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Old April 12, 2007, 09:19 PM   #201
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From the historical novel, "Corporal Si Klegg and his 'Pard.'"

"Corporal Si Klegg and his 'Pard'" is a novelised account of the average Civil War soldier. It was written by 65th Ohio Infantry Lt. Col. Wilbur F. Hinman in 1887 and from what I know of the Civil War soldier, is pretty accurate. On page 254 is a note by the author in which he describes a future president of the United States of America.

Quote:
During a long midsummer march, the writer saw a robust brigadier-general, who was afterward President of the United States, engaged in hunting the pediculus, with his nether garment spread out upon his knees in the popular style. It was just after the army had bivouacked for the night at the end of a hard day's march. The soldiers had no tents, nor anything else to speak of - except graybacks. These were exceedingly numerous and active. The general had wandered out back of his headquarters, and, squatting behind a large tree, applied his energies to the work of "skirmishing," while the setting sun cast a mellow glow over the touching scene. Not far way, behind the other big trees, were two of his staff officers similarly engaged - cracking jokes and graybacks.
"Skirmishing" was a soldier's term not only for fighting in open order but also for pest control. Grayback or pediculus is body lice. The general mentioned is likely Grant.
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Old May 1, 2007, 09:27 PM   #202
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Sea Grammar

Sometimes its good that some traditions die. Here's some salty talk from the Seventeenth Century.

Quote:
The Lyar. The Liar is to hold his place but for a weeke, and hee that is first taken with a lie, every Munday is so proclaimed at the maine mast by a generall cry, a Liar, a Liar, a Liar, hee is under the Swabber, and onely to keepe cleane the beake head, and chaines.
So, what is a Swabber you ask?

Quote:
The Swabber. The Swabber is to wash and keepe cleane the ship and maps.
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Old May 21, 2007, 10:19 PM   #203
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Be nice to your men

Here's a story of an overbearing officer and the men he chastised:

Quote:
...While engaged in another artillery encounter, our detachment received a very peremptory and officious order from Major Shoemaker, commanding the artillery of the division. My friend and former messmate, W. G. Williamson,now a lieutenant of engineers, having no duty in that line to perform, had hunted us up, and, with his innate gallantry, was serving as a cannoneer at the gun. Offended at Shoemaker's insolent and ostentatious manner, we answered him as he deserved. Furious at such impudence and insubordination, he was almost ready to lop our heads off with his drawn sword, when Williamson informed him that he was a commissioned officer and would see him at the devil before he would submit to such uncalled-for interference.
'If you are a commissioned officer,' Shoemaker replied, 'why are you here, working at a gun?'
'Because I had not been assigned to other duty,' was Williamson's reply, 'and I chose to come back, for the time being, with my old battery.'
'Then I order you under arrest for your disrespect to a superior officer!' said Shoemaker.
The case was promptly reported to General Jackson, and Williamson was promptly released. The bombastic major had little idea that among the men he was so uselessly reprimanding was a son of General [Robert E.] Lee, as well as Lieutenant Williamson, who was a nephew of Gen. Dick Garnett, who was later killed in Pickett's charge at Gettysburg.
One time Lee's son was in a begrimed state when he saw his father and called out to him. The great general failed to recognize the common soldier who hailed him. Lee's son the pleaded, "Father, do you not recognize me?" Opps.
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Old May 27, 2007, 08:59 AM   #204
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Civil War Vernacular

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There were many names, words and phrases in the free-and-easy language of soldiers that were universal. It seemed as though some of them had their origin spontaneously, and at the same time, in armies hundreds of miles apart; or, starting at one point, they were carried upon the winds to the remotest camps. Whenever the flag floated, the staff of army life was called "hardtack." Its adjunct, bacon, was known by that name only on the requisitions and books of the commissaries. An officer's shoulder-straps were 'sardine-boxes' and his sowrd was a "toad-stabber" or "cheese-knife." A brigade commander was a "jidadier-brindle'" camp rumors were "grapevines;" marching was "hoofing it;" troops permanently stationed in the rear were known as "feather-bed soldiers;" and raw recruits were "fresh-fish." Among scores of expressions, many of them devoid of sense or meaning except as they were used by the soldiers, were "Grab a root:" "Hain't got the sand;" "Git Thar', Eli;" "Here's yer mule;" "Same old rijiment only we've drawed new clothes;" "Go for 'em;" "Hunt yer holes;" "Bully fer you." The word "bully" - more expressive than elegant - entered largely into the army vernacular; it seemed to "fit" almost anything.
As far as I can tell, "fish" is still used today with reference to newly arrived inmates. The term "fresh-fish" was used as far back as the American Revolution. The only other term that is still used today that I'm aware of is grapevine.
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Old May 27, 2007, 11:11 AM   #205
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Well I remember My Grandfather saying he was going to "Hoof it to town" on "Shanks Mare". "Ain't got the sand" is still used some places.
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Old May 27, 2007, 11:49 AM   #206
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Interesting turns of phrase, Gary.

". . . the staff of army life was called "hartack." Clearly, this is a minor corruption of “hard tack,” the VERY hard and frequently weevily ration biscuit – really, more like a thick, unsalted cracker. It was standard fare aboard Royal Navy vessels in the early 1800s, as referenced in the writings of C. S. Forester (the Horatio Hornblower series.)

“Grab a root” is likely a shortening of the phrase, “Grab a root and growl.” I often heard in my mother's family, which came to East Texas from the Carolinas both before and after the War of Northern Aggression. It apparently originally referred to field bowel evacuation, with no privy handy. It came to mean that one should “buckle down” and complete an unpleasant but necessary task.

I never even thought of “Hunt your holes” as a particularly quaint turn of phrase. It is simply a heads up, warning that “We're about come under fire; find cover.” In the past couple of decades, I've heard it most often in the context of local politics.

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Old May 27, 2007, 02:11 PM   #207
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misspelling of "hardtack" corrected later. Sorry.
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Old May 28, 2007, 12:43 PM   #208
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St. Patrick's Day

My great-grandfather was a lumberjack in northern Michigan, where I live now. Not just a lumberjack, but an Axeman, begad! It's interesting to think he might have cleared the original forest right in my own back yard.

