Its slow loading and lack of a bayonet made the rifle weak against the advance of a determined enemy, so this weapon was best adapted to the light troops, which acted outside of the line of the battle. Firing from positions in woods and on rough ground, difficult for the rigid line of the period, they could retreat when pressed and avoid a hand-to-hand engagement. The qualities of the musket and rifle were such that they could not be used together, but they could, in the hands of separate bodies, be combined to their mutual advantage. This idea was expressed by an American military writer in 1811, who said that ‘where the musket ends, the rifle begins’. He also noted that a rifle corps is distinct from any other species of troops and useless in close combat.