|No other military force is so rooted in American history as the Ranger.
The origin of the Ranger tradition in the New World dates back to 1622 during the wars between the American colonists and Native American tribes. In the original concept rangers were full-time soldiers employed by the colonial governments to "range" between fixed frontier fortifications as a reconnaissance system to provide early warning of hostile indian raids. In offensive operations they became scouts and guides, locating targets, such as villages, for task forces drawn from the militia or other colonial troops.
In 1747, the first Ranger unit assigned to the regular establishment of the British Army was formed by John Gorham. It was called “His Majesty’s First Independent Company of American Rangers,” demonstrating that though serving the crown, these were Americans soldiers. The company was composed of frontiersmen, hunters, mixed-bloods, and Indians. The unit scouted and raided along the frontier borders on behalf of the British Army.
The bonnet, commonly worn by Rangers, was a Scottish influence since it was believed that many of the Ranger recruits were from recently settled Scottish immigrants. He wears the mid-thigh length waistcoat typical for this time period. Men were considered not properly dressed until their shirts (underwear) were covered by some form of waistcoat. By the time of the American Revolution, the waist coat became much shorter. Around his legs are leather indian leggings. Rangers commonly carried hatchets as a secondary weapon. This Ranger has a Indian tomahawk most likely acquired from a recent battle. Many Rangers carried British equipment. He is armed with a British Brown Bess rifle.
|The First American Soldier,
His Majesty’s First Independent Company of American Rangers, Colonial America, 1747