He was proud that he'd been an Axeman. He considered himself elite, and dressed as a lumberjack whenever he could for as long as he lived. I've thought of using that as part of a CAS persona, if I ever create one.

He was also proud that he was an Orangeman, a Protestant Irishman. Grandpa said his dad had to leave Canada and come to Michigan in the first place because the Green Irish were always trying to kill him.

But then Grandpa also said his father had to leave the lumber camps because he'd killed a man there. Great-Grandpa always had some mawkish poem on the wall of his bedroom, some poorly-written thing about an accidental death in lumbering. Grandpa thought that was Great-Grandpa's penance for an act of manslaughter. It could just have been that Great-Grandpa was Victorian. Those people were morbid.

In any case, Great-Grandpa ended up in Nebraska, where he was involved in one frontier gunfight, right out on the main street (so-called). I wrote about that in another post in this thread, long ago.

One year Great-Grandpa happened to be in Greely, Nebraska, on St. Patrick's Day. Now, to me, one of Great-Grandpa's most endearing qualities was a complete lack of sense about a number of matters. One would think that an Orangeman who had issues with the Green Irish from way back would not go into an Irish bar on St. Patrick's Day. But that's what Great-Grandpa did. Had a few belts of good whiskey, too.

The place was crowded with Green Irish toasting their patron saint. Great Grandpa, suitably lubricated, stood up in the middle of all that and shouted "To Hell with Saint Patrick! I'm as good a man as he ever was."

This statement was not well received.

In the midst of the ensuing discussion, Great Grandpa grabbed a leg from the broken pool table and therewith smote the Catholic foemen hip and thigh. He always claimed he was holding his own until they started throwing the pool balls at him. After that, he was happy enough when a couple of his friends burst in and held the enraged Irishmen back long enough for Great-Grandpa to get away.

I have often said that CAS is not authentic because of the number of guns involved. But there's also the issue of the type. Rifles would have been fairly common. Cheap pocket revolvers would have been. The big single-actions we all love were expensive, and usually illegal to carry in town plus hard to conceal, so I doubt they would have been commonly seen there at all.

But every store, bar, or sod hut would have had a shotgun stashed behind a door somewhere.

Or, in this case, under the seat of Great-Grandpa's wagon. Which was fortunate, because as he left Greely two men jumped out from hiding and tried to grab the reins of his drafthorse. Great-Grandpa fetched the shotgun from beneath the seat. This action reminded his attackers that they had pressing business to attend to elsewhere.

I don't know if he actually fired his gun on this occasion, but it would not have been like him to deny himself that pleasure.
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Old May 28, 2007, 08:50 PM   #209
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Hafoc,
I missed your earlier post about the gunfight, suppose you could find it in your heart to post it again.

My grandfather used to talk about the local town Sheriff, that he was a hard man. now mind you this was in the late 1950's that the sheriff he was talking about was near the turn of the century.

My grandad dad told of the time when the train was blocking the main road in and out of town and the sheriff climbed aboard and asked the engineer to move the train so commerce could commence. There was some rift going on between the trainmen and the locals that my granddad didn't know about or remember, but what ensued pretty much ended it. The Engineer told the Sheriff in no uncertian terms what he could do, and the Sheriff thumb cocked his 45 and shot the engineer in the head killing him instantly, the fireman jumped ship, and the Sheriff just reached down, set the throttle and moved the train far enough to clear the tracks, climbed down, walked to the local undertaker and told him he had a customer in the cab of the train.

This happened in Redkey, Indiana, not in the wild, wild west.
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Old May 28, 2007, 10:57 PM   #210
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Dragoon,

It's easy to find. It's Post #111 in this very thread, which puts it about halfway down Page 5. If it isn't showing up for you, I'll repost or PM it or something.
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Old May 29, 2007, 11:56 AM   #211
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Found it! Good Story. Let's hear some more...maybe ina Great stories thread....so as not to hijack this one. LOL
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Old June 2, 2007, 10:38 AM   #212
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watered down...

We know how drug dealers cut their stuff and it stretches sales and profits. Well, it turns out that's nothing new. The ancient Greeks (think about the time of the Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian War) used to mix their wine with water before consuming it. One Spartan king, Cleomenes, is said to have gone mad after drinking Persian wine (unwatered wine - thus he became an alcoholic). Well, during the Fur Trade Era a distillery was opened in New Mexico by Simeon Turley. In 1836, Turley hired Charley Autobees, brother of Tom Tobin (mountain-man, scout, hunter), to be the first traveling whiskey salesman and sales was good. Packed in casks carried by mules (2 casks per mule), Charley would lead his mule train to Fort Lupton (25 miles NE of Denver) and Fort Vasquez (7 miles further north). There he would sell his cask for $4 a gallon. The traders would then water it down with river water and sell it for ten times that amount. Sometimes, because it was watered down too much, tobaccco was added to it for color and flavor. :barf: The business prospered until the Mexicans burned down the distillery and killed Turley (Jan. 20, 1847). It appears that the Mexicans were none too happy with the Mexican-American War, did not want to live under the Stars 'n Stripes, and tried to kill the Anglos. Well, they killed a bunch o' them (for which they were hanged) and in the process, burned down Turley's distillery.
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Old June 4, 2007, 01:40 AM   #213
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19th Century SW frontier medicine

OK, I'm reading about Tom Tobin who was one of the mountainmen scouts of the Nineteenth Century. Apparently besides being adept at tracking, farming, hunting (game & people), he also picked up skills as a frontier doctor. Here are somethings out of the book (which I bought from the Pueblo Historical Society):

Quote:
"...powdered sagebrush leaves were a remedy for diaper rash and any moist area chafing. Boil the sagebrush leaves in water and you have a strong disinfectant and body cleaning wash. A tea made from the twigs, bark and pods of the mesquite plant will inhibit diarrhea and other gastrointestinal tract inflammation, including ulcers and hemmorhoids. Boil just the mesquite pods for an eyewash that helps any conjunctivitis of any type and will cure pink eye in children or livestock. Then there is silver sage, which is not a true sage but a small wormwood that grows everywhere in the San Luis Valley. Grind up some silver sage leaves and twigs, place in a glass jar with enough Taos Lightning to cover, shake the jar every few days, and in about a week you have a tincture which, when diluted with twenty to thirty drops of cold water, will effectively retard acid indigestion. Make a simple tea from the silver sage leaves and the result is a strong diuretic and a mild laxative. And, always, there is the marveloous yerba mansa plant which can be used to treat infection of the mouth, lungs, and urinary tract. It is also an astringent and a diuretic, and is aspirin-like in its anti-inflammatory effects, which makes it effective for the treatment of arthritis. It is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal as well as an excellent first aid for abrasions, contusions; also yerba mansa will heal boils, cure athlete's foot and other fungus-type infections, including vaginitis. It is effective against gout, reduces fever, and makes a good enema or douche solution. This versatile herb is virtually a medicine chest in itself."
I don't vouch for any of the above, but it's fun to read.
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Old June 9, 2007, 11:50 AM   #214
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Don't let your sons grow up to be painters...

