The United States Army officer and cavalry commander George Armstrong Custer was born. Custer fought in the American Civil War and the American Indian Wars George Armstrong Custer (December 5, 1839 – June 25, 1876) was a United States Army... Read more ...
George Armstrong Custer was born
The United States Army officer and cavalry commander George Armstrong Custer was born. Custer fought in the American Civil War and the American Indian Wars
George Armstrong Custer (December 5, 1839 – June 25, 1876) was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the American Indian Wars. Raised in Michigan and Ohio, Custer was admitted to West Point in 1857, where he graduated last in his class in 1861. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Custer was called to serve with the Union Army.
Custer developed a strong reputation during the Civil War. He participated in the first major engagement, the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861, near Washington, D.C. His association with several important officers helped his career, as did his success as a highly effective cavalry commander. Custer was promoted to captain in 1864, and was brevetted to major general in 1865. At the conclusion of the Appomattox Campaign, in which he and his troops played a decisive role, Custer was present at General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865.
After the Civil War, Custer remained a major general in the United States Volunteers until they were mustered out in February 1866. He reverted to his permanent rank of captain and was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the 7th Cavalry Regiment in July 1866. He was dispatched to the west in 1867 to fight in the American Indian Wars. On June 25, 1876, while leading the 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana Territory against a coalition of Native American tribes, he and all of his regiment—which included two of his brothers—were killed. The battle is popularly known in American history as "Custer's Last Stand." Custer and his regiment were defeated so decisively at the Little Bighorn that it has overshadowed all of his prior achievements.
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If you are thinking of purchasing a black powder rifle or pistol it may be smart to decide what you are going to use the weapon for before you buy it. Do you want to shoot patched roundballs or minié balls? Or perhaps both? This article provides you with some advice on what to choose.
Published: 15 November 2008 by Øyvind Flatnes.
Edited: 15 November 2008.
Making a powder horn is not difficult. To make a powder horn you need these tools: a cow horn, some files, a drill, a saw or hack saw, a piece of wood and glue.
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You can learn more about powder horns and black powder shooting in the brand new book From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms.
Preparing the horn
The core will let go after a while. After boiling the horn must be hung away for 'de-smelling' since they will be smelling quite rotten for the next couple of weeks. Hang them high, because dogs seem to fancy the smell and consider the horns as a delicacy that is made to be chewn.
Making the powder horn
After the hole is drilled you can cut the horn to desired length. There is always superfluous material on a horn. To make the rear opening as round as possible you can boil the horn and place it on a coned piece of wood. I have turned a wooden cone on a lathe that I use for this purpose. After the horn is boiled it is soft and is easily formed by the cone. You should leave the horn on the cone for at least 24 hours. It needs to dry and if you remove it before it is properly dried it may go back to its original shape.
Before you insert a plug you may file, shape and polish the horn as you desire. I use files and sand paper. Electrical tools such as Dremel tools is not recommended when working with horns. It is said that the horn may crack from the vibrations of the tools.
The first powder horns I made had plugs which were hand filed to the shape of the horn. This is a time consuming process, and now I use a lathe to turn the plugs. This allows for perfectly round plugs that fits in a horn that has been rounded on a cone. Most tree species can be used. I have good experience with birch, oak, pine, maple, goat willow and European mountain ash.
It is smart to make the plug a little bit oversize. When you insert the plug you boil the horn first and when the horn is soft you force the plug into the horn. Secure it with nails. The old horns were made water tight by applying molten bee's wax between the horn and the plug. I usually use a good wood glue for this.
As a last finish I use fine grit sand paper. Wash the horn with hot water a couple of times between sanding for best finish. After I'm finished sanding I oil the horn with a thin layer of boiled linseed oil that is rubbed well into the horn. Vegetable oils such as olive and soybean oil may also be used. The wooden plug may be oiled with an appropriate wood finish.
Making a flat powder horn
Before I flatten the horns I give them arough finish. As the horn is going to be boiled soft it is an advantage that the walls of the horn are as thin as possible. Then you have to look for a proper press that can flatten the horn. A vise does the job if you have access to one. Betwen the jaws you must have two hard boards. Inside the horn you must have a piece of wood that is shaped like the internals of the flat horn. The thickness of this piece of wood becomes the thickness of the finished horn.
Before you flatten the horn it must be boiled to soften it. How long it should boil depends on the thickness of the horn. Thin walled horns require less boiling compared to thick. It does not take many minutes for the horn to start drying after it is taken up from the water, so you must act quickly. Insert the plug into the rear of the horn and with one board on each side of the horn, start to slowly close the vise jaws. Stop when the walls of the horn is touching the inner and outer wood pieces. Leave the horn in the press for at least 24 hours, or perhaps even more to be on the safe side. When you remove it from the press you trim it to desired length and drill a hole for the spout. After that you may even the sides of the horn with a flat file. Some prefer to wait with the finishing until the plug in the rear of the horn is inserted.
The wooden plug in the rear of the horn must be filed into shape. It is important that you don't boil the horn when you insert the plug on flat horns, because a consequence of boiling is that the horn returns to its natural shape.
Finish the horn by sanding it as described above.