Posts Tagged ‘Sam Houston’

San Jacinto Day – Brief History of What Occurred

April 21, 2012

The Legislature having made the 21st of April a holiday, in commemoration of the Battle of San Jacinto — a day forever sacred with all Texans — it is but proper this morning to publish a brief review of the glorious day’s work; not only that the children of those who participated in it may know the inheritance of honor to which they have fallen heirs, but also those who are now, for the first time, seeking homes in the Lone Star State, may learn to respect its moments, and cherish the honor of its founders.

BATTLE OF SAN JACINTO.

The battle of San Jacinto was fought between the volunteer and regular forces comprising the army of Texas — General Sam Houston, Commander-in-Chief; John A. Wharton, Adjutant and Inspector General; George W. Hockley, William T. Austin, Aides-deCamp; M. Austin Bryan, Secretary, And the Mexican army, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, in command, on the 21st day of April, 1836.

The military operations, which finally terminated on this occasion, commenced in Texas in September, 1835, by the volunteer army of Texas, General Stephen F. Austin, commander-in-chief, besieging the town and Mexican garrison of San Antonio, and after more than two months’ siege, on the morning of the 4th of December, the Texans attacked the town, which was then the garrison, and after an incessant action, the town and Alamo were surrendered to the Texans by General Martin Profacio de Cos, commanding the Mexican forces. Whereupon, General Santa Anna took the field and crossed the Rio Grande into Texas, at the head of a Mexican army, 10,000 strong. He retook San Antonio and Goliad, and then continued his march into Texas.

GEN. SAM HOUSTON

was just at that time elected Commander-in Chief of the army of Texas. Hearing of the invasion by Santa Anna, he went promptly to the front with the intention of organizing his army at Gonzales. The rapid movements, however, of Santa Anna compelled Gen. Houston to fall back before completing the organization of his army, numbering only four hundred men. He made his first halt at the Colorado, thence he crossed the Brazos and on-camped at Groce’s Retreat for some three weeks, keeping out scouting parties around and before the enemy as he advanced. Before going to the field, Gen. Houston had made an agreement with Gens. Quitman and Felix Huston, of Mississippi, to join him with a large force of cavalry, artillery and infantry, and he it is said, designed avoiding giving battle until reinforced by Gens. Quitman and Huston. The rapid movements of Santa Anna forced Gen. Houston to march to San Jacinto.

The two armies occupied positions on the San Jacinto, about two miles apart, Santa Anna’s forces fourteen hundred and Houston’s seven hundred strong. Houston’s scouts, under Deef Smith, intercepted a courier, by which the fact was disclosed that Santa Anna’s army of invasion was in three divisions, one under the command of Santa Anna, then before him; another under Gen. Filisola, and another under Gen. Urea. The two later divisions were marching forward to reinforce Santa Anna. Under these circumstances, Gen. Houston decided to make the attack on Santa Anna before his reinforcements could arrive. Our cavalry were constantly employed in skirmishing and making demonstrations before the enemy. This was easily accomplished, as the country is an open prairie at that point.

About noon on 21st of April, 1836, Gen. Houston called

A COUNCIL OF WAR,

the result of which was a decision to attack the enemy; and shortly before 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the troops were ordered to parade, which, it is needless to say, they did with alacrity.

Burleson’s regiment was placed in the center, Sherman’s on the left, and Lamar’s cavalry, Millard’s infantry and Hockley’s artillery on the right in the order named.

The enemy’s cavalry was on his left wing; his center, which was fortified, was composed of infantry, with artillery in an opening in the center of the breastworks. The Mexican commander had extended the extreme right of his forces to the river, so as to occupy a skirt of timber projecting out from it.

THE ASSAULT.

The Texan cavalry was dispatched to the front of the enemy’s horse to draw their attention, while the remainder of the column was deploying into line. This evolution was quickly performed and the whole force advanced rapidly and in good order. The two small cannon, the “Twin Sisters,” now advanced to within two hundred yards of the enemy’s breastworks and opened a destructive fire with grape and canister. The whole line advancing in double-quick time cried: “Remember the Alamo!” “Remember Goliad!” and while approaching the enemy’s works received their fire, but withheld their own until within pistol shot. The effect of this fire on the enemy was terrible. But the Texans made no halt — onward they went.

THE ROUT.

In a few moments after the charge the Mexicans gave way at all points and the panic became general. At dark the pursuit of the fugitives ceased. The prisoners taken were conducted to the Texan camp, placed under guard and supplied with provisions.

THE FORCES ENGAGED.

The aggregate force of the Texan army in battle was 788; that of the enemy about double that number. The Mexicans lost 630 killed, 206 wounded and 780 prisoners, besides a large number of arms, horses and mules, together with their camp equipage and a military chest containing $13,000. The Texan loss is set down at eight killed and twenty-five wounded.

Image from Texas History Links – Santa Anna Biography

SANTA ANNA CAPTURED.

Santa Anna was captured in the prairie the following day and brought to Gen. Houston’s headquarters, where he was treated as a prisoner of war. General Houston having received a severe and painful wound, was compelled to go to New Orleans for medical treatment, leaving Gen. Thomas J. Rusk in command.

END OF THE REVOLUTION.

Santa Anna sent orders to Generals Filisola and Urea to return with their troops to Mexico, which were very promptly obeyed by those officers. The Texan army was then marched to the Guadalupe river and encamped near Victoria. No further hostility occurring, the volunteers were disbanded in October, 1836.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Apr 21, 1874

Morse’s Electro-Magnetic Telegraph: Truly One of the Wonders of the Age

February 6, 2012

Image from the White River Valley MuseumMorse Code History

THE MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH.

BY MRS. E.L. SCHERMERHORN.

