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 it will show that eighty-five years of great and small wars, Indian fighting, and frontier service, proved to be a training school in which the methods followed by Sheridan, Stuart, Forrest, and others of their time had been really initiated by their famous predecessors — Marion, the “Swamp Fox,” and “Light horse Harry” Lee of the War for Independence, Charlie May and Phil Kearny of the Mexican War, and those old-time dragoons and Indian fighters, Harney and Cooke. Before the Revolution of 1776, the colonists were generally armed with, and proficient in the use of, the rifle — of long barrel and generous bore — and familiarity with the broken and wooded surface of the country made them formidable opponents of the British from the start, who both in tactical methods and armament were very inferior to the American patriots. Fortescue, an English writer, records the fact that “at the time of the Lexington fight there was not a rifle in the whole of the British army, whereas there were plenty in the, hands of the Americans, who understood perfectly how to use them.” In the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee, bodies of horsemen, similarly armed, were readily formed, who, if ignorant of cavalry maneuvers, yet with little preparation became the finest mounted infantry the world has ever seen; distinguishing themselves in numerous affairs, notably at King's Mountain, South Carolina, September 25, 1780, where two thousand sturdy “Mountain men,” hastily assembled under Colonels Sevier, Shelby, and Campbell, surrounded and almost annihilated a force of twelve hundred men (one hundred and twenty being regulars) under.Major Ferguson, of the British army. Marion, the partisan, led a small brigade of mounted infantry, who generally fought on foot, although at times charging and firing from the saddle. There were also small bodies of cavalry proper, using the saber and pistol, with effect, against the British cavalry in many dashing combats. The War of 1812 was not conspicuous for mounted operations, but the irregular warfare which preceded and followed
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