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Old July 29, 2007, 11:23 PM   #226
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And the conclusion
Quote:
Bart had seen this passenger through his field glasses and was rattled a bit when the stage arrived at the ambush without him. The driver told him the truth—that the boy had got off to hunt small game—but Bart’s timing was then thrown off a little more because Wells Fargo had recently decided to bolt their express boxes to the floors of the stages. Rather than waste time getting this one unbolted, Bart ordered the driver to unhitch the horses and take them up the road a piece while he himself climbed inside the stage and hacked open the box. He had got the treasure out and was already running for the woods when it happened.

The boy with the gun had found the driver standing with the unhitched team, and the two crept up on the stage and opened fire on the fleeing road agent. Bart was winged, but the main damage was not to his person but to his performance. As he scuttled away into the brush, he dropped things: his derby, his crackers and sugar, the case for his field glasses. Of all the miscellany he left behind, only one item proved a good clue, and it was as prosaic a clue as one could imagine—a handkerchief with the laundry mark F.X.O.7.

About six months earlier, Detective Hume had hired a special operative, Harry N. Morse, to spend all his time running Black Bart to earth. Now, with the laundry-marked handkerchief in his hand, Morse knew that he was finally closing in. By great good luck he began his search in San Francisco, where Black Bart was then living under the name of C. E. Bolton, supposedly a prosperous mining man—which, in a second-hand way, he was.

Morse ran the laundry mark down in a week, located Bart at a lodging house at 37 Second Street, and it was all over but the confession. Bart held out for three days, standing on his dignity, feigning outrage at being questioned, and even inventing an instant new alias, “T. Z. Spaulding.” Nevertheless, he was booked on suspicion of stage robbery, and when the authorities took him back to the holdup area and people began recalling him as having just been seen there, he cracked. By moonlight he led Morse and the local lawmen to a rotting log in which he had cached the gold amalgam—$4,200 worth—and told them everything they wanted to know.

In return for his co-operation Bart got a light sentence—six years, based on his confession to the one holdup. He became Prisoner No. 11,046 in San Quentin Prison on November 21, 1883, only eighteen days after his last stage robbery. With time off for good behavior, he was a free man once again on January 21, 1888, having served four years and two months.

As Black Bart the PoS he was still news. A reporter sent to interview him upon his release asked whether he had any more poetry to give out. The years behind bars had not destroyed Boles’ sense of humor. He replied with a grin: “Young man, didn’t you just hear me say I will commit no more crimes?”

Nor did he, so far as is known, though for a while Hume suspected him of two holdups that occurred later that year. Nevertheless, two more poems were linked to old Bart’s name. One was produced by a newspaper man in the mining country, who tried to palm it off as Bart’s work:


So here I’ve stood while wind and rain
Have set the trees a-sobbin’
And risked my life for that damned stage
That wasn’t worth the robbin’.

The other verse connected with his name was a long, rambling affair written by Ambrose Bierce, then running a column in the San Francisco Examiner, as a comment on Bart’s prison-release news conference. The most memorable stanza was this:


What’s that?—you ne’er again will rob a stage?
What! did you so? Faith, I didn’t know it.
Was that what threw poor Themis in a rage?
I thought you were convicted as a poet!

Black Bart’s poetry may have lacked Bierce’s classical allusions, but it scanned better.

Editor's Notes: Ken and Pat Kraft are a husband-and-wife writing team from Carmel, California. They ran across Black Bart in old California newspaper files while living in Santa Rosa, doing research for their seventh book, a biography of Luther Burbank to be published soon by Appleton-Century.

For further reading: Wild Oats in Eden, by Harvey J. Hansen and Jeanne Thurlow Miller (Hooper, Santa Rosa, 1962); Wells Fargo, by Edward Hungerford (Random House, 1949); Bad Company, by Joseph Henry Jackson (Harcourt, Brace, 1949).
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Old July 30, 2007, 09:40 PM   #227
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It don't hurt much, ma'am....Yeah, sure!

Quote:
IT DON’T HURT MUCH, MA’AM“

“Then how come they’re digging a grave behind the old corral, Luke?”

By JAMES S. PACKER



“Oh, Sam, what happened?”

“Nothing serious, Miss Sally—Luke just picked up a little bit of lead.”

“Oh.no!”

“Now Miss Sally, don’t you fret. It’s just a little ol’ hole in his shoulder. He’ll be up and about in no time a-tall.”