The following beautiful verses were received by us from Washington by the Magnetic Telegraph; and though the lightning speed with which they were transmitted, adds nothing to their beauty, it was a happy thought to select the wonderful invention, of which they are in praise, as the medium of transmitting them: — [Baltimore Patriot.

Oh! carrier dove, spread not thy wing,
Thou beauteous messenger of air!
To waiting eyes and hearts to bring
The tidings thou were wont to bear.

Urge not the flying courser’s speed,
Give not his neck the loosened rein,
Nor bid his panting sides to bleed,
As swift he thunders o’er the plain.

Touch but the magic wire, and lo!
Thy thought it borne on flaming track,
And swifter far than winds can blow,
Is sped the rapid answer back.

The sage who woo’d the lightning’s blaze,
Till, stooping from the summer cloud,
It played around with harmless rays,
By Fame is trumpeted aloud.

And sure she has a lofty meed
For him whose thought, with seraph reach,
To language gives the lightning’s speed,
And wings electric lends to speech.

Nerved by its power, our spreading land
A mighty giant proudly lies;
Touch but one nerve with skillful hand
Through all the thrill unbroken flies.

The dweller on the Atlantic shore
The word may breathe, and swift as light,
Where far Pacific waters roar,
That word speeds on with magic flight.

Thoughts freshly kindling in the mind,
And words the echoes of the soul,
Borne on its wiry pinious, bind
Hearts sundered far as pole from pole.

As flashes o’er the summer skies
The lightning’s blaze from east to west,
O’er earth the burning fluid flies,
Winged by a mortal’s proud behest.

Through flaming cherubs bar the gate,
Since man by tasting grew too wise,
He seems again to tempt the fate
That drove him first from Paradise!

Daily Sentinel and Gazette (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) May 18, 1846

The Electro-Magnetic Telegraph.

Some remarkable experiments have been made with Morse’s Electro-magnetic Telegraph arrangements, and they have demonstrated surprising facts. Wires extending in length 158 miles were laid down, the Battery, &c., prepared, and matters communicated that distance in almost a second of time! In experiments to ascertain the resistance to the passage of the electric current it was proved that this “resistance increases rapidly with the first few miles, and less rapidly afterwards, until for very great lengths no sensible difference can be observed. This is a most fortunate circumstance in the employment of electro-magnetism for telegraphic purposes, since, contrary to all other modes of communicating intelligence, the difficulty to be overcome decreases in proportion to the distance.”

This is truly one of the wonders of the age.

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine) Oct 26, 1843

Image from Encyclopedia Britannica KidsSamuel F.B. Morse; Telegraph

THE MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH — ITS SUCCESS.

The miracle of the annihilation of space is at length performed. The Baltimore Patriot of Sunday afternoon contains the action of Congress up to the moment of its going to press — received from Washington by Magnetic Telegraph Despatch.

The Patriot says:

Morse’s Electro Magnetic Telegraph now connects between the Capitol at Washington and the Railroad Depot in Pratt, between Charles and Light streets, Baltimore. The wires were brought in yesterday from the outer depot and attached to the telegraphic apparatus in a third story room in the depot warehouse building.

The batteries were charged this morning, and the telegraph put in full operation, conveying intelligence to and from the Capitol. A large number of gentlemen were present to see the operations of this truly astonishing contrivance. Many admitted to the room had their names sent down, and in less than a second the apparatus in Baltimore was put in operation by the attendant in Washington, and before the lapse of a half minute the same names were returned plainly written. At half past 11 o’clock, A.M. the question being asked here, “what the news was at Washington?” – the answer was almost instantaneously returned — “Van Buren Stock is rising” — meaning of course that his chances were strengthening to receive the nomination on Monday next. The time of day was also enquired for, when the response was given from the Capitol — “forty-nine minutes past eleven.” At this period it was also asked how many persons were spectators to the telegraphic experiments in Washington? — the answer was “sixteen.” After which a variety of names were sent up from Washington, some with their compliments to their friends here, whose names had just been transmitted to them. Several items of private intelligence were also transmitted backward and forward, one of which was an order to the agent here not to pay a certain bill. Here however, the electric fluid proved too slow, for it had been paid a few minutes before.

At half past 12 o’clock, the following wan sent to Washington, “Ask a reporter in Congress to send a despatch to the Baltimore Patriot at 2, P.M.” In about a minute the answer cam back thus: “It will be attended to.”

2 o’clock, P.M. — The despatch has arrived, and is as follows:

One o’clock. — There has just been made a motion in the House to go into committee of the Whole on the Oregon question. Rejected — ayes 79, nays 86.

Half past one. — The House is now engaged on private bills.

Quarter to two. — Mr Atherton is now speaking in the Senate.

Mr. S. will not be in Baltimore to-night.

So that we are thus enabled to give to our readers information from Washington up to 2 o’clock. This is indeed the annihilation of space.

The Clipper of Saturday contains the following information regarding the construction and working of the Telegraph:

The wire, (perfectly secured against the weather by a covering of rope-yarn and tar,) is conducted on the top of posts about 20 feet high, and about 100 years apart.

We understand that the nominations on Monday next will be forwarded to Washington by means of this Telegraph. The following is the Alphabet used:

We have no doubt that government will deem it expedient to continue this Telegraph to Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, when its utility shall have been fully tested. When understood, the mode of operation is plain and simple.

American Freeman (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Jun 15, 1844

THE LATE CONVENTIONS.

A brief notice of the proceedings of the Tyler and Locofoco Conventions, held in the City of Baltimore on Monday the 27th of May and the following days —

….. [excerpt]

The Convention met again at four o’clock; when, after listening to sundry speeches, they proceeded to ballot for a candidate for the Vice Presidency, which resulted in favor of Silas Wright, of New York, who received 258 votes, and Levi Woodbury, of New Hampshire, 8. Information of his nomination was immediately communicated through the magnetic telegraph, to Mr. Wright, then at Washington City, who immediately replied, that [he could not accept] — eleven minutes only being taken in forwarding the information, and receiving the answer.