The following is quoted from Jessica Warner's "John the Painter." It is the story of a painter turned highwayman, who, hoping to achieve the recognition he believed he deserved, became an American Agent (terrorist) in England bent on destroying military installations like the Royal Dockyard at Portsmouth. He devised his own incendiary devices and attempted to start fires that would cripple England. Poor matches doomed his enterprise and after several attempts, he was caught and hung. It's a great look at the Scots in England and in America during the Colonial period and of the people in general. While not strictly a military book, Warner provides an excellent account of one man's struggle in the 18th Century.

Quote:
"In the Middle Ages, only painters knew how to mix colors and apply them properly; by the eighteenth century, these skills had lost their specailist standing, and the trade faced competition from several directions. The biggest threat came from paint shops, which were starting to spring up in the larger towns. These shops were a threat because they could mix and sell paints at a fraction of the price charged by professional painters. ONe such shop was already operating in London by 1734, and its enterprising proprietor , Alexander Emerton, was only too happy to provide his customers with printed directions. With Emerton's paints and Emerton's little manual, homeowners were known to have "painted whole houses without the assistance or direction of a painter, which when examined by the best judges could not be distinguished from the work of a professional painter." Homewoners who did not wish to dirty their hands and clothes might hire common laborers to do the job instead. These, too, Emerton was only too happy to provide."

Thanks to entrepreneurs like Emerton, there was already a glut of professional painters by 1747, the year when Robert Campbell published his career guide for boys and their parents. As far as Campbell was concerned, "no parent ought to be so mad as to bind his child apprentice for seven years, to a branch that may be learned almost in as many hours, in which he cannot earn a subsistence when he got it, runs the risk of breaking his neck every day, and in the end turns out a mere blackguard." "This branch," he added, "is now at a very low ebb, on account of the methods practised by some colour-shops, who have set up horse-mills to grind the colours, and sell them to noblemen and gentlemen ready, mixed at a low price, and by the help of a few printed directions, a house may be painted by any common labourer at one third of the expence it would have cost before the mystery was made public." In 1761, the same year that Aitken was admitted to Heriot's, the trade was still hopelessly "overstocked," and parents were being discouraged from selecting it as a future occupation for their sons."
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Old June 24, 2007, 12:14 AM   #215
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Back in the Civil War...

General John Geary was an Alcade (mayor) in San Francisco before the war. He served in Sherman's Army.

I forgot which book I read it in but he got some of the boys ****** off. The boys pounced on him and pummeled him. Afterwards, they fled into the crowd. After recovering, an angry Geary demanded from the audience the identity of his assailants, but nobody saw anything. The American Citizen Soldier was quite a different man back then. Today the Army, Army Reserves and National Guard all receive the same boot camp training and the likelihood of a soldier hitting an officer is remote or if he does, he'll pay for it.
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Old June 24, 2007, 07:07 PM   #216
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Passing inspection

Like today, soldiers of yesterday stood in formation and were inspected. An officer would pass along the ranks and inspect the cleanliness of the soldier, his uniform, his accoutrements and his weapon.

Well, in the British Army of the Napoleonic era, one soldier was very fond of his drink. So fond, that when he ran out of money, he sold his shoes to pay for his liquid refreshments. Ordered to stand in formation for inspection, he knew his white feet would stand out and draw attention to him. Questions would follow and determine that he had sold his shoes. He could then be lashed as a penalty. Well, our brave hero was no slow thinker. He applied soot to his feet, blackening them for the parade.

It didn't quite work. He was caught. It was memorialized. Nice try anyway.
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Old July 4, 2007, 07:34 PM   #217
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I'll pass on the canned pigeon

The following is taken from page 147 of Mike Pride and Mark Travis's, "My Brave Boys: To War with Colonel Cross & the Fighting Fifth."
Quote:
While awaiting this luxury, the men supplemented their diets with food from the sutlers - sometimes with comic results. Several officers, including Captain Jacob Keller, a Prussian immigrant who had come to Claremont just a dozen years earlier, bought tins of preserved pigeon meat.. The other officers opened their tins, gagged at the first whiff, and returned the spoiled meat to the sutler. That night, as the officers drank hot toddies and told stories around the campfire, one of them related how he had gone into Keller's tent and seen empty pigeon cans there. He asked Keller if he had eaten the pigeons, and Keller acknowledged that he had. "Why, Keller!" the officer said. "They were bad. Didn't you know it?" Keller replied, "Fy, no. I thought dey was a little fwild." The officers around the campfire burst into laughter.
The book is a good read about Col. Edward Cross and the 5th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War. Cross, only a colonel, was commanding a brigade that Hancock ordered (when he ordered Caldwell's Division) into the Wheatfield at Gettysburg to save Sickle's Corps. Hancock promised Cross, "This day will bring you a star." Cross replied, "No, general, this is my last battle." Instead of the customary red bandana wrapped around his head, he wore a black one. The color alarmed the men of the 5th. In the heat of battle, Cross was shot in the stomach, the minie punching through his bowels before exiting from his back. Mortally wounded, Cross fell and was carried off the field to die.

Note to self: don't send canned pigeons to the troops in the sandbox.