Sure enough, in two or three days good old Luke is up and raring to resume his defense of sweet Miss Sally, the Bar-X spread, and the honor of the old, wild West. And Luke’s adventure and miraculous recovery, with slight alterations, occur over and over on the pages of western fiction and on the imaginative screens of Hollywood and television.

But what really happened to those gunshot heroes and villains in that tempestuous period of loose laws and fast gunplay? The reality was quite gruesomely different.

The disastrous effect of a large-caliber bullet on the human body can hardly be comprehended by those whose knowledge of shooting is limited to movie and television westerns. The favorite guns of the West were the .44 and .45 caliber revolvers. Bullet caliber is measured by the diameter in inches: the lead slugs for these guns were nearly half an inch in diameter. Such a bullet packs a terrific wallop, knocking the victim off his feet if it hits any solid part of the body. He doesn’t just drop dead, either. Here is a descriptionof a real gunfight by a man who knew the subject well, Dr. George Goodfellow, the “gunfighter’s surgeon” of Tombstone, Arizona:

In the Spring of 188l I was a few feet distant from a couple of individuals who were quarreling. They began shooting. The first shot took effect, as was afterward ascertained, in the left breast of one of them, who, after being shot, and while staggering back some i 2 feet, cocked and fired his pistol twice, his second shot going into the air, for by that time he was on his back.

It may be remarked that the recipient of the first shot was a tough man indeed to manage two shots himself before going down; but the significant phrase is “while staggering back some 12 feet.” Compare this, just for instance, with the climactic scene in the movie Vera Cruz (1954), in which Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper are resolutely facing each other in a frontier street, their hands just above their guns. In a blurred movement they both draw, and two shots ring out; but neither man staggers back one foot, let alone twelve. The logical conclusion is, of course, that they have both missed. Not so; justice has triumphed again. After a long, tantalizing pause, bad-guy Lancaster crumples to the ground, dead. He has not moved an inch otherwise (or even stopped smiling), after being hit by that .45 caliber express train—an effect totally beyond belief. The U.S. Army, testing the Colt .45 in the Chicago stockyards, found that it would bowl over a 1,000pound steer with one shot, even if the wound was not fatal.

Another sentimental curiosity of western mythology is the hierarchy, so to speak, of wound areas. Good guys are almost invariably lucky and get hit in the arm, the shoulder, or the fleshy part of the leg. Bad guys are much more likely to take it in the chest, abdomen, or back, which means that they are thenceforth dead. And nobody ever gets hit in the face.

The explanations are not obscure. Even an audience comfortably deluded about the destructive power of a .44 or .45 slug would hardly believe a face wound that didn’t show up as more than a neat little hole. In reality, gunfighters were hit in the face fairly often, and the big lead bullets caused horrendous damage to mouths, teeth, noses, and eyes. You can’t show that on the family TV set, no matter how bad the bad guy is.

The reason that heroes so often are hit in the shoulder is that this is fondly imagined to be a relatively “safe” area, well removed from the vital organs. One would think that the human shoulder was made of some selfhealing material, rather like a puncture-proof tire. The fact is that except for fat men and weightlifters, you can’t penetrate much of the shoulder without striking a complicated arrangement of bones, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves. A shoulder wound from a high-caliber weapon could be not only incapacitating; it could be fatal. Civil war medical records showed that one third of the victims of shoulder-joint wounds died as a result of severe damage, such as severed arteries, or from subsequent infection. Even if the bullet hit the upper arm or forearm, sparing the shoulder joint, the injury was so great that the usual result was amputation. Any meeting between bone and the old high-caliber bullet was likely to be highly traumatic: in 1893 an Army medical report observed that “if a bone is struck, the destruction is enormous, the wound of exit frightful in size and irregularity.”

This brings up another important point that TV and movie writers might take more notice of—the great difference between the old lead slug and modern steel-jacketed bullets. The speed of today’s high-velocity slug in effect sterilizes the outer surface and at the same time usually enables the projectile to drill a rather neat, aseptic hole through tissue and bone alike. The old lead bullet, in contrast, readily lost shape on impact and tore viciously through the victim’s body, carrying along unstcrile pieces of skin and clothing. It made a large wound and often left a track out of all proportion to the size of the bullet. Extensive bleeding and shock were common, and infection virtually assured. Almost every gunshot wound was highly dangerous, no matter where the bullet hit.

If a gunfighter survived a gunfight but was wounded in the process, he still had to survive the medical conditions of the Old West. Doctors were scarce, and some of those available were of doubtful value. In most places there were few if any laws regulating the practice of medicine, and all too often a frontier doctor was anyone who chose to so designate himself. Perhaps a fourth of the “doctors” of the early American West held medical degrees; and even at that it must be remembered that in those days many medical schools would certify an M.D. after just a year or two of study.

