1863 1864

Cooper M1863 2nd Model revolver

Manufactured in Philadelphia c.1864-69 - serial number 1135.
.31 cap and ball 5-shot rebated cylinder, double action, creeping loading lever, generally an upgraded Colt M1849 Pocket design.

I can’t wait for affordable 3D printed antique gun replicas to be a thing.


John Everett Millais (1829-1896)
“My First Sermon” (1862-1863)
“My Second Sermon” (1864)
Oil on canvas
Both are located in the Guildhall Art Gallery, London, England

Dreyse M1862 Needle Carbine

Manufactured in Sömmerda, German Empire c.1864.
15mm paper cartridges, bolt action.

One of the half a dozen models of needleguns in Dreyse’s successful military rifles series, they were capable of firing near to five times faster than any of the muzzle-loaders that equipped most armies at the time.
However the problem of sealing gas inside the weapon in bolt action rifles wouldn’t be ‘solved’ - with a rubber band, hence the quotation marks - until 1863 with the Mle 1866 rifle designed by French gunsmith A.A. Chassepot, and thus these Dreyse rifles were notoriously dangerous to aim, leading to many soldiers from various German states to only fire the gun from the hip, limiting its effectiveness. It was however a major step-up from Minié rifles in terms of firepower and marks with the Gatling gun one of the first step toward the change in battle tactics that would culminate in WW1.

Dreyse M1841 Needle Rifle

“Polonia (Poland), 1863”, by Jan Matejko, 1864, oil on canvas, National Museum, Kraków. Pictured is the aftermath of the failed January 1863 Uprising. Captives await transportation to Siberia. Russian officers and soldiers supervise a blacksmith placing shackles on a woman (Polonia). The blonde girl next to her represents Lithuania.

#5 Poland Vanishes From Maps For 123 Years
Photo: Allegory of the 1st partition of Poland, showing Catherine the Great of Russia (left), Joseph II of Austria and Frederick the Great of Prussia (right) quarrelling over their territorial seizures.

Each of the invaders (the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and and the Habsburg Austrian Empire) implemented a policy of denationalising Polish citizens. A vast part of the intelligentsia went into political exile or resigned from public political activity. However, the idea of Poland as an independent state was not lost. Polish units were formed during the Napoleonic Wars, and clandestine Polish organisations started two major uprisings (both were unsuccessful) and tried joining the Spring of Nations in 1848 (again, unsuccessfully).

After the merciless strangulation of the last major insurrection – the January Uprising (1863 -1864) – Polish political activists turned back to grassroots work. Instead of trying to regain independence forcefully they started organising unofficial education centres that taught Polish language and history (the language was forbidden in some districts), watchfully fostered social reform, and continued advocating the ‘Polish case’ at the courts of the enemies of the invaders of Poland.