Also from the book:
Quote:
In the last five months of 1863, nearly six hundred men joined its ranks. Many of these were bounty soldiers, and most proved unreliable. The law allowed draftees t pay other men to take their places. As Livermore explained it, the prices quickly rose, and a 'class of 'substitute borkers' sprang up, who imported men from other states, chiefly from New York City; who enlised for moeny.' Because the brokers had no interest in the quality of the substitutes, 'there came out to us crowds of disreputable rascals whose determination it was to desert at the earliest opportunity, as well as idiots and cripples whom these brokers foisted upon us by collusion with the medical and enlistment of officers." The men built a fence around the camp in Concord to try to keep the recruits in. Hapgood recorded the first desertion in his diary on August 27, writing that the general was 'mighty mad about it, and justly too'; desertions soon became so frequent that the colonel seldom saw fit to record them. During the siege of Petersburg a year later, so many deserted to the enemy that the Rebels put up a sign on their works reading "Headquarters, 5th New Hampshire volunteers. RECRUITS WANTED."
That's from page 254. It's an excellent read. Check it out!
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Old July 7, 2007, 09:20 PM   #218
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On April 3rd, 1677, at the British fort in Bombay, India, the storekeeper decided to send up some gunpowder to dry on the North East bastion. Meanwhile, at the guard house, a certain Corporal Staunton had a sense of humour and, took:

‘an old bandileer and filled it with with wild fire, intending to tie it to the tail of a dog, then in the guard [house], and [Corporal Staunton] running to the gate, the dog not being [found] in the way, he took the bandileer, there being a string tied to it and flung it towards the Old Judge’s House, but the wind being very strong, it blew it upon the bastion and fired all the powder which was 35 barrels all English. There were 8 Coolies tending it and 1 Centry who were all burnt to death, whereof 6 blown into the ditch and the parade, and some limbs blown over the fort. All the doors in the Fort were blown open, and made most part of the Town shake.’

Corporal Staunton was not hurt but was kicked out of the garrison after being made to run the gauntlet three times for his little prank. One is amazed he was not executed!

Arthur E. Mainwaring, Crown and Company: Records of the 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers (103rd ) foot. Formerly the 1st Bombay European Regiment, 1662-1911, London, A.L. Humphries, 1911, p. 60, quoting a 1677 report.

(with thanks to Rene Chartrand).
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Old July 8, 2007, 10:03 PM   #219
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More fighting Irish

Observed by a Confederate PoW near Sheridan's HQ (Oct. 12) in the Shenandoah Valley.

Quote:
Yesterday evening I head two Irishmen quarrel until they got up to the fighting pitch, but they were afraid to fight then, for fear it would round up in the guardhouse or end in doing double duty, consequently they made an appointment to meet at midnight and go through with the gratifying exercise of hammering each other without hindrance or foreign intervention until subjugation proclaimed peace and honor fully vindicated and satisfied. According to the arrangement the combatants stepped into the arena at midnight, close to our lodging place; I was awake and a witness to the conflict. When they met I heard one of them say, "Faith and be Hivin, now we will knock it out!" and they commenced vigorous operations without skirmishing. They fought in the dark, so I did not see them, but I heard the heavy blows fall thick and fast for some little time, then all was still; the engagement was over, and I heard no more. The men that fought belonged to a Massachusetts regiment of infantry.
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Old July 8, 2007, 11:21 PM   #220
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Re: Wildfire and Blackpowder

The story of Staunton's prank gone wrong and the resulting punishment shows a British legal distinction that is still around today both in England and in the US. I think the reason he had to walk thrice through the gauntlet rather than meeting the rope was that the court or whatever body dispensed punishment believed that the deaths were a result of gross boobery. If they had found that he acted with a "depraved heart" by intentionally creating a situation likely to result in death he would have swung for murder. This distinction is the difference between modern involuntary manslaughter and 2nd degree murder charges.

Three times through the gauntlet was no joke, though.
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Old July 29, 2007, 01:34 PM   #221
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So, if you don't want our script (money)...

I love this account of Gen. Putnam & the Tory Innkeeper.

Quote:
After crossing the river, we were put into the back part of a tavern; the tavern-keeper refused to take rebel money, as he called it. I went to Gen. Putnam and told him that he had every thing we wanted, but he will not take paper money, he calls it rebel money. You go and tell him, from me, that if he refuses to take our money, take what you want, without any pay—I went and told the man what the General said. Your yankee Gen. dare not give such orders, said he. I placed two men at the cellar door, as centries; let nobody whatever go down, I said. I called for a light, and two men to go down cellar with me.—We found it full of good things, a large pile of cheeses, hams of bacon, a large tub of honey, barrels of cider, and i do. marked cider-royal, which was very strong; also, all kinds of spirit. The owner went to the Gen. to complain. The sergeant told me, said the Gen. that you refused to take paper money. So I did, said he, I do not like your rebel money. The Gen. flew round like a top, he called for a file of men; a corporal and four men came—take this tory rascal to the main guard house.

I sent a ham of bacon, one large cheese, and a bucket full of cider-royal, to general Putnam. He asked who sent them, he told him the sergeant that he gave leave to take them. Tell him I thank him, said he.
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Old July 29, 2007, 02:31 PM   #222
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Gatling guns actually used in the ACW

American Heritage magazine article

Quote:
DOCTOR GATLING AND HIS GUN

Professing humanitarian motives, he gave gangsters a word for their artillery and the world its first practicable machine gun

By PHILIP VAN DOREN STERN



All was not quiet along the Potomac early in 1862. The 28th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, under command of Colonel John W. Geary of Kansas fame, was guarding a 24-mile stretch of the river, and there were occasional skirmishes between the opposing armies. On February 7, Geary shelled Harpers Ferry, and a lew weeks later marched in and recaptured the town from the Confederates.

At some time between January 2 and February 24, 1862, somewhere along the shores of the Potomac, one of the unknown Confederate soldiers who was killed in these minor skirmishes may have been the world’s first victim of machine-gun fire. Geary’s regiment had two strange-looking new weapons into which cylindrical steel containers loaded with Minié balls, powder charges, and primed with percussion caps, were fed through a hopper while the single-barreled gun was operated by a hand crank. The new weapon, whose inventor is now unknown, was officially named the Union Repeating Gun but everyone, including President Lincoln, who had urged the Army to adopt it, called it the “coffee-mill” gun because it looked like an old-fashioned coffee grinder.