No nurses were to be found, with the possible exception of a few tender-hearted schoolmarms or “soiled doves” from the dance halls; there were no hospitals worthy of the name, no laboratories, no antibiotics, and few medicines. The universal anesthetic and cure-all was whiskey, which, while it may have raised the morale of both patient and doctor, was not calculated to increase the efficacy of surgery
End of part I.
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Old July 30, 2007, 09:41 PM   #228
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Conclusion of: It don't hurt much, ma'am.

Part II, Continued.

Quote:
Very often, incidentally, swift and accurate surgery meant the difference between life and death. “Given a gunshot wound of the abdominal cavity with one of the above caliber balls [.44 and .45],” Dr. Goodfellow wrote, “if the cavity be not opened within an hour, the patient by reason of hemorrhage is beyond any chance of recovery.” It hardly needs saying that blood transfusions were not to be had.

Parenthetically, it may be noted also that if there was actually a large percentage of abdominal and body wounds in western gunfights, it was not by accident. The arm, leg, and shoulder wounds so frequently enjoyed— that seems to be the right word—by heroes and subheroes on the screen were usually, in real life, the consequences of poor shooting and did not occur any more often than the shooter could help. He went for the broadest and most obvious target, namely the chest and abdomen of his opponent.

The opponent was well aware of this, naturally, and did his best to avoid full exposure. The dramatic showdown that has climaxed so many Hollywood and TV westerns, where two stalwarts deliberately stalk down the street toward each other, good guy waiting for bad guy to go for his gun, was certainly a rare occurrence. Far more often a man was shot without ever having had a chance to touch his gun. Jesse James was shot in the back; Virgil Earp was ambushed at night; Morgan Earp got it through a window while he was playing billiards; Billy the Kiel died in a darkened room without shooting back; Wild Bill Hickok was shot from behind while concentrating on a hand of poker.

A whole separate branch of the mythology of western fiction and film has to do with fist fights and barroom brawls. Ferocious encounters featuring multiple knockdowns, repeated haymakers to the lace, kicks to the stomach, thumps on the head with bottles, chairs, and miscellaneous furniture, and other egregious violence—usually produce nothing more than a temporary daze, with no visible bruises to speak of. Little boys find out better, of course, the first time they are in a real fist fight in the school yard.

In the meantime, the gunfight myths of the West live on in books, movies, and on television. Only the other night I watched Escape from Fort Bravo on TV, and 1 kept wondering when William Holden, the star, would acquire his mandatory flesh wound. Sure enough, he gets shot in (what else?) the shoulder, and for a while it looks as if he is done for—almost as if the screenwriter had been studying up on the real effects of large-caliber bullets. Then, just before the ornery redskins move in to finish him off, the U.S. cavalry thunders to the rescue. Minutes later, there is our hero, sitting straight and tall in the saddle and galloping away at the head of his own cavalry troop as if nothing has happened. Oh yes, he does have his arm in a sline.

Mr. Packer is a western history buff who is studying for a doctor’s degree in entomology at Utah State University.
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Old August 1, 2007, 10:49 PM   #229
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Francis Bannerman article. Here.
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Old August 20, 2007, 11:39 PM   #230
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From the Adventures of Joe Meek

A Virginian, Joe Meek was not one to live the plantation life. He sought adventure in the far west instead and became a trapper. His story is told by Frances Fuller Victor in her two volume, Adventures of Joe Meek. Vol. 1 concerns Meek's adventures as a greenhorn tenderfoot who quickly learns and becomes an independent trapper. It's well worth reading if you're into the Fur Trade era. Vol. II tells about Meek after the Fur Trade Era when he helps to settle Oregon. Less interesting, it is more of a history of Oregon with incidents involving Meek. Still, Vol. II has some interesting things. I share one with you now.

They came across a mission and encouraged them to prayer. Most mountain men declined.

Quote:
Not so scrupulous, however, was Jandreau, a lively French Canadian, who was traveling in company with the Americans. On being repeatedly importuned to pray, with that tireless zeal which distinguishes the Methodist preacher above all others, Jandreau appeared suddenly to be smitten with a consciousness of his guilt, and kneeling in the midst of the 'meeting,' began with clasped hands and upturned eyes to pour forth a perfect torrent of words. With wonderful dramatic power he appeared to confess, to supplicate, to agonize, in idiomatic French. His tears and ejaculations touched the hearts of the missionaries, and filled them with gladness. They too ejaculated and wept, with frequently uttered "amens" and "hallelujahs," until the scene became highly dramatic and exciting. In the midst of this grand tableau, when the enthusiasm was at its height, Jandreau suddenly ceased and rose to his feet, while an irrepressible outburst of laughter from his associates aroused the astonished missionaries to a partial comprehension of the fact that they had been made the subjects of a pratical joke, though they never knew to exactly how great an extent.

