Sep 5, 2011

Quote of the Year, 1866; The Preacher's Gun

(or: What the Hell? Firepower is firepower.)

Chaplain David White was with a motley detachment of  34 soldiers and civilians trying to make it  from Fort Reno to Fort Phil Kearny on July 20, 1866. Red Cloud of the Oglalla contested the passage at Crazy Woman Creek on the Bozeman Trail.

It was a running fight until the outnumbered  white guys (with three women and two children)  finally dug in on a knoll, still pestered by Sioux fire.

The Reverend Mr.  White was slightly wounded -- more pissed off than hurt. He grabbed his pepperbox  and charged down the hill with one Private Fuller. Gunfire ensued, then quieted.  Fuller and the padre returned to the perimeter shouting they got "two of them devils."

Dee Brown reports:

"All seven charges in his pepperbox had gone off at once, killing one Indian and frightening the others into flight ." 


JohnW said...

George Bemis . . . wore in his belt an old original "Allen" revolver, such as irreverent people called a "pepper-box." Simply drawing the trigger back, cocked and fired the pistol. As the trigger came back, the hammer would begin to rise and the barrel to turn over, and presently down would drop the hammer, and away would speed the ball. To aim along the turning barrel and hit the thing aimed at was a feat which was probably never done with an "Allen" in the world. But George's was a reliable weapon, nevertheless, because, as one of the stage-drivers afterward said, "If she didn't get what she went after, she would fetch something else." And so she did. She went after a deuce of spades nailed against a tree, once, and fetched a mule standing about thirty yards to the left of it. Bemis did not want the mule; but the owner came out with a double-barreled shotgun and persuaded him to buy it, anyhow. It was a cheerful weapon--the "Allen." Sometimes all its six barrels would go off at once, and then there was no safe place in all the region round about, but behind it.
- Roughing It

Jim said...


What the heck would we do without Mark?