In 1800, an “Experimental Corps of Riflemen” was raised from officers and men drawn from the regular line regiments of the British Army.
The ‘recruits’ selected for this new military experiment were chosen from the fittest and smartest young soldiers of their ‘parent regiments’ ... They also had to be the best marksmen!
This new formation was to act as scouts and skirmishers in advance of the main army as well as covering the flanks of any larger advancing force.
They had to blend into the countryside as well as move swiftly through it. Not for them the traditional scarlet coat and white crossbelts of the regular British infantry even their military appearance was different ... These new riflemen wore dark green uniforms together with all-black belts, pouches and backpacks.
Importantly, they carried the much more accurate shorter Baker Rifle in place of the more cumbersome ‘Brown Bess’ musket of the remainder of the army.
After two years of tests, trials and tribulations they were formally brought into the British Army as “The 95th Rifles” in April 1802.