The mischevious Frenchman had only recited with truly artistic power, and with such variations as the situation suggested, one of the most wonderful and effective tales from the Arabian Nights Entertainment, with wich he was wont to delight and amuse his comrades beside the winter camp-fire!"
More on Jandreau later.
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Old August 22, 2007, 07:26 AM   #231
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Jandreau busted and given penance.

This is the conclusion of our story on Jandreau, the French mountainman.

Quote:
But Jandreau was called to account when he arrived at Vancouver. Dr. McLaughlin had heard the story from some of the party, and resolved to punish the man's irreverace, at the same time that he gave himself a bit of amusement. Sending for the Rev. Father Blanchet,who was then resident at Vancouver, he informed him of the circumstance, and together they arranged Jandreau's punishment. He was ordered to appear in their united presence, and make a true statement of the affair. Jandreau confessed that he had done what he was accused of doing - made a mock prayer, and told a tale instead of offering supplication. He was then ordered by the Rev. Father to rehearse the scene excatly as it occured, in order that he might judge the amount of his guilty, and apportion him his punishment.

Trembling and abashed, poor Jandreau fell upon his knees and began the recital with much trepidation. But as he proceeded he warmed with his subject, his dramatic instinct asserted itself, tears streamed, and voice and eyes supplicated, until this second representation threatened to outdo the first. With outward gravity and inward mirth his two solemn judges listened to the close, and when Jandreau rose quite exhausted from his knees, Father Blanchet hastily dismissed him with an admonition and a light penance. As the door of Dr. McLaughlin's office closed behind him, not only the Doctor, but Father Blanchet indulged in a burst of long restrained laughter at the comical absurdities of this impious Frenchman.
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Old August 25, 2007, 12:16 PM   #232
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Sheriff Joe Meek - Don't bring an axe to a gunfight

One of Joe Meek's first task as sheriff was to serve a writ upon a man accused of attempting to murder another. Knowing the man's desperate nature, many urged Meek to wait for help, but Meek was not one to shy from his duties and went to arrest him alone. Predictably, the man resisted and grabbed a carpenter's axe with which he intended to strike Meek. Meek was prepared. He pulled out a pistol and pointing it at the suspect, assured him that he was on the losing end. The suspect surrendered. Lesson: Don't bring an axe to a gunfight.
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Old August 27, 2007, 12:51 AM   #233
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Gary,
Just wanted to express my thanks again for your sharing.


Steve
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Old September 2, 2007, 06:09 PM   #234
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Ad from Punch

So I'm trying to find the 19th Century standards for a surgeon to declare someone an imbecile. Here's what I found that, while not useful to me, is amusing.

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Genre: Letter, Spoof

Subjects: Mental Illness, Commerce, Gender

Criticizes the amount of money (£15–£20,000) spent on the legal case to determine whether 'a young man', William F Windham Windham, William F (1840–66), 'is insane or no in order to decide as to his fitness for managing his affairs'. Points out that 'Every wild young man almost is unfit to manage his affairs' and so 'proper people should be appointed to take care of his estates' and he should be made 'incapable of running into debt or of marrying without the consent of his guardians'. The writer believes that if one of her seven daughters were to marry a 'simpleton' she would enjoy a quiet life, and in a postscript asks for a 'rich imbecile young man that would suit my child' for 'the only true Asylum for Idiots is Woman's Heart'.
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Old September 3, 2007, 10:59 AM   #235
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Stalking is not an art to be taken lightly.

