Spencers and Brooklyn Eagles

Sorry for the radio silence but a couple of projects haven’t left me much time to blog. Here are a couple of things from around the web that might interest TOCWOC readers.

A look a Christopher Spencer, “[A] quiet little Yankee who sold himself in relentless slavery to his idea for six weary years until it was perfect.” Spencer’s rifle certainly changed history as being one of the first really combat-ready repeaters. Although it won its greatest fame with the Union cavalry it also wrought somewhat of a revolution on the skirmish line.

Reason mag looks at Tom Tryniski, who singlehandedly and without government grants digitized the entire 115-year run of the Brooklyn Eagle. As the article points out, at least during the Civil War period the Eagle was very influential and probably the closest thing to a newspaper of record that New York had. The New York Times, OTOH, was just another scrappy little daily and did not come into its own until it was bought by the Ochs family well after the war. Overall we are finally seeing a lot of newspapers being digitized or transcribed which is a great thing, as these are the last really untapped resource of Civil War information.

And finally, if you’re interested in what it takes to hit a target at 500 yards, here’s all you need. Relatively easy these days to get everything you need, but not so easy to do — it’s a long way! Think about what it would have been like with primitive telescopes and black powder giving you about half the muzzle velocity. This was about the distance of the shot that killed “Uncle John” Sedgwick.


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