Geary’s machine guns were first fired in actual battle in the Shenandoah Valley at Middleburg, Virginia, on March 29. A few weeks later an army officer, speaking in New York at Cooper Union, said: “One of these guns was brought to bear on a squadron of cavalry at 800 yards, and it cut them to pieces terribly, forcing them to fly.” But Geary was not satisfied with the new guns’ performance, finding them “inefficient and unsafe to the operators,” so he returned them to the Washington Arsenal, where they were later disposed of as old metal for eight dollars each.

Lincoln’s efforts to persuade his slow-thinking, slowmoving Army Ordnance Department to adopt more modern weapons have been described by Robert V. Bruce in Lincoln and the Tools of War. After the failure of the coffee-mill gun Lincoln stopped backing machine guns and concentrated on repeating rifles. But inventors kept working on the problem which had fascinated mechanically minded men ever since Leonardo da Vinci had made a sketch for a multi-barreled “organ gun.” In 1718 an Englishman named fames Puckle was granted a patent for what, on paper, looks like a workable machine gun. But since Puckle’s patent drawing shows that his gun was supposed to fire round bullets against Christians and square ones against infidels, there is some doubt about his seriousness.

The problem kept tantalizing inventors tor years, and some of them came up with ingenious—but not very practicable—solutions lor it. One truly remarkable patent was granted in 1863 to James O. whitcomb of New York for a four-barreled rapid-fire gun which was designed to be fired electrically. It was an intricate bit of mechanism which required split-second tuning that would never have stood up under battlefield conditions. The gun never got beyond the patentdrawing stage, but the inventor’s boldness of thinking put him far ahead of his time.

The Confederates, too, became interested in the machine gun. One of them, Captain D. R. Williams, of Covington, Kentucky, built a rather clumsy repeating one-pounder that was first used at the Battle of Seven Pines (or Fair Oaks) on May 31 and June 1, 1862. Several batteries of these guns saw service during the war. A few other primitive rapid-fire guns were used by the Confederates in isolated instances. One of them, a forerunner of the famous Lewis machine gun of the First World War, was invented by the father of William C. Gorgas, whose sanitary work in suppressing yellow fever made the digging of the Panama Canal possible.

The first practical machine gun, the quick-firing weapon that was to change the tactics of warfare throughout the entire world, was invented by a southerner, Dr. Richard J. Gatling, who had been born in North Carolina but who later moved to the North. His father had been an inventor before him, and Gatling kept creating new devices all his long life.

Like many other inventors of deadly weapons who believed that they could discourage the human race from fighting by making warfare ever more terrible, Gatling considered his motives humanitarian. In a letter written twelve years after the Civil War he said: “In 1861 … (residing at the time in Indianapolis, Ind.) I witnessed almost daily the departure of troops to the front and the return of the wounded, sick and dead: The most of the latter lost their lives, not in battle, but by sickness and exposure incident to the service. It occurred to me if I could invent a machine—a gun—which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a great extent, supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease be greatly diminished.”

This early proponent of push-button warfare went to work and by November 4, 1862, was granted his first patent for a machine gun with six revolving barrels turned by a crank. Since his first model, like t lie colfee-mill gun. used loaded steel containers, it was an improvement over that pioneer weapon only in that its multi barrel principle kept the Gatling from overhcating or from going out of commission if one barrel jammed. When Gatling redesigned his gun to take the newly developed metallic cartridge his weapon became the highly efficient, death-dealing machine that eventually was to make its inventor rich and famous. He finally reached popular immortality in gangsters’ speech in which any repeating hand weapon became, by the linguistic process known as apocope, a “gat.”

But the Gatling gun was so slow to win acceptance by the Army Ordnance Department that it never became important in the Civil War. The few Gatlings used saw service only because individual commanders procured them—sometimes with private funds.

Ben Butler was one of these commanders. He got a dozen findings for his troops, and at least one of them is said to have been in action at Petersburg in the spring of 1865. (A very early Gatling gun bearing Serial No. 2. now in the West Point Museum, is probably one of the guns Butler bought.) The Navy was generally more progressive in its attitude toward new weapons than (he Army, and Admiral David Dixon Porter ordered a Gatling sent to Cairo, Illinois. The Gatling gun’s usefulness in protecting boats and bridges was quickly appreciated, and records show that they were mounted on various kinds of watercraft and at bridgeheads. Three of them were brought to New York to guard the New York Times building on Park Row during the bloody Draft Riots of July, 1863.

On February 18, 1864. Gatling wrote to Lincoln to explain the virtues of his gun and to ask for his assistance in getting it put to wider use. But by this time the harassed President had lost interest in machine guns. And in a few weeks he was to hand over the responsibility of deciding about the Union Army’s strategy and equipment to Ulysses S. Grant. Lincoln therefore ignored Gatling’s letter, and the gun lost its chance of turning the tide of battle in the Civil War.

But perhaps the real reason why the Galling gun did not have more influence on Civil AVar history is that its southern-horn inventor was found to be a member of the secret Copperhead organizations that were threatening to take over the border and northcentral states for the Confederacy. It was revealed, too, that he was offering his weapon for sale to anyone who would buy it—and this meant not only foreign governments but the Confederacy as well. One can hardly blame Galling, who had been constantly rebuffed by the Army Ordnance Department, but he became very unpopular with American military men until the war was over. Then, on August 24, 1866. the Gatling gun was officially adopted by the United States Army, which ordered 100 of them. Gatling had these built by the Colt Patent Fire Arms Company, which manufactured all his guns from then on.
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Old July 29, 2007, 02:32 PM   #223
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Part II of article

continued from the previous post...

Quote:
Once the official seal of American governmental approval was placed on his weapon, Gatling was in a good position to sell it to foreign countries. He did fairly well with the British, the Austrians, with various South American governments, and with the Russians (who called the gun the Gorloff after the general who adopted it), but he could not interest the French, who were busy inventing their own mitrailleuse.

This French volley gun with 25 stationary barrels using paper cartridges was based on an entirely differ cut principle from Gatling’s revolving gun, and it was developed under such great secrecy that when it was sent into battle during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the soldiers who were supposed to use it had never been taught how to operate it. As a result the German armies rolled over France, and rapid-firing weapons svcrc looked at skeptically by the military experts of the Avorld for a generation to come. Among those who saw the failure of the French mitrailleuse in battle was General Philip H. Sheridan.