Death of “Buffalo Chips”

Buffalo Bill Cody had a sidekick, Jim White, who followed him on the plains. Unlike Buffalo Bill who served the Union during the Civil War, White fought for the Confederacy under Jeb Stuart. Like Bill, White was a capable scout and Indian fighter who idolized Cody and went so far as to imitate his “dress, his gait, his carriage, his speech - everything he could copy; he let his long yellow hair fall low upon his shoulders in wistful imitation of Bill’s glossy brown curls.” He took care of Cody’s guns, horses and Cody. When Buffalo Bill declined accompanying the 5th Cavalry to Arizona, Jim White decided to remain with the regiment as its scout. One night he decided to be known as something other than Jim White and a wag of a quartermaster dubbed him “Buffalo Chips.” The name stuck.
Under General Carr, the 5th Cavalry and Jim White rode to assist of Maj. Mills who trapped some Indians in a ravine but couldn’t extract them. Furthermore, ahead of the ravine was a cave in which several Indians had hidden themselves. As the soldiers attempted to maneuver around the cave’s entrance, they were attacked by those in the ravine. Capt. Charles King described what followed:
Quote:
“The misty air rang with shots, and the chances looked bad for those redskins. Just at this moment, as I was running over from the western side, I caught sight of ‘Chips’ on the opposite crest. All alone, he was cautiously making his way, on hands and knees, towards the had of the ravine, where he could look down upon the Indians beneath. As yet he was protected from their fire by the bank itself - his lean form distinctly outlined against the eastern sky. He reached a stunted tree that grew on the very edge of the gorge, and there he halted, brought his rifle close under his shoulder in readiness to aim, and then raised himself slowly to his feet, lifted his head higher, higher, as he peered over. Suddenly a quick, eager light shone on his face, a sharp movement of his rifle, as though he were about to raise it to the shoulder, when, bang! - a puff of white smoke floated up from the head of the ravine, ‘Chips’ sprang convulsively in the air, clasping his hands to his breast, and with one startled, agonizing cry, ‘Oh, my God, boys!’ plunged heavily forward, on his face, down the slope - shot through the heart.
‘Two minutes more, what Indians were left alive were prisoners, and that costly experiment at an end. That evening, after the repulse of the grand attack of Roman Nose and Stabber’s warriors, and, ‘twas said, hundreds of Crazy Horse’s band, we buried poor ‘Chips’ with our other dead in the dead ravine. Wild Bill, California Joe, and Cosgrove have long since gone to their last account, but, among those who knew them, no scout was more universally mourned that Buffalo Bill’s devoted friend, Jim White.”
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Old September 25, 2007, 09:54 PM   #236
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More on Sam Houston

Earlier we mentioned Sam Houston and his interactions with women. Here's Sam and how he interacted with men.

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The army was marching through a lane which passed in front of Donahue's house. General Houston was in front, and just as he got opposite the house Donahue stepped out on the porch and said, "General, I don't want you to camp on my land or cut my timber." General Houston said, "All right Mr. Donahue, we'll not cut your timber." He then turned to the men in front and said, "Make a gap in the fence by taking out two panels." They did so, and he then said, "Forward, march, and follow me!" He marched around the fence enclosing the house, and by the time he got back to the gap the whole army was inside the enclosure. Houston turned to his men and said, "Mr. Donahue does not want you to cut his timber, and if any one cuts a tree I'll punish him. Take the rails from that inside fence, but don't break the outside fence." So they took the rails and made fires. This, of course, made Donahue mad, and he stepped back into the house and gave expression to his feelings in very strong language.
In our next installment, we'll find out how Sam Houston's men got Donahue even madder.
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Old September 26, 2007, 08:35 PM   #237
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Mr. Donahue and Houston's army

More on Sam Houston's army and their unwilling host, Mr. Donahue.
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After supper some of the boys proposed that they have a dance. "All right, if we can get the ladies." A dozen or more families were camped near, so some of the boys were sent to see if the ladies would come, which they agreed to do. While we were waiting for the ladies to get ready some of the boys went to see Mr. Donahue and said, "Mr. Donahue, we want you to move the furniture out of one of the rooms; we are going to have a dance here." "I'll not move a ____ (using a very strong adjective) thing." "All right, we'll move them for you." So they took everything out of one of the rooms and piled it up in the hall. It was a double log house with a hall between. They danced nearly all night. I leave you to imagination how well Donahue enjoyed it. It was still fresh in his memory when we went to borrow the skillet..."
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Old October 3, 2007, 12:49 AM   #238
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I should have added that

after they had torn down his fence for firewood, had a dance in his house without his consent, Mr. Donahue refused to loan out his skillet. I'm surprised that they just didn't borrow it anyway.
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Old November 2, 2007, 03:00 PM   #239
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"Irish Pluck"

Gary,

On Nov 2, 1998 you posted an anecdote about Pvt. Terence O'Connor. Could you please tell me the source of this story. I believe Pvt. O'Connor may be my great-grandfather.