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Jun 15, 1844

THE MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH

On Thursday, the 23d ult, says the New York Commercial, the experiment of carrying the wires of the electro magnetic telegraph across, or rather under the East river, was made with perfect success. The lead pipe through which this communication is made, weighs over six thousand pounds, and was laid at the bottom of the river from a steamboat employed for the purpose, though not with out great risk and labor. It is one continuous line, more than half a mile in length, without joint. Through this extensive line of heavy pipe are four copper wires, completely insulated, so as to insure the transmissions of the electro magnetic fluid. We understand that the various routs north, east, and west, have been delayed at the intervening streams, for the purpose of learning the result of this experiment. The whole work had bee effected under the superintendence of Mr. Samuel Colt engineer and of the proprietors of the New York and Offing Electro Magnetic Telegraph Line — Repub

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Nov 8, 1845

Image from The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F.B. Morse

The late experiment of carrying the wires of the Electro-Magnetic Telegraph across, or rather under, the East river, New York, which was at first supposed to have been entirely successful, seems to have failed — the pipes through which the communication was made, having been brought up a few days afterwards, by the fluke of an anchor. Whether the attempt will be renewed, with such improvements as shall appear calculated to remove the cause of the failure, we are unable to say.

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Nov 15, 1845

It is said that the American Magnetic Telegraph proves more efficient than those used in England and France — the former giving sixty signs or characters per minute, and the English and French not over one-fourth of that number. The impressions made by the American invention are likewise better, and more permanent, than those produced by its European rivals.

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Sep 11, 1846

ANSWER
To the Enigma that appeared in the “Telegraph” of last week.

Maine, one of the United States.
Arctic, the name of an Ocean.
Greece, a country in Europe.
Niagara, a river in North America.
Egina, a gulf in Greece.
Thai, a country in India.
Imerina, a country in Africa.
Chili, a country in South America.
Tigre, a State in Africa.
Erie, a lake in North America.
Lima, a city in South America.
Elmira, a town in New York.
Green, a river in Kentucky.
Runac, a river in South America.
Aar, a river in Switzerland.
Parma, a country in Europe.
Herat, a country in Asia.
My whole is a Magnetic Telegraph, a great modern invention.

H.W.W.

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Reivew (Alton, Illinois) Aug 13, 1847

Image from Telegraph History

From the West Jerseyman.
THE MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH.

Along the smoothed and slender wires
The sleepless heralds run,
Fast as the clear and living rays
Go streaming from the sun;
No peals or flashes heard or seen,
Their wondrous flight betray,
And yet their words are quickly felt
In cities far away.

Nor summer’s heat, nor winter’s hail,
Can check their rapid course;
They meet unmoved, the fierce wind’s rage —
The rough waves’ sweeping force; —
In the long night of rain and wrath,
As in the blaze of day,
They rush with news of weal and wo,
To thousands far away.

But faster still than tidings borne
On that electric cord,
Rise the pure thoughts of him who loves
The Christian’s life and Lord —
Of him who taught in smiles and tears
With fervent lips to pray,
Maintains his converse here on earth
With bright worlds far away.

Ay! though no outward wish is breath’d,
Nor outward answer given,
The sighing of that humble heart
Is known and felt in Heaven; —
Those long frail wires may bend and break,
Those viewless heralds stray,
But Faith’s least word shall reach the throne
Of God, though far away.

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Mar 17, 1848

Discontented People.

Philosophers have a good deal to say about the blessings of contentment, and all that sort of thing. Nothing, however, can be more uncalled for. Contentment is the parent of old fogyism, the very essence of mildew and inactivity. A contented man is one who is inclined to take things as they are, and let them remain so. It is not content that benefits the world, but dissatisfaction. It was the man who was dissatisfied with stage-coaches that introduced railroads and locomotives. It was a gentleman “ill at ease” with the operations of mail wagons who invented the magnetic telegraph. Discontent let Columbus to discover America; Washington to resist George III. It taught Jefferson Democracy; Fulton how to build steamboats; and Whitney to invent the cotton gin. Show us a contented man, and we will show you a man who would never have got above sheep skin breeches in a life-time. Show us a discontented mortal, on the contrary, and we will show six feet of goaheaditiveness that will not rest satisfied till he has invented a cast iron horse that will outrun the telegraph.

Alton Daily Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) Jul 13, 1853

The First Telegraph.

In 1844 when Professor Morse petitioned Congress to appropriate $30,000 to enable him to establish a telegraph between Washington and Baltimore, Ex-Governor David Wallace, of this State, was a member of the committee on ways and means, to which the petition was referred, and gave the casting vote in its favor. The Whig members of the committee all voted for the measure, and the Democratic members all opposed it. The members who voted with Gov. Wallace were Millard Fillmore, Joseph R. Ingersoll, of Pa., Tom Marshall, of Kentucky, and Sampson Mason, of Ohio. Those who voted against it were Dixon H. Lewis, of Alabama, Frank Pickens, of South Carolina, Charles G. Atherton, of New Hampshire, and John W. Jones, of Virginia.

The Indianapolis News says:

“Gov. Wallace’s vote for the appropriation defeated him the next fall when he ran again for Congress. His opponent was Wm. J. Brown. He was, I’ve been told, a shrewd Democratic politician — the father of Austin H. Brown. The Governor and Mr. Brown stumped the district together, and Mr. Brown, all through the campaign, used as his most effective weapon, against his Whig opponent, the fact that he had voted for this appropriation. Pointing his finger at the Governor, he would say, ‘and the man who now asks you for your votes has squandered $30,000 of the people’s money, giving it away to Professor Morse for his E-lec-tro mag-net-ic Tell-lie-graph,’ with a most ludicrous drawl on the word telegraph. With the rough backwoodsmen, and even the people of the towns, the telegraph in that day was considered some sort of a trick or humbug; and many of Mr. Wallace’s staunchest supporters feared there was something wrong in the old gentleman’s head when they heard from his own lips that he really had voted the subsidy. One honest old Shelby county farmer, Mr. Wallace said, took him by the hand and looked into his face with the tenderest pity. Finally his lip quivered, and the tears fell as he sobbed out, ‘Oh, Davy, Davy, how could you ever vote for that d—-d magnetic telegraph.'”

