fulldefendorprince asked:

Hello! I know both sides during civil war used a variety of weapons,the Sharps .58 carbine and rifle seems one of the best,if not the best. I have heard this rifle could reach out to 1000 yard consistently-with real accuracy. Was this the original "buffalo" gun,spoken of later?:) Also,the Spencer "load it up and shoot it all day"-what caliber was that rifle,and how many rounds could it actually hold? Thank you for your blog and for your reply!

The breechloading Sharps Rifle, chambered in .52 calibre, famously used by the Union’s Berdan’s Sharpshooters was the rifle model not the carbine used by the cavalry.   The 1,000 yard accuracy is mainly attributed to the Sharps target rifles, which had heavier target barrels enabling improved accuracy. 

1859 Berdan Sharps rifle (source)

The Spencer Rifle was chambered in a proprietary .56-56 Spencer rimfire round and its tube magazine in the rifle’s butt could hold seven rounds.  Read more about the Spencer Rifle here.

Cutaway of the Spencer Rifle’s action and tube magazine (source)

Thanks for the questions!


Ambulances Through History

Ambulances post-date mobile medical units by several hundred years - the first evidence of “mobile hospitals” dates back to the units set up by the Knights Hospitallier during the first Crusades in the 11th century - but they are much more ancient than our current high-tech, specially-equipped vehicles may suggest.

The first consistent military ambulances emerged in the 15th century to transport Spanish troops away from the action, and the first wide-spread civilian ambulance services were developed during the cholera epidemics in 1830s London.

Many of our current ambulance services were developed during the U.S. Civil War, World War I, and World War II.

In recent decades, many ambulance services have expanded into specialty care (cardiovascular, obesity, stroke, and athletic), and in the United States and United Kingdom, almost all municipal fire departments are directly affiliated with a public or private ambulance service.


National Museum of Medicine

Wikimedia Commons

I Freed Myself: African American Self-Emancipation in the Civil War Era by David Williams

For a century and a half, Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation has been the dominant narrative of African American freedom in the Civil War era. However, David Williams suggests that this portrayal marginalizes the role that African American slaves played in freeing themselves. At the Civil War’s outset, Lincoln made clear his intent was to save the Union rather than free slaves – despite his personal distaste for slavery, he claimed no authority to interfere with the institution. By the second year of the war, though, when the Union army was in desperate need of black support, former slaves who escaped to Union lines struck a bargain: they would fight for the Union only if they were granted their freedom. Williams importantly demonstrates that freedom was not simply the absence of slavery but rather a dynamic process enacted by self-emancipated African American refugees, which compelled Lincoln to modify his war aims and place black freedom at the center of his wartime policies

fulldefendorprince asked:

Thank you for the report on the Sharps and Spencer rifles! I must have got the .58 from other Civil War rifles. Was the trajectory of the Spencer round, or accuracy,or muzzle velocity the reason for being put aside for the later Henry and Winchester repeaters? Thank you!

You’re welcome, thanks for asking questions I know you asked a while back so I’m sorry it took so long to answer.  The Henry and Winchester rifles were never officially adopted by the US military as far as I’m aware - although some were bought and issued.  The Sharps carbine was rechambered to .45-70 in 1873 when the US Army adopted .45-70 as its first metallic cartridge.  In the civilian market the Spencer & Sharps rifles were overtaken by the newer Henry and subsequent Winchester rifles mainly because they became more readily available and they also had the added lure of larger magazine capacities and later Winchester’s shared ammunition with popular revolvers like the Colt Single Action Army.


September 17th 1849: Tubman escapes

On this day in 1849, Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery. Tubman was born into slavery but eventually escaped to Philadelphia, using the North Star to guide her. She soon returned to Maryland to rescue her family from slavery. She became a major figure in the Underground Railroad, helping to rescue hundreds of slaves. Tubman was a notable member of the abolitionist movement, and served as a Union spy during the Civil War. After the war she campaigned for female suffrage alongside Susan B. Anthony. Harriet Tubman died in 1913 aged 93.