Thanks

Joe
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Old November 2, 2007, 09:14 PM   #240
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MarcusHook

You lucked out. I've well over 500 volumes on the Civil War and other than it being a Union source, I didn't know where to begin.

It comes from page 137 (revised and enlarged 1905 edition published by F. McManus, Jr. & Co. of Philadelphia) of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Chamberlin's book, "History of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Second Regiment, Bucktail Brigade."

Page 330 states Pvt. Terrance O'Conner enlisted as a private in Capt. George W. Jones' Company B and was mustered in on Aug. 19, 1862. He was promoted to Corporal on May 1, 1865 and mustered out with his company on June 23, 1865 and died in 1896. Jones' company was raised in Germantown (page 19) and was to have been a flank company (p25). They were armed with Enfield rifles (p 29).

You owe me a beer.
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Old November 4, 2007, 01:49 PM   #241
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Don't wear new clothes in battle

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A writer on "Fact and Fable" has said that most of the striking anecdotes of modern soldiers and eminent public men may be traced to the ancients. This is doubtless true to a great extent; nevertheless, a large proportion of those that relate to soldiers are very truly their own expressions of wit, humor, and sentiment as though the ancients had never lived. Men of all times fall into similar trains of thought in similar circumstances-certain apposite reflections or ludicrous whims suggest themselves with the occasion, and are as much the offspring of the last brain from which they are coined as though no other head had ever done so. Grimshaw, in his History of the United States, spices a page with a story of an American captain who went with a new hat on into battle with the British and got a bullet through it, which raked his skull with sufficient force to knock him senseless. When he was removed and had recovered consciousness, some began to condole with him about the severity of his wound, to which he replied: "Ah! Time and the doctors will mend that; but the rascals have spoiled my new hat!" Speeches with the same turn of thought were heard after almost every battle in which the brigade was engaged, from men who had probably never read Grimshaw's story. A soldier detailed for picket duty one day was observed to pull off a new shirt and put on an old and tattered one. "What's that for?" asked an astonished comrade. "Oh!" he answered, "I'm not going to let the Yankees shoot my new shirt!" And another, whose clothes had been badly torn by a piece of shell, settled the question of comparative merits of shell and solid shot by declaring that if a man was hit without being killed the shell was the worse missile because it tore his clothes up so."
Some digression on MarcusHook's (Joe) inquiry. To determine which book the anecdote involving Pvt. Terrence O'Connor came from, the unit was first determined to be a Union unit that fought at Gettysburg (how else is there any fighting around Hagerstown?). Anyhow, the National Park Service Soldier & Sailor registry listed several O'Connors and the most likely unit was found. The unit history (book) retrieved and by glancing on my handwritten notes on the endpapers, the source was confirmed. Darn lucky.
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Old November 10, 2007, 02:12 AM   #242
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With Grant and Foote's capture of Fort Donelson, the lynchpin that held the chain of Confederate defenses in the west collasped. Bowling Green, Kentucky was abandoned. While not the commander of the captured Confederate forces, Gen. Simon Buckner was left to surrender the command. He had helped Grant out before the war when Grant was broke. Buckner was surprised when Grant offered Buckner no terms, no honors of war.

Quote:
"Though Grant treated Gen. Buckner with characteristic manliness, there were not wanting smart fellows among his officers who could not profit by their cheif's example. As Buckner, with his faithful staff, stepped on the board the boat that was to convey them northward, one of his regiments raised a thrilling cheer, when a Federal band, apparently in derision, struck up Yankee Doodle. An officer afterward asked Buckner in Grant's presence, and in a very sarcastic tone, whether the national air did not revive in his mind some pleasant associations of the past. "Yes, Colonel," he replied, "but it also reminds me of an incident which occurred a few days ago in our camp. A soldier was being drummed out of one of the regiments for a serious offense. The musicians were playing the Rogue's March. 'Stop,' cried the fellow, you have mistaken the tune. Play Yankee Doodle; a half million of rogues march to that every day.'"
If you have a chance, visit Fort Donelson National Battlefield Park. It is well preserved and the site of some early sharpshooting in the Western Theatre.
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Old December 9, 2007, 08:09 PM   #243
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Old (Royal Navy) sailor saying from the Napoleonic Era

Some folks might find this amusing. It illustrates the contempt the sailors had for soldiers of the period.