The bill did not pass the Senate until the last night of the session. The story of its passage by that body has been often told, but will bear repeating. We clip the following from a scrap book’ without knowing the name of the author:

There were only two days before the close of the session; and it was found, on examination of the calendar, that no less than one hundred and forty-three bills had precedence of it. Professor Morse had nearly reached the bottom of his purse; his hard-earned savings were almost spent; and, although he had struggled on with undying hope for many years, it is hardly to be wondered at that he felt disheartened now. On the last night of the session he remained until nine o’clock; and then left without the slightest hope that the bill would be passed. He returned to his hotel, counted his money, an found that after paying his expenses to New York, he would have seventy-five cents left. That night ne went to bed sad, but not without hope for future; for, through all his difficulties and trials, that never forsook him. The next morning, as he was going to breakfast, one of the waiters informed him that a young lady was in the parlor waiting to see him. He went in immediately, and found that the young lady was Miss Ellsworth, daughter of the Commissioner of Patents, who had been his most steadfast friend while in Washington.

“I come,” said she, “to congratulate you.”

“For what?” said Professor Morse.

“On the passage of your bill,” she replied.

“Oh, no; you must be mistaken,” said he. “I remained in the Senate till a late hour last night, and there was no prospect of its being reached.”

“Am I the first then,” she exclaimed joyfully, “to tell you?”

“Yes, if it is really so.”

“Well,” she continued, “father remained till the adjournment, and heard it passed; and I asked him if I might not run over and tell you.”

“Annie,” said the Professor, his emotion almost choking his utterance, “the first message that is sent from Washington to Baltimore, shall be sent from you.”

“Well,” she replied, “I will keep you to your word.”

While the line was in process of completion, Professor Morse was in New York, and upon receiving intelligence that it was in working order, he wrote to those in charge, telling them not to transmit any messages over it till his arrival. He then set out immediately for Washington, and on reaching that city sent a note to Miss Ellsworth, informing her that he was now ready to fulfill his promise, and asking her what message he should send.

To this he received the following reply:

WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT.

Cambridge City Tribune (Cambridge City, Indiana) Jan 1, 1880

Image of Sam Houston from Son of the South

MORSE OFFERED HIS TELEGRAPH TO TEXAS STATE

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 5. — Samuel F.B. Morse offered the Republic of Texas his invention of the electro magnetic telegraph in 1828, but the offer never was accepted, according to a letter by Mr. Morse found in the state library.

The letter, dated 1860, was addressed to General Sam Houston, then governor of Texas, and withdrew the offer, which had been more than twenty years before General Houston was president of the Texan republic. The communication was written from “Po’Keepsie”, taken by librarians to be Poughkeepsie, New York. It is dated August 9, 1860. Starting with “May it please your excellency” the letter read:

“In the year of 1838 I made an offer of gift of my invention of the electro-magnetic telegraph to Texas, Texas being then an independent republic. Although the offer was made more than twenty years ago, Texas while an independent state, nor since it has become one of the United States, has ever directly or impliedly accepted the offer. I am induced, therefore, to believe in its condition as a gift it was of no value to the state, but on the contrary has been an embarrassment. In connection, however, with my other patent, it has become for the public interest as well as my own, that I should be able to make complete title to the whole invention in the United States.

“I, therefore, now respectfully withdraw my offer then made, in 1838, the better to be in a position to benefit Texas, as well as the other states of the Union.

“I am with respect and sincere personal esteem

“Your Obedient Servant,

“Samuel F.B. Morse.”

Librarians are looking for the letter of 1838 offering the electro-magnetic telegraph to Texas. They are also seeking to find out what “other patent” Mr. Morse spoke of.

Ada Weekly News (Ada, Oklahoma) Aug 10, 1922

This Standard Gasoline advertisement ran in the Abilene Reporter News in 1937

Colt’s Revolvers

January 4, 2012

THE FIRST COLT’S REVOLVERS.
From the New York Herald.

“There is a romantic side in weapons of war,” said an old army officer the other day. “The origin of our purely American arm, the Colt revolver, furnishes an instance that will illustrate this. It seems perfectly adapted to American frontier conditions. It has given its skillful wielders the victory on many a hard-fought field. And this is why its rise and development should be a part of our country’s military history.

“In the ’30s we were enlarging our national boundaries in the Southwest. We could not consistently develop in any other direction, for the country to the northwest was not very desirable. We were looking for a region that was especially adapted to southern products to be cultivated by slave labor. The South was in the saddle, and meant to remain there if southern blood and valor could accomplish it. The young and thriving republic of Texas was the point toward which the attention of the region south of Mason and Dixon’s line was turned. A handful of daring young Americans had wrested from Mexico a region five times the size of any state in the Union. It was then called the republic of Texas.

“The state of Tennessee was primarily responsible for this daring step. Gen. Sam Houston had gathered together a handful of daring young men full of hot-blooded courage. The blood of the plo??ers that took Tennessee from the most warlike Indian tribe on this continent was in them. For a long time it was an uphill fight. Not only the Mexicans, but the Comanches and Lipans — unequated warriors and daring horsemen — harassed and raided the scattered frontier settlements and towns along the Texas border, until it really appeared as if the entire scheme of the settlement of Texas must go down in blood.

