Patrick Ferguson

1744 - 1780

Inventor and soldier. Most likely born at Pitfour (by Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire), the son of James Ferguson, an advocate, although the family spent much time in Edinburgh. Ferguson invented a breech-loading rifle, which was capable of firing seven shots per minute. With the help of this weapon, the British Army defeated the Americans at the Battle of Brandywine (1777) during the American War of Independence. However, a conservative military establishment ensured that Ferguson's weapon never achieved widespread use in the American campaign and he was killed at the Battle of King's Mountain in South Carolina.

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