British Musketry Manuals, 1859-1920

The 1st February 1859 saw the beginning of the new series of smaller format Musketry Instructions now more grandly entitled “Regulations For Conducting The Musketry Instruction Of The Army.” Popular at the time are the Official Pocket Editions of some of these manuals. Bound in red leather and secured by a hinged brass clasp they are attractively embossed with the full Royal Arms and the title.

To The Riflemen Of America

On 11 March 1874 a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Amateur Rifle Club was held to consider the programme of the proposed match with Irish riflemen. The Committee accepted the programme with a single exception. It was intended to organise an American team of picked riflemen, and the Secretary of the Club, Frederick P. Fairbanks, issued a circular to all native-born Americans.

Planning the International Rifle Match

In February 1874 Arthur Leech wrote to George Wingate, with the programme of the proposed international rifle match between Ireland and America. Leech confirmed that the 1,100 yards range had been omitted – owing to lack of such at Creedmoor. He also sought to reserve the right of limiting the team to not less than four men or more than eight.

Irish Challenge Accepted by the Amateur Rifle Club of New York

On 20 November 1873 the ‘New York Herald’ published a letter from Arthur B. Leech, founder of the Irish Rifle Association, with a challenge to the riflemen of America from the riflemen of Ireland for a long range competition. It was the Amateur Rifle Club of New York City that accepted the challenge on behalf of American riflemen.

Challenge from Ireland to America, 1873

Buoyed by their success in 1873 by beating England and Scotland in the Elcho Shield match, Ireland wanted further laurels. Unaware of the existence of the American NRA (established in 1871), a challenge to the ‘Riflemen of America’ for a long range rifle match was sent on behalf of Irish riflemen to the editor of the New York Herald. It was published on 22 November 1873.