Q-A's - The Marquis de Lafayette and James Lafayette
Students submitted many questions that we were not able to address during the Revolutionary Heroes webinar. We are grateful to historical interpreters Mark Schneider (the Marquis de Lafayette) and Stephen Seals (James Lafayette) for addressing these additional questions.
Q: What are a few things people do to train in the army?
A: Training in the Continental Army is much like going to school. As a new soldier, you are introduced to many new things, and you must learn about them first and then practice them. Just like learning new things at school. For example, each soldier will be issued a musket (gun, weapon.) The soldiers must learn how to use this weapon if they are going to be proficient with it. The soldier must learn to load and fire the weapon, attach, and use the bayonet, clean the weapon as well as march with the weapon.
Soldiers will also need to learn how to march. There is a right way and a wrong way to march in the army and to be successful, all the soldiers need to march the same way. This will help them to march and maneuver successfully upon a battlefield and give them a better chance of success to find victory. Soldiers will also need to learn about setting up tents, preparing food, wearing their uniforms properly and looking after themselves and their fellow soldiers to remain healthy.
When in camp, everything a soldier does will be on a schedule and that soldier must learn that schedule. Music will be played with fifes, drums or horns, that will signify a command for the soldier to do, so the soldiers must also learn what each of those tunes mean. As you can see, there is a lot to learn as a soldier – just like being in school.
Q: How long does it take to load a musket and what is the range?
A: A well-trained soldier in the Continental, British, French or German armies of the American Revolution could fire his smooth-bored, flint-locked musket four times each minute or once every fifteen seconds. This would be after a considerable amount of training and practice. The average was three times each minute and some poorly trained soldiers twice each minute. A musket ball could be lethal (kill or wound) up to 200 yards but was only accurate to about 75-100 yards. Most often on a battlefield, soldiers would fire their volleys (many soldiers firing together) at 25-50 yards.
Q: Did Lafayette ever meet Benedict Arnold on the Battlefield?
A: General Lafayette and Benedict Arnold never fought a battle against one another, though General Lafayette was originally sent to Virginia to capture Benedict Arnold. Unfortunately for Lafayette, he was unable to capture him.