Quote:
A mess mate before a shipmate, a shipmate before a stranger, a stranger before a dog, a dog before a soldier.
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Old December 15, 2007, 10:32 AM   #244
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Dem boots

In the middle of the James River in Richmond, Virginia, is Belle Isle, an island used during the Civil War as a PoW camp. Here's an incident from Belle Isle:

Quote:
During the first day of their sojurn on the island, Mayhorn observed a rebel lieutenant.. wearing a pair of magnificient boots... [H]e watched the officer, followed him from place to place, and haunted him like a shadow till night. When, at last, the officer retired, Mayhorn succeeded in hooking the boots and making off with them. Next morning, however, he began to grow ill at ease, lest the officer, missing his boots, discover the boots in his possession, and deal summarily with him... He, therefore, carried the boots to another part of the island, and sold them to one of the rebel sentinels for twenty dollars...

Meanwhile, the bereaved officer missed his dear boots, and took active measures to recover them, in the shpae of offering twenty dollars reward. Mayhorn heard of it and, seeking out the officer, he said: "Will you give me the reward if I tell you who has your boots?"

"Yes, certainly; why not?"

"I thought because I was a Yankee--"


Oh, that makes no sort of difference; tell me who has my boots... and here are twenty dollars;" and the officer produced a twenty-dollar Confederate note.

"Well," said Mayhorn, "I will point out the fellow who has your boots, but I don't want him to know who informed on him... He would kill me if-"

"Very well; he shall not see you. Come with me and point him out, and here is your money."

The unfortunate sentinel was on post at the time, and wearing the stolen boots, large as life.

"Yonder he is! He has them on!" exclaimed Mayhorn, as he led the officer to a point from which the sentinel could be seen.

"So he has!... The barefaced scoundrel... here, take your money - Oh, I'll fix him!... To steal my - and from an officer...."

"It's too bad," said Mayhorn, sympathizingly; and he thrust his twenty-dollar bill into his pocket, and sought a position from which he could see the - as he called it - fun.

The rebel officer approached the sentinel, who was walking his eat displaying his boots to the best advantage-his pantaloons thrust within the tops.

"You burglar!" exclaimed the officer savagely....

"What!" and the rebel sentinel expanded his optics to an incredible size....

"What have I done?"

"What have you done! Varlet, look at those boots!"

The sentinel surveyed his boots with evident pleasure; he began to think that the officer was jesting with him. Supposing this to be a piece of unpardonable impudence and reckless defiance, the officer grew violent.

"You infernal rascal! OFF WITH THOSE BOOTS!" he vociferated.

The sentinel now perceived that the officer was in earnest; and he asked:

"What do you mean, anyhow?"

"What do I mean! You d__d thief!... Those boots are mine! You stole 'em; you know you did!"

"They're my boots; I bought 'em."

"You lie! You didn't!"

"I did; I bought 'em off a Yankee."

"You lying scoundrel! I"ll- CORPORAL OF THE GUARD!..."

"Corporal," said the officer, "bring another man here, and put him in this one's place. He has stolen my boots, and he must be arrested...."

"I didn't steal the boots," persisted the hapless sentinel....

"Not a word, or I'll punch a hole right through you, you miserable scamp."

As the adverturous-some would suggest suicidal-Mayhorn was among those Union prisoners exchanged, it may be concluded that neither the wrongfully accused sentinel, nor the outraged officer, managed to deduce that the brazen Yankee had outwitted both of them and gained 40 dollars in the bargain. Unfortunately, Mayhorn's Confederate bills would be useless along "Robbers' Row," as the sutlers' area at Harrison's Landing was called.
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Old December 25, 2007, 11:08 AM   #245
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No Fishing

First Federal attempt to regulate fishing was during the Civil War.

Quote:
Monday-Tuesday, May 25-26, 1863, Camp near Fredericksburg. We were told that Gen. Hooker requested General Lee to stop our men from fishing (seining) in the river. No doubt Hooker thinks the fish are Yankee and objects to their being caught by Southerners. Or perhaps he sympathizes with the fish. No, actually, he objects to the "communication" fishing brings between his troops and ours. Apparently he has some secrets (such as what he is going to do next) that he wants to keep from us.
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Old December 30, 2007, 01:09 PM   #246
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Don't bring a handgrenade to a bomb fight

At Vicksburg, the Union soldiers hurled their handgrenades into the nearby Confederate trenches. The Confederates were dug in along the ridge line, which silhouetted them against the skyline and made them easy to pick off. The Federal trenches were downhill from the Confederates.

Quote:
The hand-grenades were small shells about the size of a goose egg, filled with little bullets, probably larger than a buck-shot; they never exploded before hitting the ground, and only then when hitting a hard place, as they were fired by friction, and not by fuses. They wounded several of the regiment in the legs, generally slightly, but killed no one within my knowledge, always bursting too low to strike a vital park.