“But the men who started in to do this work were not of the quitting kind. They were of the tory hating, Indian fighting stock that obstacles did not daunt nor danger quell. And they set their teeth hard and swore they would stay. To guard their frontier thoroughly and effectively they organized bands or companies of rangers, under officers who could not only fight Indians and Mexicans, but control and discipline their own men.

“Among these commanders Colonel Hays, better known as ‘Jack’ Hays, was incontestably the ablest. He was a born leader of men, just such men as were peopling that great southwestern frontier. In stature he was about 5 feet 8 inches, and never weighed over 160 pounds. His hair was darkish brown, inclined to be red, and his eyes were of several colors, according to his moods. In his hours of relaxation and among his friends they were of a dark gray with a hue of hazel. In excitement, and especially in a fight, hey were of a color indescribable. They simply seemed to blaze.

“Some time in the late ’30s Colonel Hays was directed by the president of Texas to go to New York and purchase suitable arms to equip his troops. He had then about 150 men, but they were not uniformly armed and lacked equipment suitable for a command. They needed to be equipped alike and with the very best weapons available at that time.

“So, in obedience to his orders, and with a letter of credit on the Texan treasurer, Hays took passage in a schooner bound for New York. He was a month in making the trip, for he started in September, when the gulf is usually stormy and the prevailing winds from the southwest and everywhere else. They were blown into nearly every port from Galveston northward before they got in sight of the island of Manhattan. Colonel Hays went the rounds of the firearms dealers of New York. It was not a difficult undertaking, for there were but four or five of them, but he did not find anything he had not seen before in the way of firearms.

“One day, however, a dealer said: ‘There is a man living over in New Jersey at present who has just invented a pistol which I would like to have you see.’

“‘What is there about it that makes it different from other pistols?’ asked Hays.

“‘Well, for one thing, it shoots six times without reloading.’

“Colonel Hays’ interest was immediately aroused. ‘Indeed, I’d like very much to see it,’ he said.

“‘Very well; then I’ll have him in here with it to-morrow about this time,’ responded the dealer. So the next day about 1 or 2 o’clock the man came in. He was about 30 years old, and chiefly a gun smith by trade, though he did all sorts of work in fine steel. He said he had just concluded an order of sabers for members of the regiment of dragoons just then being raised.

“‘This is my pistol, colonel,’ said he, opening a case and handing the weapon to the Texas colonel. ‘The instant I looked at it I said it was just what I wanted,’ said Hays to his brother, Gen. Harry Hays of New Orleans. There was a 60 foot gallery in the rear of the store for the testing of arms. They took the model pistol, which was about like the Colt’s pocket arm of to-day in size, caliber and weight, and the expert fired all six barrels off in less than a minute. The penetration was good, as was the accuracy.’

“‘Now, I want a pistol of this pattern, but with a long cylinder and eight-inch long barrel, taking a bullet of about 50 grains weight, made as soon as you can make it. I will advance you $?0 on it now to enable you to purchase the material and have the barrels ri??ed. If the pistol shoots as well as I think it will I will talk to you about a contract for 100 of them, and also about a rifle on the same principal.’

“In two weeks the pistol was ready to be tested. It shot very well with sufficient force to kill if it hit a man at from 100 to 150 yards distance. At the same time a rifle was constructed on the same principle. It was about a .44 caliber, with a cylinder that would contain about 80 grains of powder, and carried a round and an oblong bullet. The arm came up to Hays’ expectations in all respects. He took the model to Texas with him and submitted it to his rangers. When it had been thoroughly tested they ordered 100 of the pistols and ?0 of the rifles. The latter was so constructed that when the cylinder was fired it could be slipped out, and another cylinder, all ready loaded, put into the arm in one time and two motions — that is, in 30 seconds.

“Shortly after the troop had been armed with these new weapons they were tried in a sharp fight that settled the question of the superiority over those of their Indian and Mexican antagonists once and for all. About 600 or 700 Mexicans and Comanche and Lipan Indians crossed over into Texas, under the leadership of Canates, a noted ‘raider’ from the other side of the Rio Grande, and with a herd of about 1,000 head of fat beef cattle and perhaps 500 mules, were making their way back to Chihuahua, where Canates had a fine ranch and lived in princely style. He was one of the richest men in Northern Mexico and the ablest soldier in that section.

“The 200 lancers with him charged Hays’ men fearlessly. Hays let them come on until they were within good easy range, and then opened up on them with his 50 rifles. After the first volley Canates thought he had the Americans foul. ‘Meurah los Americanos,’ he shouted, as he dashed at the little band of intrepid fighters commanded by ‘Ned’ Burleson, one of Hays’ most trusted lieutenants. Crash, crash, crash, went the rifles.

“‘Por Dios,’ what sort of a rifle have those devils of Americans?’ they shouted to one another, as leaving the stolen cattle and about one-sixth of their command dead or badly wounded on the ground in the hands of the dreaded Americans, they struck out for the Rio Grande and the other side. Hays had captured a priest, and sent him with others to tell Canates to send an escort and wagons enough to carry away all the wounded that were able to be moved. It was soon reported along the border that las Americans had a dreadful rifle that they used by magic of some sort as long as they wished without reloading.

“Canates offered a great reward for one of these new guns. He was a well-educated man, and realized at once that the Americans had some sort of arm that was not generally known and was vastly superior in rapidity of fire and reloading to any then in use. It was nearly two years, however, before he could get his hands on one of them. Col. Samuel Colt had pledged himself not to furnish his new arm to any but Americans and men who would not suffer if to get into the wrong hands.

“The United States army, particularly the three mounted regiments then in service, the first and second regiments of dragoons and the mounted rifles, were equipped with Colt’s revolving pistols as soon as the ordinance department could be persuaded to adopt them.

“It is a curious feature of our ordinance office that it is always the very last of the military establishments to see any merit in any invention that does not emanate from some member of its corps. That used to be the invariable rule. But it has been a good deal modified in late years, with the invention and adoption of other nations of warlike instruments that were of American invention and plan.

