Sunday, February 22, 2009

Topics I have no business discussing

I won a five dollar bet off the Steven over dinner last night (five bucks being the standing bet amount).

The Unlikely Topic: Civil War Munitions. 58 caliber muzzle loaded rifles were the primary weapon of the Civil War causing long awkward gaps between shots while both parties had to arduously reload their weapons while attempting to kill each other. I'm not an expert in weaponry or Civil War history, but awkward pauses... that I am familiar with.

In battle if the rifle did not discharge properly, it could not be reloaded without disassembly. Two superimposed loads would cause the barrel to explode in the shooter's face.
In the case of a misfire, the soldier would have thrown the gun aside for another weapon, which might be picked up by someone else looking for a rifle for the same reason. The misspent cartridges would have been discovered only in tamping down a fresh shot. Discard, scramble for new weapon, repeat.

In the Battle of Gettysburg of the 35,000 muskets recovered: 12,000 had two charges, 6,000 had three to ten charges each. One had 21 charges. That means 52 percent of the recovered arms were useless. What a horrible ungodly shitfight that must have been.
  • Thank you, Mr. John Sowers. You really were the most entertaining history teacher any seventh grade girl could ask for. No one else has ever told me such stories since. I've won more bets due to your love of trivia and entertaining factoids.
More Notes:
  • Loved the Oscars. Loved Hugh Jackman. Marisa Tomei's dress was really fantastic. Winslet reminded me of Grace Kelly. Sean Penn still looks like a cat's asshole.
  • The Little Freds are lining up at the feeder mighty hard these days, the little sugar water addicts. One accidentally flew into the window and did herself in. Hummingbirds are so remarkably fearless and aggressive that one less seems a missing energy inverse to the actual proportion of the animal.
  • The toes are painted once again so I can get my can to yoga class. Black with red metallic fleck.


brenda k said...

The post on the civil war makes me feel very dumb. It was interesting and yet I know that I learned this in school. I really wish I would have payed attention in class!

I wish I would have grown up on the Andy Griffith show. The kids always learned cool stuff like that by just hanging out at the courthouse.

Madame Leiderhosen said...

Aw, not my intention.

If you think about what's frustrating now (fecking Microsoft products! Stooopid project managers!) as opposed to having to take 45 long seconds to reload a rifle to kill the guy who is reloading to kill you, it kind of shoves perspective sideways. There is no modern equivalent.

Mr. Sowers was like Andy Griffith but older with audio projection and a steel plate in his skull.

Ben-Bob said...

Madame L, your intimate knowledge of 19th-century infantry firearms leaves me gobsmacked. But do tell, what was the subject of the bet?

Madame Leiderhosen said...

Muzzle loading rifles causing horrible awkward pauses in Civil War battles. Among other problems.

Steven was sure the repeating rifle was used but that didn't come into use until Winchester started decimating the indigenous peoples after the war.

Can you guess where we were having dinner?

Ben-Bob said...

Um, Cafe Gratitude?

Mnmom said...

Also why the soliders at Gettysburg often resorted to bayonets!