The Sagittarius Twente University Archery Club in the Netherlands http://www.student.utwente.nl/campus/sagi/ has a very nice series of articles about archery in general, along with several about longbows specifically, and one about the decline of longbow archery-- http://www.student.utwente.nl/campus/sagi/artikel/decline/decline2.html The general gist of this article is similar to the comments already made, but it does give some references for the suppositions. Toward the end, the author sums up thusly:
“Unlike firearms, the longbow needed a great deal of practice to work up the muscles, skill to enable one to get the aim without the use of sights or other aids, and a great deal of dedication. Not only this, but the noise, fire and smoke of firearms, apart from disconcerting the enemy also, like the old war-cries and shouts, heartened one’s own side. And there was the desire of the common soldier not to be left behind in the “march of progress”. The sneers from musketeers would have made archers feel inferior, unless they could also have been armed with a pistol and perhaps rewarded with higher pay.”
Anyway, read it and see what you think.
As a slight hijack (apologies) I believe a bit of slight correction to an earlier statement is in order, and that is that musket soldiers were not taught NOT to aim, which would imply that they could just hold their muskets any which way. The Manual of Arms of 1764, (as well as earlier versions) instructed the soldier to level his firearm and look down the barrel (the command “Present!”). Also, at least in America, both British and American troops did train at “shooting at marks,” even though there were obviously limits of accuracy with a smoothbore musket. After von Steuben’s arrival in America and his subsequent efforts to train the American army, a subtle change (among many overt changes) was made to the commands of the musket drill. The previous British drill command of “Present!” (the act of leveling the firearm) was replaced with “Take Aim!” So, in general, even though everyone was aware of the poor long range accuracy of smoothbore weapons, soldiers were not relieved of the responsibility of aiming as carefully as they could.
Also, (‘nother hijack, sorry) the issue of gun ownership among colonists and various confiscations or regulations and their justification for current gun laws is probably better served in another thread, but state issuance of firearms to individual militias was not universal, and in the case of Georgia, militia members were expected to provide their own arms and ammunition. If you want, you can check my profile below and visit the website of the reenacting unit I am a member of for a copy of the Georgia Militia Act, along with links to a huge bunch of other folks who do similar costumed-gun-nut-type stuff.
Sorry for the long post and extraneous info.