The Ignorance of History

Let's have a short history lesson on the origin of the National Rifle Association, courtesy of Wikipedia.
The National Rifle Association was first chartered in the state of New York on November 17, 1871 by Army and Navy Journal editor William Conant Church and General George Wood Wingate. Its first president was Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, who had worked as a Rhode Island gunsmith, and Wingate was the original secretary of the organization. Church succeeded Burnside as president in the following year.

Union Army records for the Civil War indicate that its troops fired about 1,000 rifle shots for each Confederate soldier hit, causing General Burnside to lament his recruits: "Out of ten soldiers who are perfect in drill and the manual of arms, only one knows the purpose of the sights on his gun or can hit the broad side of a barn." The generals attributed this to the use of volley tactics, devised for earlier, less accurate smoothbore muskets.

Recognizing a need for better training, Wingate traveled to Europe and observed European armies' marksmanship training programs. With plans provided by Wingate, the New York Legislature funded the construction of a modern range at Creedmore, Long Island, for long-range shooting competitions. Wingate then wrote a marksmanship manual.
Got that? The NRA was founded by Civil War Union military leaders who recognized that northern prowess with rifles was lacking in the late war with more-rural Southerners. The purpose of the organization was to train potential soldiers in case it became necessary again to suppress a Southern independence movement.

Another mission it took on was arming and training Freedmen in the South. Don't take my word for it.

You can see the full version here.

The NRA was always "the Black NRA." They went to some trouble and expense, from the very beginning, to be just that thing. I would wonder at this shocking ignorance, except that it is such a piece of the historical ignorance of our gentle and generous friends on the Left.


Eric Blair said...

I'm going to suggest that hitting anything with a rifle musket was just as problematic in the rebel armies.

Especially for those what showed up with smoothbores, like the Orphan brigade.

Grim said...

It may have been, but having visited the NRA's museum at its headquarters in Virginia, I believe I am rightly representing their founder's view. As I recall the exhibits, there was a significant disparity that was of concern to their founders.

Ymar Sakar said...

Some friends these Democrats have. Not even Sherman + Grant could eliminate the plantation class backed KKK. Won a lot of battles, lost the war over the slaves.

Grim said...

That's a contentious reading of history also, although I suppose one might point to the success of the Redemption movement in the post-war South as evidence for it. Still, the success of Federal prosecutions against the Klan of the post-War period is well documented.

Texan99 said...

I was just thinking of posting on that same video. It made me think of a story one of my high school teachers told us. She was a black woman, the only black teacher at our school. Her family was from Louisiana, always considered something of a wild frontier by us Texians. Now and then she'd stop teaching us Spanish and spin stories about her youth. She said that one of her brothers was arrested once, and her father and other brothers went and busted him out of the local jail, out of a deep conviction that he'd be treated to a kangaroo court and imprisoned or killed. I'd never heard of such a thing outside of adventure novels about foreign cultures. She was a fine teacher; she'd studied in Madrid and demanded a great deal from us. She told us the occasional story and let us draw our own conclusions. I believe she sensed that her group of coddled suburban kids could use a little more information about what life was like in some quarters, but she never told us what to think. Her name was Anna Barrett.

Anyway, to return to the video: there have been plenty of times when I'd have liked to see American blacks better armed than they were. It might have made some jerks in white sheets think twice.

Anonymous said...

You are far too kind. There's ignorance, and then there is willful ignorance, and revisionist history, the last two of which qualify as outright lies.

If a purported historian publishes a falsehood, it is still a lie.


Texan99 said...

I was inspired to look up my old teacher, and I was pleased to find she's still living. We just had a nice talk and caught up with each other. She says I'm totally confused in my memory about her story, though. She must have told a similar story about someone else's family. It was such a distinct memory, though! She was a real firebrand; still is, at 79.

Grim said...

I had a similar experience with a teacher of a similar age recently. I contacted her to ask about a story that I remember her teaching us, only to discover that she didn't remember it at all. How surprising, since I remember the lesson so clearly!