Short Takes

I came across this representation of a target shot a 500 yards by a .577 Enfield and a .451 Whitworth, which shows pretty clearly why the Whitworth made a better sharpshooter’s rifle.


Source: W.W. Greener, The Gun and Its Development (1910)

Google Books now has Life magazine in their collection, and among the issues is a reunion of aged Confederate veterans in 1947, who got a considerably more respectful treatment than they’d get now.


Speaking of old Confederates, here’s a look at the survivors at the turn of the century, including “Old Pete” Longstreet (above), William Bate, Joe Wheeler, Dabney Maury, Fitz Lee, and many more.

UPDATE: Flags seem to be much in the news lately, the latest is supposed to be the “Big Red” flag of the Citadel cadets that flew over their battery as they fired at the Star of the West. Found in Iowa, of all places.

The red palmetto flag, a symbol of victory in that battle, became a powerful symbol for the state’s military college. The school adopted a replica of the red palmetto flag as its “spirit flag” in 1992 and called it “Big Red.” But nobody knew, until now, what happened to the original flag.

The school has found what almost certainly is the original, Civil War-era “Big Red” in a museum in Iowa. The flag was donated to the museum by a Civil War veteran from Iowa in 1919, and has been sitting in a storage closet for nearly a century.

The State Historical Society of Iowa, which owns the flag, and a history committee from The Citadel Alumni Association have determined through forensic and historical research that the flag in Iowa is very likely the one that flew on Morris Island on Jan. 9, 1861.

The Citadel battery fired four shots at the Star of the West, which was attempting to reinforce Fort Sumter. The second shot struck the boat, and although it did little damage convinced it to turn around. One of the cadets on #2 gun was young Sam Pickens, a cousin of the governor, who shortly afterward got a commission in the Confederate regular army. Second Lieutenant Pickens joined the Twelfth Alabama as adjutant, was elected major in the 1862 reorganization, and as the regiment’s leaders fell in battle ended up as colonel and commander the next year, becoming one of the war’s many “boy colonels.”

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