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Legion of the United States (Wayne’s Legion) Infantryman Advancing Loading, 1794
Loading and firing a muzzle-loading smoothbore musket required about 12 different steps, or movements. The cartridge needed to be retrieved from the cartridge box, the paper cartridge was then torn open and a small amount of gunpowder poured into the pan on the lock. The ball and remaining powder in the cartridge was then placed in the barrel, the ball was then rammed to the breech with the ramrod, and then the ramrod returned beneath the barrel before the weapon was ready to fire. Although a trained soldier was expected to do this procedure three times a minute in platoon firings, the rate of fire was much lower when on the move. In most cases it was more effective to pause and reload, especially when moving through forest or broken ground.
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