“The renown of the famous American pistol soon spread all over Europe. Russia was the first country to give Colt a big order, and this it did sufficiently to take three years in its completion. when the Crimeah was began the English and the French guard found, to their amazement, that the Russian guard cavalry and some of the picked mounted regiments of the line were armed with a pistol and carbine far excelling that in the hands of the allied armies of England, France and Turkey, and to-day, in spite of multiplicity of inventions, nothing superior has ever been devised.”

The Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, Montana) Nov 2, 1903

Remember This Old-Time Favorite?

August 30, 2010

Um, nope, never heard of it. But while searching for something unrelated, I came across an advertisement for Chicken Cock Whiskey, and thought it was a rather funny name for whiskey.  Seemed sort of redundant to me. Anyway, that prompted me to search the keywords “chicken cock” to see what else I could find. The results follow, intermingled with several Chicken Cock Whiskey ads. I bolded each “chicken cock” so they are easy to spot if you don’t want to read each complete article.

1869 - Galveston, Texas

SAM HOUSTON’S DUEL.

In 1826, six miles south of Franklin, Ky., on the farm of H.J. Duncan, two hundred yards from the Tennessee line, was fought a duel which created widespread excitement throughout the Union, owing to the reputation of the principals. In 1826, Gen. Sam Houston was a member of Congress from the Nashville district in Tennessee, and sending home for distribution a number of documents, he claimed that Curry, the postmaster at Nashville, suppressed and failed to deliver them and, denounced him a scoundrel. For this Curry sent him a challenge by Gen. White. Houston refused  to receive the message, as he stated, “from such a contemptible source,” throwing it on the ground and stamping on it. Gen. White said he was surprised, as no one expected Houston to fight.

To this Houston retorted, “Do you try me.”

Of course a challenge followed from White which Houston promptly accepted. The terms and conditions were, “fifteen feet distance; holster pistols; time sunrise.”

The place chosen as stated, was in Simpson county. On the 23d day of September, 1826, the parties met at the designated point with their seconds. The fact that a duel was to be fought had gone abroad, and a number of persons had secreted themselves near the field to witness the affair, a fact unknown to either principles or seconds. After the first shots had been exchanged and White had fallen to the ground the people rushed to the spot. Houston seeing them, and fearing an arrest, started toward the state line with a view of escaping.

Gen. White called to him, “General, you have killed me.”

Houston then faced the crowd with pistol still in hand, and inquired if there were any officers of the law in the among them, and being answered in the negative he advanced to the side of his late antagonist and kneeling by him took his hand saying: “I am very sorry for you, but you know that it was forced upon me.”

Gen. white replied, “I know it and forgive you.”

White had been shot through just above the hips, and to cleanse the wound of blood the surgeons run one of their old fashioned silk neckerchiefs through the wound. Gen. White recovered from his fearful wound as much to the joy of Houston as himself.

During the week preceding the duel Houston remained at the home of Sanford Duncan, near the field, practicing meanwhile with pistols. At his temporary home were two young belligerent dogs, named for their pugnacious dispositions Andrew Jackson and Thomas H. Benton. These were continually fighting, Houston’s political sentiments leading him to espouse the cause of the Jackson pup, who, very much to his delight, was a constant winner in the frays.

The hour of arising and preparing for the duel on the arrival of the day was 3:40 a.m. Just before that hour “Gen. Jackson” barked beneath the window of his admirer’s room, awakening him. Houston arose without disturbing his attending friends, and began the task of molding bullets with which to fight Gen. White. As the first bullet fell from the mold a game-cock, which he had admired scarcely less than he did the dog, crowed a loud, clear note. Houston, with that element of superstition which finds a place in nearly every mind, accepted the early greetings of his friends as a happy omen, and marking the bullet one side for the dog and the other for the chicken, made up his mind that his pistol should be loaded with it, and that he would first fire that particular ball at General White.

He afterward said that “he was not superstitious, but these two circumstances made him feel assured of success,” thus disproving his own words. The bullet was used and White fell at the first fire, as stated.

After the duel Houston selected as a coat-of-arms “a chicken cock and dog,” and many were the comments made by those unfamiliar with the facts in after years, when as president of Texas and senator in Congress, he sported so strange a crest. These facts are authentic, having been related by Gen. Houston to Sanford Duncan, jr., late of Louisville, while the two were en route to Washington city during Houston’s term as senator.

The Herald And Torch Light (Hagerstown, Maryland) Aug 4, 1887

1893 - Lowell, Massachusetts

False Salute.

The rebel sympathising papers throughout the length and breadth of the land have been celebrating what they are pleased to consider a victory in the late election in Connecticut, by displaying at the head of their columns the consecrated emblem of their party and principles, namely a dominica dunghill chicken cock.

This is a fit emblem of the principles of their party. It is only upon the dunghills of ignorance, vice, immorality and barbarism that the toeless, frozen comb, and frost-bitten chicken-cock of Democracy can flap his dirty wings and utter a feeble cock-a-doodle-doo of galvanized delight. But even the poor privilege of doing this with any degree of assurance the elections that have occurred since that of Connecticut have rendered absurd and ridiculous.  These election returns can be seen in another place, and they are anything but an indication of progress backwards by the American people.

The Herald And Torch Light (Hagerstown, Maryland) Apr 10, 1867

For background; from same page of the paper:

At an election on the  1st inst., in this State the Copperheads succeeded in electing their candidate for Governor, and three out of the four Congressmen. Two of these Congressional districts were Democratic at last year’s election, and the third only showed a small republican majority.

The enemies of intelligence and freedom have, therefore, only succeeded in overcoming a small majority in one of the Congressional districts, and carried the same against P.T. Barnum, a most unfortunate nomination on the part of the Republicans. Mr. Barnum of course is vastly less objectionable to the moral consciousness of the people, than a prize fighter, such as John Morrisy, whom the Copperheads of New York sent to Congress….

