Cut off from his regiment, the Ninety-Fifth Foot, by enemy forces pursuing his British comrades in retreat, Rifleman Matthew Dodd commits himself to fighting his way back to friendly lines. Along the way he organizes a band of guerrillas to disrupt the French army’s pursuit. Although the book Rifleman Dodd is fictional, Dodd’s simple, unyielding devotion to his duties as a soldier exemplifies core values – honor, courage and commitment – which all Marines are expected to demonstrate.
Rifleman Dodd is based on a real event in history – the Peninsular Wars. Rifleman Dodd is commitment personified. He never thinks in terms of surrender. He doesn’t just escape and evade – he continues to perform as a rifleman, killing enemy soldiers.
In one of the opening chapters, Dodd is discovered by a French soldier as he is making his way back to his company. He flees in the opposite direction and finds himself scaling a steep hill. The French don’t wish to follow him any farther. Instead of escaping from the impending danger, Dodd takes aim on a cluster of soldiers at the foot of the hill. As revenge for the French halting his return to his unit, he fires and kills one of the Frenchmen. When he finally returns to his unit, no one knows of the deeds he has done, and his simple reward is a hot meal and the company of his mates.