Thursday, March 31, 2011

Barking mad Swiss gun nuttery.

Swiss Vetterli 1869/71

.44 rimfire Swiss gun-nuttery. Looks like a cross between a Winchester and a coffee-grinder. Vetterli Rifle. Absolute Alp-induced barking madness. Rusty Mitchum loaned me this one- his dad traded five bucks for it when Rusty was a kid....last century. (Not sure which way the five bucks went.) It was current the century before THAT. 1869/71 Swiss Vetterli .41 rimfire. The first bolt action repeating service rifle in the world.

Cleaned it, foamed out the barrel. Pulled the feed equipment and the forestock. Wiped it down. Some total shade-tree gunsmith converted this one to centerfire with a drill and a ground-off sheetrock nail, but there is some great wood and metal work in there.

Buffalo Arms makes some brass. Couple of googlers make the bullet. You can buy your own dang powder and large rifle primers and get ready to turn back the Papal Guard if they come marching up the schwedenhoffen.

If you could afford about 40 rounds of the brass and manage to get the thing to feed it would be quite the piece to pull out of a case on the line during a vintage match.

I'm craving clocks and chocolate and think I faintly hear fluglehorns on the fir-scented air. Maybe I'll get a pair of leather shorts, one of those little hats with a feather and some big suspenders. How about a little cider and some of that cheese with holes in it and then we'll shoot apples off the kids heads?

Eagle Cams.

Virginia. Two chicks.

And Iowa.

And Oklahoma. Chicks all over.

Iwo Jima today.

Still folks buried in caves, mostly Japanese but many unrecovered from both sides.


More Iwo.

Letter from Iwo.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jared Groce's Plantation on the Brazos River.

Bernardo House at the Groce Plantation with the Twin Sisters.

Foundation at the Jared Groce Plantation.

The Plantation is expansive. Groce is the richest of the 300 settling families and can feed an army out of his barns, storehouses and herds. He has a blacksmith with an extensive shop on the grounds. There is even a store of lead pipe to melt down for bullets. Houston and some officers begin to feed, equip and train the men. Many are sick and they get food, rest and care. They start work on getting 700 men out of the weather.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Everyone needs a good knife.

At least I think so. I've actually have a USE for a good knife- I end up field-dressing, skinning and butchering 3-8 deer every year. A couple years back I was shocked to find WW2 theater-made and issued knives on Ebay for a song. If I was going to cut up deer, why not do it with old WW2 vintage workhorse blades?

As usual, once I got going, I went overboard. Got some great knives and having sheaths made for a few. But I have quite a pile. Starting to list them on Ebay to thin the lot back a bit. Really is a great thing to have a terrific few blades to work with but I had gotten up into the 20s. Now have them as paperweights, letter openers, darkroom package cutters, et. An interesting history lesson in those old knives. Just amazing that you can get a 65-year-old WW2 issued and carried or made from scratch knife for such a low prices.

Houston marches to Groce's Plantation.

Houston known among the Indians as "The Raven." Also: "Big Drunk."
He's 42 and in charge of the last Texian Army.

Houston stays overnight at San Felipe, then moves the army 20 miles North to Jared Groce's plantation. San Felipe is a very important town to Texicans as it is the center of colonization for Austin's "Old 300" but it doesn't look like a good place to fight. The men are grumbling having been ready to fight on the Colorado and now retreating again. Captain Mosley Baker announces that he and his company are staying to defend San Felipe and Wiley Martin takes men South to defend the Brazos crossing at Ft Bend. Since they ARE staying Houston orders them to stay and moves the army North.
Groce's plantation has supplies, corn, cattle, pigs and Houston is going to rest and organize the army there. It's raining and the Texians are disgusted with the retreat, abandoning San Felipe to the Mexicans and the weather. Houston is running the whole show out of a saddlebag. The Texas Supreme Commander has 200.00, a horse and a pistol stuck in his sash. Someone steals his indian blanket.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Word of the Goliad massacre reaches the Texican Army.

Fannin's men marched out and shot on Palm Sunday, their bodies left in the killing fields. Word reaches Houston's army at San Felipe. Only 28 survivors of the 347. Fannin shot. Dr. Sutherland and Duval presumed dead.

Houston's men are near mutiny at the constant retreat from river to river. The settlers are committing to the fight. The rain continues and the while Santa Anna considers the war over and this just a mopping up action, the Texans are grimly preparing to fight. It's a bitter Monday in San Felipe.

The ante is being raised in the war for Texas.

Welcome, Sayunclers!

If you see anything you like, click an ad while you are here to help drive the adsense account along! Glad you are here!

The Manual for every gun on Earth.

Maybe I can finally get the rear sight off my SKS.

The Twin Sisters arrive.

Elizabeth and Eleanor.

Two iron six pound cannons commissioned and built by citizens of Cinncinatti, Ohio arrive in Galveston as Houston crosses the Brazos at San Felipe. They are the only artillery the army has. Everything else was lost at the Alamo or Goliad. They have been smuggled down the Mississippi, (listed as 'hollow ware" on the manifest), sailed out of New Orleans to Brazoria, Texas and schoonered back to Galveston.

Two twin daughters of Dr. Charles Rice, Elizabeth and Eleanor presented the cannon to representatives of the Texas Government at Galveston. The Texans name the cannons the Twin Sisters.