In 1876, when one of Sheridan’s close personal friends and top cavalry commanders, General George A. Custer, led more than 250 doomed men of the famous 7th Cavalry into the Montana hill country to search for hostile Sioux Indians, he left behind a battery of Gatlings. If he had taken the then greatly improved machine guns with him the outcome of the much-discussed battle at the Little Big Horn would surely have been very different. But Custer thought that the wheeled gun carriages drawn by the condemned horses assigned to them would slow him down in the rough country through which he had to travel. He also is said to have believed that the use of so devastating a weapon would cause him to lose face with the Indians.

Two years later, however, three Gatling guns were used in a battle against the Shoshones and Bannocks, who were in a seemingly impregnable position on top of a bluff near the Umatilla Agency. The Indians were quickly driven off the heights by the Gatlings’ hail of bullets that swept along the crest and scattered the terrified warriors by their drumming rattle.

During the last part of the nineteenth century the Gatling’s devastating firepower was tested many times against poorly armed natives in various parts of the world. During the Russo-Turkish War, a Captain Litvinoff, who operated one of his regiment’s two guns, wrote what is perhaps the first account by an actual participant of the Gatling’s deadly might. When a horde of howling Wyonoods made a surprise attack on the Russian camp in the middle of the night, the Captain described what happened:

“Though it was dark we perceived in front of us the galloping masses of the enemy with uplifted, glittering swords. When they approached us within about twenty paces I shouted the command Tire!’ This was followed by a salvo of all men forming the cover and a simultaneous rattle of the two battery guns. In this roar the cries of the enemy at once became weak and then ceased altogether. … I ventured to get a look at the surrounding ground, availing myself of the first light of dawn. … At every step lay prostrated the dead bodies of the Wyonoods.”

In 1879 the British used Gatlings against the Zulus, and in one encounter a single gun mowed down 473 tribesmen in a few minutes. And in 1882, when British troops invaded Egypt after the massacre of foreigners at Alexandria, 370 men armed with a few Gatlings captured and held the city while thousands of rioters and Egyptian troops were held back for four days, overawed by “the guns that pumped lead.”

The definitive work on the subject is The Machine Gun, a four-volume work prepared for the Navy Bureau of Ordnance by Lieutenant Colonel George M. Chinn, lately of the Marine Corps. (Volumes two and three of this work are classified and not available to the public.) According to Colonel Chinn, machine guns have killed more people than any other mechanical device—including even the automobile—and the Maxim recoil movement alone has been responsible for the death of more than 8,000,000 human beings. In the First World War, he says, 92 per cent of the casualties were caused by machine guns.

According to Colonel Chinn, the Galling Gun Company sent trained operators abroad to stage demonstrations of the weapon. And, he says: “In their enthusiasm to put on a good show, they have been known to set up their guns against the enemy of a prospective customer and repel a charge, just to show its effectiveness as an instrument of annihilation.”

It was during the Spanish-American War that Gatling guns first demonstrated their ability to win battles in which troops on both sides were equipped with modern weapons. The Spaniards had smokeless powder—something the American Army had not yet bothered to adopt because it had so much black powder on hand. As a result, Spanish marksmen could spot American soldiers each time they fired and then pick them off one by one. But even under such conditions, when their positions were revealed by clouds of smoke from the obsolete black powder, the Gatlings worked with the efficiency of riveting hammers.

Under the command of Lieutenant John H. Parker, the first soldier anywhere to appreciate the tactical power of machine guns in offensive warfare, four Gatling and two Colt machine guns were employed in the attack on Santiago, Cuba. Quick to pay tribute to the Gatlings’ newly demonstrated value in such warfare was Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, who said: “The efficiency with which the Gatlings were handled by Parker was one of the most striking features of the campaign; he showed that a first-rate officer could use machine guns, on wheels, in battle and skirmish, in attacking and defending trenches, alongside of the best troops, and to their great advantage.” After the war Parker wrote the first American machine-gun manual, which was published in 1899.

American armed forces were so neglected during the half century after 1865 that American-born inventors of military weapons could not find employment in their own country. One after another they went abroad to work for foreign governments. Yet nearly all the important machine-gun inventions were made by Americans.

In 1871 Benjamin B. Hotchkiss of Connecticut, working in France, developed a rapid-fire cannon which had revolving barrels turned by a crank like the Gatling gun. In 1884 Maine-born Hiram Stevens Maxim invented his widely used gun in England. This took advantage of the recoil of the barrel to do the loading and firing and so was the first completely automatic machine gun. Then, in the early 1890’s, John Moses Browning of Utah invented an automatic weapon which made use of the discharge gases to operate the gun. Browning also spent much of his later life in Europe, for he lived and died in Belgium where his guns were manufactured.

These new automatic machine guns, many of them with single barrels cooled by a water jacket, made the manually operated Gatling seem out of date. In an effort to keep his invention alive, in 1893 Gatling developed an electric motor drive which fired his gun at the astounding rate of 3,000 rounds per minute. He also went on to build an automatic gas-operated gun, but by this time his product was meeting heavy competition throughout the world and was officially declared obsolete by the United States Army in 1911.

The Maxim recoil principle was used by all the nations engaged in the First World War. Mechanical technology in weapons design was then so far ahead of military thinking that in the early part of the war literally millions of men were slaughtered in senseless and hopeless frontal attacks against strongly held machine-gun positions. Then came several years of stalemate while the armies dug in. During this time new weapons were developed to attack troops protected by trenches and dugouts. Poison gas, tanks, and airplane bombs came into being while modern versions of old weapons like mortars and hand grenades were used to take machine-gun emplacements.

After more than half a century during which recoil and gas-operated machine guns dominated the military scene, a new and even more fearful weapon named the Vulcan was demonstrated at Maryland’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in August, 1956. Its rate of fire is so rapid that it does not have the drumming effect of an ordinary machine gun, but, as one observer described it, sounds like the violent ripping of cloth. With the Vulcan, machine-gun development has completed a full circle, for the new gun is obviously patterned on Gatling’s principle.

Both weapons have a rotating cluster of barrels and are externally powered. Long experience has shown that the multi-barreled system is easier to keep cool and that external power provides constant firing even if one barrel jams. Appropriately, the new Vulcan was first demonstrated alongside a Gatling gun. Now, more than sixty years after Galling failed to convince the Army that his electric motor-driven gun was basically better than any recoil or gas-operated machine gun, the principles of the weapon he invented at the beginning of the Civil War are being used in our latesl type of rapid-fire aircraft armament.

