patrick Ferguson was a British officer who designed and patented a breechloading rifle in 1776, which would actually see service in the American Revolution at the Battle of Brandywine. Ferguson presented two rifles to the British military for consideration, one of them being this specific gun. In a shooting demonstration on a windy, rainy day he convinced the Board of Ordnance of the viability of his rifle, and a field trials was set in motion. One hundred Ferguson rifles were made for the Crown, and Ferguson was detached form his Regiment to be given command of a company of specially trained elite riflemen. His men were drilled in accurate shoot as well as use of the bayonet, they were organized in small groups to make use of cover and concealment, and they were fitted with green uniforms to blend into the terrain. This unit deployed to the American colonies in 1777, and saw action in the Battle of Brandywine.

Unfortunately for Ferguson and his ideas, the unit didn’t make any particularly notable impact on the battle, although not by any fault of their own. Worse, Ferguson was wounded, and because the unit was so heavily dependent on him it was disbanded while he recuperated. He did see service again at the Battle of King’s Mountain, where he was killed in action. This particular Ferguson rifle was made by the noted London gunsmith Durs Egg, and is one of the two guns presented to the Board of Ordnance that began the whole series of events.

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