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17 September 1862

Slaget ved Antietam ble utkjempet den 17. september 1862 under den amerikanske borgerkrigen. Øverstkommanderende hos nordstatene var George B. McClellan, mens Robert E. Lee var øverstkommanderende hos sørstatene. Antietam var det blodigste... Read more ...

17 September 1862

Slaget ved Antietam
Slaget ved Antietam ble utkjempet den 17. september 1862 under den amerikanske borgerkrigen. Øverstkommanderende hos nordstatene var George B. McClellan, mens Robert E. Lee var øverstkommanderende hos sørstatene. Antietam var det blodigste endagsslaget i amerikansk historie, med 22 717 døde, sårede og savnede. 3 654 døde ble begravet, 1 761 ble meldt savnet.

Slaget ble utkjempet ved Sharpsburg og Antietam-bekken, vest i delstaten Maryland. Selv om McClellan hadde rikelig med reservestyrker, maktet han ikke å ødelegge Lees hær. McClellan hadde stanset Lees invasjon av delstaten Maryland, men Lee greide å trekke sine styrker tilbake til Virginia uten forstyrrelser fra den forsiktige McClellan. Slaget endte uavgjort, men konføderasjonsstyrkene seg først tilbake fra slagmarken. Dette gjorde slaget, i militær terminologi, til en unionsseier. Seieren hadde betydning nok til å gi president Abraham Lincoln selvtillit til å kunngjøre sin frigjøringserklæring. Dette førte igjen til at den britiske og franske regjeringen gikk vekk fra sine planer om anerkjennelse av Konføderasjonen.


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      Sharps Model 1874: Part 2 - Shooting

    • Sharps Model 1874: Part 2 - Shooting

      The second part of the Sharps rifle article focuses on the practical use of the rifle. In this article we take a look at the different components that are needed when loading a black powder cartridge for a Sharps rifle: powder, brass, primers, bullets, bullet lube, and wads. As an example a .45-70 Shiloh Sharps is used.

    Reindeer hunter Jo Gjende and his rifles

    Category: Hunting
    Published: 31 October 2012 by Øyvind Flatnes.
    Views: 5598

    Jo Gjende, ca. 1850

    Jo Gjende, about 1850.

    Norwegian mountain man Jo Tjøstolsson Kleppe (1794–1884), also known as Jo Gjende, was a legendary reindeer hunter. A hermit for the better part of his life, he lived a lonely life in his cabin at Gjendeosen in Jotunheimen (The Home of the Giants) – a mountainous area in southern Norway. He spent his time hunting and reading books by the Age of Enlightenment's great philosophers, such as Voltaire and Volney. Known as a character and a crack rifle shot, Jo Gjende supposedly killed between 500 and 600 reindeer.

    Aged eighteen Jo killed his first reindeer in 1812. The rifles available at that time– many of which were made on parts from old infantry muskets from the reign of Christian IV (1577–1648) – were mostly made by gunmakers outside the local community. The oldest parts compromising these firearms must have been more than 150 years at the time Jo was born.

    The Østerdal Rifles

    Jo's favourite rifles were the Østerdal rifles mad by gunmaker Engebret Engebretsson who lived in Østerdalen, a valley in Hedmark County in Eastern Norway, between 1680 and 1760. His rifles had box barrels, which were distinguished by the square to octagon shape. Jo claimed several times that these were the best rifles he had ever used. Most of the Østerdal rifles had iron barrels, but some had steel barrels that were more durable. In Jo's lifetime these rifles were getting scarce, especially in good working condition. As they were worn the barrels were bored out and rerifled and as a result the calibre became larger and larger as time went by.

    Find out more!
    You can learn more about Jo Gjende and other black powder hunters in the brand new book From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms.

    Barrel Rifling as a Science

    Sometime around 1845 Jo's community got a visit from a regimental gun smith. Capable of boring steel barrels, the gun smith had a good reputation. Jo purchased a long and a short smooth box barrel from this gun smith, and visited several local gun smiths in order to have it rifled. As time went by he learnt to rifle his own barrels, and after that, no was allowed near his barrels. In the beginning he didn't quite manage to turn out good rifled barrels, and he rifled and tested, rifled and tested, but never gave up until he reached the accuracy he wanted. Even though few believed in him, he was not satisfied until he could place two bullets in the same hole on the target. Not all rifles performed equally well. While some didn't have the 'kill' in them, some did only perform well at short ranges. Such rifles were disposed of.

    Crack Shot

    Jo had the reputation of being a crack shot, and the practiced every day by taking a shot or two with one or more of his guns. He won most of the shooting competitions in which he participated. In 1860, when a new shooting society was established in his local community, Jo was persuaded to participate in the prize shooting. Not surprisingly, he won the competition and secured a nice Kongsberg rifle as a prize.

    He didn't make much money on the hunting, but he had made some money in his youth as a travelling cattle dealer. Most of what he earned was spent on powder and lead – or rifles, which were sold or traded away as he grew tired of them.

    According to Jo, the two rifles he had made from the steel barrels purchased from the regimental gun smith were unequalled to anything else in Norway – in his opinion they were superior reindeer rifles – especially the long rifle, which was fitted with an engraved flintlock. Already starting to grow old at the time he got this rifle, he believed it would have saved him a lot of hard work if had a rifle like than when he was at his most active as a reindeer hunter. If the range was too far he could double the powder charge without loss of accuracy.

    Percussion Scepticism

    Jo Gjende with friends.

    Jo Gjende with friends.

    Jo Gjende was a firm believer in the flintlock and wouldn't know of anything else. An English friend once gave him an expensive, engraved percussion lock, and to be polite Jo installed it on one of his rifles. As legend goes, the first time he tried it on a hunt it misfired, and in anger Jo removed it from the gun and threw it to its final resting place on the bottom of a mountain lake.

    In his older days he damned the percussion lock, claiming he couldn't get accuracy out of the caplocks anyway because the lock ignited the powder too fast. It was almost as if the ball leaped out of the barrel. The old buffer's theory was that unless a small amount of powder gases was allowed to escape out of the flash hole, the ball would not fly true.

    Neither was he enthusiastic about breech-loading rifles with conical bullets, because the trajectory was far too curved. He argued that hunters shot at ranges that were too long, which only served to scare or maim the reindeer.

    The great reindeer hunter lived to be an old man. He was active to the last, and was a keen observer of the current dramatic events in Norwegian politics – events that finally lead to the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905. He regarded the Bible as a fairy-tale, and hated everything connected to clergymen and the church.

    Jo Gjende died in 1884, 90 years old.