Philip Van Doren Stern, expert in such diverse fields as Lincoln, ordnance, and early automobiles, wrote “The Unknown Conspirator” for our February, 1951, issue.
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Old July 29, 2007, 11:19 PM   #224
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Black Bart

The highwayman. Read it Here!
Quote:
The Case of the Plodding Highwayman or The Po8 of Crime
By KEN and PAT KRAFT



“All right,” said the hollow voice from inside the flour sack. “You may drive on.”

The driver didn’t waste time. On this particular day—the third of August, 1877—he was alone on the stagecoach; not even a passenger was with him. Glancing down at the tall figure by the roadside holding the old-fashioned shotgun, he released the big hand brake on the Wells Fargo coach and slapped the reins over the six-horse team. He risked one look back (the man with the gun raised his left hand in a genial farewell) and then he was oft, hell for leather, bound for Duncan’s Mills to tell everybody about the most original damned bandit he’d ever run into in Sonoma County, California—or anywhere else.

Instead of a neat mask or a bandana to hide his face, this peculiar road agent was wearing one of the most awkward getups in the history of banditry: over his head—and over his derby hat as well—was a Hour sack with eye holes cut out of it; and a clinging linen duster flapped about his ankles like a Mother Hubbard. True, his shotgun looked businesslike (though there was something odd there, too, that would come to light in time), and his hollow voice, which seemed to be issuing from the deeps of an abandoned mine, had a strange, disquieting effect. He said very little. He was alone, so far as the driver knew, and on foot. Lone highwaymen were not unheard of, but even lone ones usually found a horse an indispensable professional asset.

If the driver could have seen what was happening next at the scene of the holdup as he pounded south over the curving road through the hills of the Russian River country, he would have had a still better story. The road agent whipped off his duster and his mask—revealing, beneath the dapper derby, a pair of sharp blue eyes, a waterfall mustache, and a jaunty imperial. At once he snatched up an axe and chopped open the green express box the driver had thrown to the ground. The take was disappointing: Sgoo in coin, a check that was loo risky to cash, and some odds and ends of mail.

If the road agent was annoyed witli this so-so luck, he did not show it. From its hiding place in the roadside shrubbery he produced a travelling-man’s leather valise; into it he tucked his loot, his flour sack and duster, and his shotgun. The axe he abandoned. Then, pausing a few minutes before picking up the valise and marching off through the wooded, hilly countryside, this bandit did one more very odd and unbanditlike thing: he took a waybill from the plundered express box, wrote a message on it—probably chuckling to himself as he wrote—and left it behind.

Then, cocking the derby slightly to the left on his head, and drawing himself up to his lull five feet seven and a half inches, he strode oil through the open country toward Guerneville, a hard six hours’ hike eastward; there a man could hire a ride toward San Francisco, seventy-five miles away.

By the lime our gentleman bandit reached the big city, a report of his crime was on the desk of fames B. Hume, head of the Wells Fargo police. And among the most important evidence was the message on the waybill. Jim Hume, a level-eyed, poker-faced man who had once ridden shotgun on stages himself, looked carefully at the four lines of the highwayman’s message. They constituted, if you please, a poem, or anyway a verse:


I’ve labored long and hard for bread
for honor and for riches
But on my corns too long you’ve tried,
You fine haired Sons of Bitches.

This poetical work was not titled but it was signed, complete with a clue in the form of a kind of rebus in case anyone didn’t recognize a poet when he read one: “BLACK BART, the Po8.”

Jim Hume had never seen the name before, but the holdup man’s method of operation was familiar. A hunt for just such a criminal had already been quietly under way for two years, ft would last for six more. Over those eight years Black Bart, who was neither Bart nor black (he had lifted the name from a magazine story) racked up the amazing score of twenty-seven successful stage robberies out of twenty-eight tries- better than anyone before or since. He was always alone and on foot, never resorted to violence, and worked as methodically as a bookkeeper. He came to be old California’s most famous road agent in spite of the fact that he went into the business when the lush days of the mining camps and S100,000 shipments of bullion were only golden memories. Old Bart’s juiciest haul came to less than .15,000, and he didn’t get to keep that one, for it was bis last, and the one that finally tripped him. The sad fact is, gentlemanly Black Bart never did make a handsome living at his risky occupation. But he did manage to make a bit of history, and he has not been entirely forgotten: today in Menclocino County, California, one of the areas where he robbed stages, there is an annual carnival-like celebration known as Black Bart Days.

The “Po8” had waited until he was forty-five years old before deciding to collect by force what he felt the world owed him. Before that, he was plain Charley Boles, an easterner born in Jefferson County, New York, who had originally hustled out to California with the Gold Rush in 1850. He was twenty then, and though he hadn’t found much gold by the time he drifted back eastward four years later, he had learned his way around parts of some mountainous northern California counties—Butte, Shasta, Trinity, El Dorado. He had an excellent sense of direction—and a long, long memory for topographical detail.

He never did get back to New York State. Illinois attracted him, and he bought a farm near Decatur. By the time the Civil War came he was married and had three little daughters, but he joined the iioth Illinois Infantry Volunteers nonetheless and served three years as a sergeant. (A decade or so later, like many another veteran of that war, he promoted himself—to captain.)

At war’s end he was thirty-five, had sustained some minor wounds, and had no desire to return to the farm. He sold it, moved his family to Oregon, Illinois, and then decided to go to Montana. He went alone, and it was the last his dear Mary and the children ever saw of him. He did send them money for about two years, but then he stopped writing, and Mary became convinced that Indians had massacred him. (Much later, after his career as a road agent had ended and he was doing time, he wrote to her again, for a while. His letters were loving, but vague about plans to return home. He was a born drifter, and by then he seemed to know it.)

In 1875 he found himself in San Francisco. He may have come in that direction because he had a sister living in the vicinity. At any rate, 1875 was the critical year for Charley Boles. So far as we know, he had never stolen so much as a penny pencil, but now something pushed him a little too far. Perhaps he suddenly saw himself for what he was, a graying, middle-aged failure. He was bitter, or told himself he was, at the vested interests, and he seized upon the notion of squaring accounts by robbing some Wells Fargo stages. But he would be scrupulous about it, he promised himself: no robbing of passengers, no bloodshed; all he wanted was what the entrenched, moneyed interests had kept him from getting legitimately all his life.