After the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks…Fred Korematsu challenged President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 that authorized the U.S. military to forcibly remove more than 120,000 people, mostly of Japanese descent, from their homes and into incarceration camps throughout the country. Two-thirds of these people were American citizens. Mr. Korematsu went into hiding in the Oakland area, becoming a fugitive, and was arrested and convicted of violating the federal order. His case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Jan. 30, the White House issued a statement honoring the legacy of Fred Korematsu.

Ending slavery was not the reason the Civil War was fought at all. The Civil War was fought to bring the South back into unison with the North and to destroy the economical advantage that the South had due to slavery. They cared nothing about the lives of black people. They cared nothing about the way we were treated. They cared nothing about African life….it was not about waking up and realising that we were human beings too. It was that the South had gotten too powerful.
—  Umar Johnson, Hidden Colors

"If I thought, had any idea, that I’d ever be a slave again, I’d take a gun an’ jus’ end it all right away. Because you’re nothing but a dog."

There seems to be this misconception among the general public that American slavery was a long time ago. It wasn’t. As late as 1949, former slave Fountain Hughes was still alive and kicking. He was 101 years old. Hermond Norwood sat him down and interviewed him in Baltimore, Maryland. He recorded the whole thing. Transcript is here in case you want to follow along.


Reports: U.S. Army Trained ISIS Members In 2012 To Destabilize Syria

As the American government is contemplating on whether or not to launch an airstrike on ISIS that is threatening to destroy Iraq, reports have now surfaced that way back in 2012, the US Army had trained members of the same terrorist group in Jordan.

As per several corroborated reports, hundreds of ISIS militia were indeed trained by US instructors for covert operations to destabilize Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, though the training was strictly for Syria.

Back in February 2012, WND had reported that the US, with the help of Turkey and Jordan, was running a training base for Syrian rebels in the Jordan. German weekly Der Spiegel also confirmed in 2013 that the US was still training Syrian rebels in Jordan.

The report noted that the organizers of the training wore US Marine uniforms, and the training focused on the use of anti-tank weaponry. The ISIS terrorists, who now hold almost the entire north of Iraq, have quite effectively neutralized most Iraqi tank battalions put against the invading forces.

ISIS, also known as ISIL, has let loose a reign of terror both in Syria and Iraq. The group has been denounced even by Al-Qaeda for its brutality and violence.

A USA-ISIS tie-up is plausible, considering the fact how the CIA was responsible for the strengthening of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. It is widely reported that during the anti-Soviet war, Osama Bin Laden and his fighters received American and Saudi funding. Defence analysts strongly believe that Bin Laden himself had received security training from the CIA.

The US, which is closely monitoring the situation in Iraq, is reportedly flying F-18 surveillance missions in the country from an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, officials confirmed to Fox News. 

The F-18 surveillance missions are being launched from the USS George HW Bush. While the Obama administration is yet to decide on airstrikes, the US government has authorized “manned and unmanned” surveillance flights for collecting information.


March 20th 1852: ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ published

On this day in 1852, American author Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ was published. Previously published as a serial in the anti-slavery periodical the National Era, ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ tells the story of a black slave and recounts the harsh reality of his enslavement. Stowe was an ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery, and wrote the novel in response to the passage of the controversial 1850 Fugitive Slave Act which was part of the Compromise of 1850. The Act ordered Northern citizens to assist in the return of runaway slaves from the South, thus forcing the generally anti-slavery North to become complicit in the continuance of the ‘peculiar institution’. Thus the popular discontent over the slavery issue helped make ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ the best-selling novel of the nineteenth century and saw its translation into sixty languages. The novel helped keep the flames of anti-slavery sentiment alive, and is therefore sometimes attributed with helping start the American Civil War. Whilst still hailed as a great anti-slavery work of its day, the novel falls short of modern expectations with its stereotypical portrayal of African-Americans.

"So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war"
- what, according to legend, Abraham Lincoln said upon meeting Stowe in 1862