The Herald And Torch Light (Hagerstown, Maryland) Apr 10, 1867

1906 - Reno, Nevada

Superstitions.

Country folk – some in jest, some in earnest – translate the voice of a chicken cock crowing at the door into “Stranger coming to-day,” and we remember an old lady who invariably made preparation for company when the waring note was sounded upon her premises. In thirty years, she declared, the sign had never failed.

The Indiana Democrat (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Jan 6 1881

1936 - Mansfield, Ohio

Not Appreciated.

The following is all the notice which our contemporary, the Mail, takes of the splendid triumph of Republicanism in Vermont.

“First reports from Vermont give an increased majority for the Republicans. Vermont is all theirs, and the Green Mountain chicken crows loudly on its own wood-pile.”

We understand that paper had made arrangements to put its “tooting” apparatus in full blast in case rebelized Democracy had increased its vote in that State, but the jollification didn’t come off. The fire went down quietly, or was as quietly put out. That election is the grave of the hopes of the Mail and its friends. Good by Democracy. Good bye to the “tooting” performances of the Mail. The 1st of September has smashed the former and silenced the squeak of the latter. Prepare to reverse the position of your dominica chicken cock. Let it have its back to the ground and its heels, gaffed with treason, in the air.

The Herald And Torch Light (Hagerstown, Maryland) Sep 3, 1868

1936 - Mansfield, Ohio

Back in the day, the newspaper editors seemed to really duke it out in their columns. They can be some of the most entertaining things to read in the old papers,  particularly if you can find both sides, which is not the case  for this one:

FOR THE REPUBLICAN COMPILER.
Copy of a letter dated
HARTFORD, Aug. 1, 1820.

Dear Jonathan. – Received yours — nation great favor — very glad to get it; don’t thank you much neither, for copying off my letter and sending it back again — think you might made something of your own; but you used to make new spoons out of old pewter dishes — thought you’d try it again. Heard you’d chang’d your name — glad you got your old one back again — guess you got ‘shamd of your new one — think its no wonder — best a kept your old one — people know you any how, think. Talking about whitewashing, had a mind to whitewash you, to hide the stains — took another look of you — found it must be a foot thick — even wouldn’t do; the stains all over only want another shade; think you best buy lampblack, get some one paint you – if you’re axt how fair you have a mind to be — say jist as white outside as in. Heard you were dead; some say you were and rose again — quite queer thing — have to b’lieve it letter looks so like you — little scaly too; think you’re sick — you look something like a half drowned chicken cock, pecked ‘most to death — too soon begin to crow — too many old games ’bout here — better hold your tongue; they’ve got long spurs — cut your comb for you think — not leave a feather on you — look a little odd when naked — better be still. Queer kind of fowl, Jonathan — put me in mind of the jackdaw with peacock’s feathers on — difference jist this; jackdaw got his stolen feathers plucked out, got a drubbin, and thats enough for him — you better stuff — got worse whipt — won’t behave yet — think you get as much as you’ve a mind to; They say you’ve got turkey feathers put on to cheat the eagles with — want to pass for one; wno’t do, Jonathan — your eyes too bad — too near a been blind — eagles always seen to sharp for you. Cousin doughface got a cart for sale, made for two horses — I got one — you’d best bring a nag from ‘mong the Pennamites with you — but they say Pennamite and Yankee naggies wont pull together; s’pose you found that out by this time.

You promise to come my road — be sure when you come to bring something with you — dont do as you did last time. Talk something ’bout celebrations and modest people — think they’re scarce where you came from — guess you never seen a modest man before; you must know, Jonathan, every one hant got as much impudence as you and

CAUSTIC.

P.S. You may write as many letters as you have a mind to; but dont take the Hiesterics too bad, as you did tother time — tell your secrets when you’ve a mind to keep them; think you had not much mind to tell your real name, if you had not got a fit of them, which mostly makes people insane.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Aug 16, 1820

1936 - Mansfield, Ohio

ROOSTER STORY CONCERNS FIGHT AT FORT M’HENRY

Baltimore — (AP) — Whether there was a rooster at Fort McHenry during the bombardment by the British in 1814 has been a controversial matter for many years. Legend has it that a rooster, because of his happy crowing, made everybody feel a lot better during the battle.

After James E. Hancock, president of the Society of the War of 1812, said at the recent Defenders’ day exercises, he believed the rooster story was a myth, John A. Hartman of Baltimore brought forth the memoirs of his father, John B. Seidenstricker.

Seidenstricker wrote that his uncle, Henry Barnhart, “was under Colonel Armistead at Fort McHenry during bombardment by the British fleet. He had a chicken cock there that he prized very hightly, because of its beauty perhaps, and was careful to preserve it from all harm.

“But he could not protect it from a fragment of a bursting shell which struck the rooster on his foot, causing it, from alarm of pain, to fly up and light upon the flagstaff, where he remained, crowing occasionally, until the conflict ceased.

“Colonel Armistead offered to purchase the cock but he would not part with it and kept it until it died, when he placed it in a suitable box and in company with a platoon of fort soldiers, buried it with the honors of war, firing several rounds over its grave.”

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Sep 16, 1932

1936 - Uniontown, Pennsylvania

This one is really long, so I bolded the section, rather than just the “chicken cock.” I think this person was some sort of an armchair general or something.

The Aspects of the War — What Next?