His first stage robbery was in mountainous CaIaveras County, east-northeast of San Francisco, the very county that Mark Twain’s jumping-frog story made famous. He had decided on robbing the Sonora-toMilton stage, and he’d picked a curve in the road flanked with big rocks. Shortly his technique was going to change in some respects, but on this first plunge he seems to lune felt nervous about working without help, and he supplied the need in a way schoolboys know by heart: he cut six or eight gunbarrel-sized tree branches and wedged them between roadside rocks, pointing toward the place the stage would stop. And it actually worked, even though the driver was a veteran in the service.

“No use trying to do anything,” he advised his passengers. “Look at those guns.”

Down came the express box, and Boles chopped it open. What it yielded, Wells Fargo did not reveal—they were often close-mouthed about losses, not caring to entice incipient thieves with too many luscious facts—but it was enough to encourage Boles in his new career. This was July; he lay low for five whole months and then planned another job three days after Christmas, shifting to the countryside about fifty miles north of Sacramento.

Again he got enough to make it interesting, and after another five-month layoff he pulled his third job, also in northern California. After his first holdup he dropped the tree-branch guns, maybe because he had not removed them and the ruse had been discovered on the stage’s return trip. But the flour-sack mask and the duster were enough to stamp all the holdups as the work of one man, and so was his invariable fourword command to the stage driver: “Throw down the box.”
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Old July 29, 2007, 11:22 PM   #225
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Part II

We continue our saga of Black Bart.

[QUOTE]Until he gave himself a name, he was anonymous. Then, on his fourth holdup—he had let fourteen months pass this time between jobs—he gave the lawmen a handle to use, and he was from then on Black Bart the Po8.

No poet—or PoS—ever rode to fame on so meager an output. In his whole career Bart wrote but two poems, though he did claim to have had a third ready for job No. 29, the one he never got to pull. The second, and last, poem was again written on a waybill and was left at the scene of his fifth stage robbery. It consisted of two new stanzas with the first poem sandwiched between. The two new stanzas read:


here I lay me down to Sleep
to wait the coming Morrow
perhaps Success perhaps defeat
And everlasting Sorrow


let come what will ‘I’ll try it on
My condition can’t be worse
And if theres money in that Box
Tis Munny in my purse

He purposely vulgarized the spelling and punctuation for he knew better, as his letters home show very clearly.

This fifth stage robbery, on July 25, 1878, almost a year after the fourth one, was in the mountainous Feather River country of north-central California. While still no bonanza, it did bring Bart about $600 in coin and equivalents.

By this time, Bart had settled into a pattern for his robberies in every respect except the time lapse between them, which was erratic. That may have been dictated simply by economic need, for Bart was not greedy. The most amazing thing is that this quite conservative man should have become so successful a thief. Or perhaps his conservatism was the explanation: his cautious methods made him very difficult to catch.

Wells Fargo’s Detective Hume knew that he couldn’t expect a great deal of help from sheriffs in the counties where stage robberies occurred: few of them were really good at careful police work. Hume, a big, quiet man who usually had a cigar clamped between his teeth, was on his own. But in the duel of wits with Black Bart, Hume held the best cards, and in the end the winning ones: experience, the better mind, the organization to back him. Another trump was added after Bart’s fifth holdup—a reward. The governor of California, William Irwin, offered $300 for Bart’s capture; Wells Fargo matched it; the post office department—whose pouches Bart regularly slit open and plundered, ignoring the fact that the mail was not necessarily owned by the vested interests he was supposed to be fighting—added $200 more. To collect this total of $800, a person would have to capture Black Bart and produce the evidence needed to land him in jail. But for the one who succeeded there was the possibility of added compensation, for it was customary to give a road agent’s captor one-quarter of any booty that might be recovered.

For a while at least, instead of helping bring him to book, Black Bart’s victims exalted him into an awesome legend, a superman who appeared out of nowhere and vanished into nothingness. It was so unusual for a highwayman to walk any distance, let alone across rugged open country, that it is no wonder the legend was embroidered with tales of a phantom horse, or of a devil’s disciple flying by dark of night.

So it was that as he continued his road-agentry, the man who had been a failure all his life found himself an immense success. Although he relished it hugely, he hardly ever talked about it to anyone. But one day in the fall of 1880, about ten days after his thirteenth stage robbery, Bart was in Sonoma County, about 150 miles south of where the holdup had taken place. On foot as usual and finding himself still a distance from food and lodging at sundown, he took politick with a lone logger, one Elisha Shortridge, who had a ranch west of Santa Rosa.

By this time Bart had abandoned the use of the cumbersome valise. Law officers found it beside a creek but could extract no useful clues from it (fingerprints as a police tool did not come into use until after the nineteenth century had ended). When he met the logger, Bart was carrying a bedroll over his shoulder and was cradling his shotgun, so that Shortridge took him for a hunter. Afterward the logger said, “Just two things about him struck me. His voice sounded like he was talking into an empty barrel, and he had eyes that seemed to look clear through you.” He added: “I thought maybe he was looking the country over, sizing up land and timber.”

Bart corrected that error the next morning. After breakfast, Shortridge was giving the stranger’s gun a friendly once-over, a usual thing between gun fanciers, and noticed that it was an early type of breech-loader. He opened it, found that the barrels were clean and bright, and observed to its owner that it was a good weapon.

Bart smiled. “It always gets what I go after. I never waste ammunition. I save money in other ways, too,” he said. "1 don’t drink or smoke.”

Then he asked what he owed his host for the hospitality. It was a somewhat peculiar question in a pioneer territory, where a stranger was welcomed as a guest. Shortridge courteously refused payment, but Bart couldn’t let it go at that. “Did you ever hear,” he said with a sudden smile, “of Black Bart?”

“Hear of him!” Shortridge cried. “He’s one of the main things talked about in these parts nowadays.”

“Well,” said Bart, “I’m Black Bart. I just thought that if you knew who I am, you might be willing to accept something for your kindness.”

The logger thought he was joking. “Sure you ain’t Joaqu
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