The Effect of Bayonets, The Oldest revolver

by Fred Ray on September 20, 2020 · 0 comments

Cap and Ball is at it again, this time to answer a question that often comes up about Civil War rifles. Did the addition of a bayonet have any effect on accuracy? He also has some commentary on the use of bayonets during the war.

We often hear that Sam Colt invented the revolver, and that he got the idea during a transatlantic crossing in the 1840s while watching the helmsman turn the ship’s wheel. In truth, however, the revolver goes back much farther than that. The first one we actually have belonged to one Georg von Reichwein and dates all the way back to 1597. It’s more accurate to say that Colt designed the first practical mass-produced revolver. Guns like that of von Reichwein were hand made and available only to rich people and the nobility.

 

{ 0 comments }


***

Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

Civil War Amputation Kit

by Fred Ray on August 23, 2020 · 0 comments

Amputation of wounded limbs was not new but reached somewhat of a high point in the Civil War. The Minie ball, in particular, was notorious for shattering bone. Doctors soon found that trying to save a limb was counterproductive—it almost always became infected and the patient died. We have all seen gruesome photos of severed arms and legs piled up next to a field hospital, sometimes higher than the roof.

An upcoming auction has a very nice example of a Civil War era amputation kit (and it’s not cheap) that shows what a typical surgeon would have used.

Although we think of Civil War medicine as primitive (and it was by today’s standards), medical practice made huge strides during the war. At he conflict’s beginning, for instance, the death rate for hospitals hovered around 50%, when the were available. By war’s end the figure had been reduced to 6-8% on both sides.

UPDATE: Speaking of interesting things at auctions, I came across this. It’s a wooden scale model of the C.S.S. Tennessee of Mobile Bay fame. Don’t know what I would do with it and don’t have space to display it, but the cool factor is hard to beat.

{ 0 comments }


***

Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

Four Civil War Pistols (and the rounds they fired)

by Fred Ray August 12, 2020

Cap and Ball, whom we have met before, has a very informative post on four Civil War revolvers—the Colt, the Remington, Starr, and Adams. He shows how each worked and which worked best. He also shows the paper cartridges they fired and how to make them. Quite interesting if you want to know the details […]

Read the full article →

Gone With The Wind—Or Are They?

by Fred Ray August 4, 2020

A look at the people who buy all those statues people have been tearing down. The leaders of Newton Falls have declared their town a “sanctuary city” for unwanted statuary. “History is a big part of this community’s identity – you can still dig up arrowheads in the fields – and we have acres of […]

Read the full article →

Josie Wales’s Gun For Sale

by Fred Ray July 24, 2020

One of the guns from what was probably Clint Eastwood’s best Western is up for auction. Set in Missouri during and just after the Civil War, it chronicles the flight of an ex-Confederate guerilla to escape a vengeful Union. “Well, you gonna pull those pistols or whistle ‘Dixie’?” Moments after delivering this line in the […]

Read the full article →

Civil War Smallpox Strains Found

by Fred Ray July 23, 2020

Smallpox, unlike the Minié ball, was an indiscriminate, equal-opportunity killer that killed about 30% of those it infected.  Although there was no cure, English physician Edward Jenner had devised a vaccine of sorts. He noticed that milkmaids often contracted cowpox, which resembled smallpox but was much less virulent, and were thereafter immune to smallpox. He […]

Read the full article →

Gray Lady Down, Dispatches From the Statue Wars

by Fred Ray July 19, 2020

Michael Goodwin (New York Post) has another, harder look at the New York Times’s ruling Ochs-Sulzberger clan in a new column. After recounting what he revealed in the last column, he goes on to show that a member of their extended family owned slaves. Bertha Levy (later Ochs) lived for a time with her Uncle […]

Read the full article →