The Army of the Potomac has just performed one of those evolutions, for which it is so justly renowned. It has marched forward and then marched back again. As a gymnastic performance, it has been well done, and as exercise is absolutely necessary to health, it is not to be regretted that the army has had an opportunity of stretching its limbs and breathing the fresh air. It has at last arrived at “Brandy Station.” The frequency with which both the rebel and Union armies dwell at this station shows it to be a fashionable place of resort to military gentlemen. We trust the name is rather metaphorical than real. It is “given out” (see the Washington telegraphs) that the grand march over the Rapidan was made to prevent reinforcements from Lee to Longstreet. Perhaps so; but there are some objections to that theory. — Meade began his march on the 27th (Friday) and the army of Bragg had been defeated two days before, leaving Grant at liberty to cut off Longstreet and reinforce Burnside; besides which more than a week must elapse before any efficient reinforcements could reach Longstreet — bringing it to the 4th of December — before which time the fate of the contest between Burnside and Longstreet must have been decided. — Let the theory stand, however, till a better can be given. The facts seem to show that Meade’s army went on very well till it ran against some fortifications, which not liking to storm, it turned back. But, the question may be asked, why not go around them? Why should a man run against a fort, when there is room enough to go around?

It seems that Meade’s army crossed partly at, and partly above where Hooker did; that being across the river instead of moving onward toward Richmond; it wheeled to the right and formed a line of battle across the road from Frederick to Orange Court House, with the right resting on the Rapidan; that between this line of battle and Orange Court House, Lee with his army, in his fortifications. It seems to me that this performance was exactly like what I have seen performed by a chicken cock on the farm, who by deploying his squadron from the barnyard in front of his rival at the chickenhouse, stops, flaps his wings, and crows (in his expressive language) “Come on!” But his enemy will not come, but crows in the intrenchments of the chickenhouse; whereupon the challenger thinks enough has been done for his honor, and retreats on the barnyard. I hope no military hero, renowned in war, will feel aggrieved at this comparison. The analogies of nature are very strong. The great and illustrious men of science are now engaged in tracing man back to monkey. For my own part, I consider a comparison with a game cock far more dignified. I never saw a baboon without a supreme contempt for him, while a game cock has many admirable qualities.

To return form our digression. Meade’s army did not pass by Lee’s; because, if it did, Lee could pass behind it, on the road to Washington. In fact, we must consider the Army of the Potomac as (what it has been for a year past,) a mere movable breastwork for the defense of Washington. Nor is that fact of any positive importance. — Unless Richmond can be taken, from the west side of James River, there is no great use in taking it at all, for, in any other case, the army and the great criminals who compose the rebel Government, will all escape to Lynchburg or Danville. Richmond, as a strategic point, is not worth a straw.

Leaving the Army of the Potomac to its winter quarters, at Brandy Station, we pass to the glorious Army of the Cumberland. That army, which, in the poetic language of General Meigs, fought part of “its battle above the clouds,” which stormed Lookout Mountain, 2,000 feet high, and crowned its summits with living laurels, green as its mountain pines. That army may be thankful, if covetous of fame, that it is not within reach of Washington. To that army our eyes must turn. Will that, too, go into winter quarters? Or will Gen. Grant, with his characteristic vigor and judgment, asking no leave of winter or of enemies, push on, dealing deadly blows at every step? This is what ought to be done. Can he do it? The first thing in the way of the army is the necessity of establishing a new depot of provisions and munitions at Chattanooga. Whenever an army advances a hundred miles, or more, a new center of supplies must be established, and one of the first considerations in the plan of a campaign is where the depots of supplies shall be. Admitting the successful advance of the army, new depots must be established at each and every successive advance. — Nor is this all. Their communications must be kept open, and their defenses such that they can stand a moderate siege. Gen. Grant has had one very instructive example of this in the seizure of his stores at Holly Springs. Heretofore Nashville has been the great center of supplies for the armies in Tennessee.

Now, Chattanooga must be made a center. Nor will there be any great difficulty in this. From Nashville to Chattanooga by rail, is 151 miles, which will make an easy and safe line of transit, when we occupy, as we now do, the defensible points south of Bridgeport. The bridge over the Tennessee must be completed; a great mass of stores removed from Nashville to Chattanooga; and the defenses on the Northern extremities of Mission and Lookout Ridges made strong. When this is done, the army is ready to move two hundred miles further. But this is heavy work, and may take two or three weeks or more. Will Grant then advance? Certainly, if he does not contradict his own character, and all the demands of the war. He has already given us, an example of what he will do in his march on Holly Springs and Grenada, in the middle of December.  Besides, what is there to arrest the march of an army in the South in winter? Is there any reason to stop the operations of an army in Southern Ohio, during winter? Not at all; and there is still less in Georgia. When the troops get disentangled from all the ridges of mountains, that extend about forty miles south of Chattanooga, they will find a winter march comparatively easy. It will not do for our armies to stand still. Now is the time, when every blow tells upon the rebels with double force. They are like the sinking pugilist, who after having stood several rounds with apparent strength and courage, begins to feel the blood oozing from his veins; his sight grows dizzy; his limbs become unsteady, and he deals hard, but ill-directed blows, which often strike the empty air, till he begins to stagger. Then two or three blows from his adversary, fell him to the earth, and he rises no more. Cut off from half their territory; cut off, from their cattle in Texas, and their sugar in Louisiana; their men exhausted by war and disease; their money worthless; their people dissatisfied, how much longer can they last? Toombs’ speech; the North Carolina election; the Richmond papers; the constant accounts of distress and exhaustion from every quarter, tell the story without any resort to argument or imagination. The rebels are staggering from exhaustion, and their only hope is that Lee and Bragg may keep the field till somebody offers them peace or compromise.

The hope is in vain.

Unconditional surrender is the only terms they will be allowed.

Whether their rebel dominion perishes in the last ditch or not; whether they die in battle or by exhaustion, they will come to an early end, and be remembered only for the most signal folly and the most signal punishment which the world ever saw since the downfall of Rome. — Cin. Gaz.

Burlington Weekly Hawkeye, The (Burlington, Iowa) Dec 12, 1863