Third Date of Target Practice

August 19, 1863

Presidential aide John Hay writes: “This evening and yesterday evening an hour was spent by the President in shooting with Spencer’s new repeating rifle.  A wonderful gun, loading with absolutely contemptible simplicity and ease with seven balls & firing the whole readily & deliberately in less than half a minute.  The President made some pretty good shots.  Spencer, the inventor, a quiet little Yankee who sold himself in relentless slavery to his idea for six weary years before it was perfect, did some splendid shooting.  My shooting was the most lamentably bad.  My eyes are gradually failing.  I can scarcely see the target two inches wide at thirty yards.”   The presidential party had spectators:

An irrepressible patriot came up and talked about his son John who when lying on his belly on a hilltop at Gettysburg, feeling the shot fly over him like to lost his breath – felt himself puffing up like a toad – thought he would bust.  Another seeing the gun recoil slightly said it wouldn’t do; too much powder; a good piece of audience [ordnance]  should not rekyle; if it should rekyle a little forrid.’

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “The bearer of this, Judge Colt, of Mo, introduced to me by the Attorney General, tells me [he] has a Step-son—Singleton Wilson—who ran away into the rebel army, then under seventeen, and still under nineteen, and who is now a prisoner at Camp-Morton, Indiana. He now wants to take the oath of allegiance, and go home with the Judge, and the Judge desires the same.”

Published in: on August 19, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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