In return for the hand-grenades, our regiment, whose position was more elevated than the enemy's, threw shells, varying from six to ninety pounds, into his works, many of which did great execution; but we did not know it at the time, and this sort of shelling was not kept up: it was only after the siege that we learned, if it had been sustained, especially with the heavy shells, the works there would have been untenable.
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Old January 8, 2008, 11:35 PM   #247
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Culp's Hill

Here's something that caught me by surprise. Most of us have heard about civilian John Burns who walked up to the Iron Brigade and asked to fight in their ranks. Burns was a veteran of earlier wars and age did not diminish his fighting spirit. Injured several times, he was hailed as the Hero of Gettysburg. This is about another civilian who joins the Yankees in fighting the Confederates at Gettysburg. He is unknown to us today but was seen by 5th Ohio Sergeant Peter A. Cozine who was fighting atop of Culp's Hill.

Quote:
"On the left of our regiment an American citizen of African descent had taken position, and with a gun and a cartridge box, which he took from one of our dead men, was more than piling hot lead into the Graybacks. His coolness and bravery was noticed and commented upon by all who saw him. If the negro regiments fight like he did, I don't wonder that the Rebs and Copperheads hate them so."
I can understand why he fought. He may have been a runaway or may have had relatives nabbed by the Confederates and turned over to bondage. He may have been patriotic and defending home and hearth.
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Old January 10, 2008, 12:18 PM   #248
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Sorry Gary, don't meant to hijack the thread (I love this thread as I am a history buff), just a bit of information: "Copperheads" were anti-war pro-slavery Northerners.
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Old January 10, 2008, 11:15 PM   #249
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Chow time

in the Vicksburg City Jail. Some boys in blue were captured and were sent to the Vicksburg City Jail. Their food was prepared by a black cook.

Quote:
Upon reaching Vicksburg we were placed in the city jail, an old two story brick bulding situated in the heart of the city near the Court House. The building was enclosed by a brick wall about twelve feet in height, the enclosure containing about half an acre. In one corner of the yard was built a small brick cook house, used in cooking the food for the inmates of the jail. The cook was a great big buck Negro weighing about 250 pounds, and as important as a chef at Delmonicos in New York City, but I don't think it required as much skill to prepare a meal in the prison cook house as it would be in the above named place, as about all he had to cook was corn meal, corn cob, and all ground together, and stirred up with water, which was our regular fare... We received two meals a day at this place, breakfast at 9 a.m., supper at 4 p.m., no change of diet which consisted of a chunk of the aforesaid corn bread, pieces about four inches square. It was laughable to see our old d____y cook after having prepared our corn bread. He would step outside of the cook house door and yell, "Hellow dar yo pore white trash, fall in two ranks and come and done git yoah grub." If one of the boys should happen to get a little out of line he would yell out, "you get back in line Sah imejately sah." After they had formed ranks to suit him and we would march past and receive our rations.
It's better than what happened later in the war ('64-65) when prisoners on both sides were regularly starved. Let's not get into a discussion about Andersonville, Elmira, Camp Douglas or Libby Prison. If you want, go to http://www.CivilWarTalk.com/forums, gwine (Civil War parlance for "join") 'em and speak your civil mind there.

BTW Sorch, thanks for pointing out the meaning of copperhead to our non Civil War audience.
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Old January 13, 2008, 04:29 PM   #250
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Definitely don't try this at home. More 19th Century medicine.

Here's something I found on-line from the Richmond Whig. Talk about substitutes.

Quote:
RICHMOND [VA] WHIG, June 24, 1864, p. 1, c. 5
Lactucarium—A Cheap Substitute for Opium.—Port Gibson, Miss., May 23, 1864.—With a pocket knife cut the top of the lettuce off, just before or during blooming time. Scrape on a piece of glass the milk from the severed top, then apply the edge of the glass to the cut end of the plant and scrape off the milk.—The exudation will now cease unless you cut a wafer from the top of the tem, when it will pour out as before; this may be repeated with success for half a dozen times at that milking, when it ceases for that day. Repeat the process daily until the plant is exhausted of its milky fluid. This extract dries and turns brown. On the day succeeding the gathering, scrape the glass and collect the extract by pressing it into a lump, wrap it in paper and bottle tight.
A. . Peck, M. D.
[We have a sample of this substitute for opium, which we will take pleasure in showing to any one desiring to examine it. It is easily made, and is for many uses superior to genuine opium.—Mobile Advertiser.
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