San Felipe, Texas, 1836.

Houston and the last Texas army arrive in San Felipe today. Settled by Stephen F. Austin, the town is the center of the 'Old 300" colonists and important to the Anglo settlers. It's on the West side of the Brazos, the side the Mexican Army will be on.

Rumors begin to circulate that Fannin and his men have been executed by the Mexican Army at Goliad. The Texian troops surrendered under the belief that they were to have been paroled after a few weeks.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Runaway Scrape is on!

Settlers, colonists, newcomers, Houston's army, all moving East to get away from the Mexican armies. General Gaona is at Bastrop waiting to cross the Colorado. Tolsa and Ramierez Y Sesma opposite Houston at Burnam's Crossing, Urrea on the coast at Matagorda.

The little Texas Navy has done great work intercepting and harrassing Mexican supply boats along the coast. Three ships, the Brutus, the Invincible and the Independence are restricted to defending Galveston, the last port open to the United States.

The rain holds up the Mexican advance but makes life on the road miserable. Houston's army has a huge refugee train. The old San Antonio Road to Nacogdoches is full. The Texican army is burning ferrys, crossings and towns to deny them to the Mexicans. The Mexicans are torching plantations, settlements and farms.

The Runaway Scrape is on. It's a miserable time of sickness and destruction. It's estimated that 10% of the Texas population died this Spring.

Houston Retreats to San Felipe.

Instead of attacking on Saturday March 26th, Houston moves back one river, from the Colorado to the Brazos at San Felipe arriving there on the 28th. This is Stephen F. Austins town, the center of colonization for the old 300.

Houston as 1400 men and Ramierez Y Sesma has 800. The army isn't happy to retreat. Three or four hundred desert or get furloughed to go check on families. Houston knows Gen Gaona is at Bastrop 60 miles North, either moving to cut him off or march to Nacogdoches. Urrea has captured Matagorda 40 miles South cutting off supplies from the sea. Even if he somehow beats the Mexicans facing him across the Colorado there are two more armies in the area. He retreats. It's still raining. The men aren't happy. It's a blood feud at this point and they are spoiling for a fight.

Santa Anna leaves San Antonio to join Generals Tolsa and Ramierez Y Sesma. One port open to Texans: Galveston. The Texican government is retreating East as well, either joining Houston or moving East.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Iwo Jima 1945

Good Dogging. Marine dog handler sleeps while his dog watches on Iwo Jima.

Marines fire a 37mm Field Gun at Mt Suribachi.

Tomorrow is the official end of the battle of Iwo Jima. 20,000 Japanese troops fought to the death with only 216 captured or surrendered. Marines landed on Feb 19 and the last Japanese attack, a banzai charge at night was March 25th. 6822 Marines killed or missing. 19,217 wounded.

The last two japanese soldiers surrendered in 1951.

Marine .45 shot by sniper on Iwo Jima.

My Cousin Wallace sent me this email. We assume the story is true- he got it as an email as well so you never can tell.

One of the older technicians at work was telling me a story today about a pistol that was in his in-laws family.

He tells me that his wife's late father, who was a Marine in the battle of Iwo Jima, had brought back his pistol from the war. I'm thinking, ok must be a nice old 1911 model, one that has probably seen more than a few soldiers hands. Then comes the rest of the story.

Turns out that the guy's father-in-law, had a camera with him in his sack, and had taken some pictures of when they raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi. He submitted his photo, but it was not chosen as the one that is now famous. The family still has this picture hanging in their living room.

A few days after the flag raising, the Japanese attacked the Marines, and another fight broke out. As they are in the middle of everything, a Japanese sniper takes a shot at him. The bullet hits him in the right wrist, and hits his gun hanging from his belt. The round, after completely disabling his right hand, penetrates his leather pistol holster, and embeds itself into the slide of his 1911. Fragments from the round penetrate through the other side of the holster, and into his leg, injuring him further. The marine was able to get to the medic, where he was then evacuated to care for his injuries.

The Marine's name was Horace Arthur Smith "Arty". He passed away 3 years ago.

Update: Welcome to visitors from Sayuncle! Currently blogging the Texas Revolution, lots of ww2 knives and shooting highpower rifle.

WW2 Ebay Knife.

As Crocodile Dundee would say: THAT'S a Knife!

Hilt had been a flaky, awful, gungy mess.

Bid on it though it looked rough in spots. When I unpacked it the biggest problem was that someone had shellacked the handle and it was flaking off. A little steel wool took off the varnish and brought out the brass washers. Clear leather polish brightened up the leather. Knife was solid in every other way. Original sheath was included but it's not usable, though very interesting to have.

65 year old WW2 Theater-made knife. 22.50 in Ebay.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Old Paleo-American site near Austin.

Somebody invent the .418 Rigby, quick!

Aggies dig up the oldest tools in Texas. So far. Tough folks. Big game around in those days, some of which would eat you.

Update Video with a perky reporter that they probably would have eaten.

The Spring Mosquitonox.

Killed two who were trying to draw blood. Sorry to see them. Noticed I was in a patch of fresh mowed but just now leafing out Poison Ivy. I guess that time of year is starting.
Wore rubber boots and washed myself and the pup when I got home.

PAL RH-36 WW2 Knives.

Ebay knives. Low end. One has a blade ground to a dagger contour. Also has a "div" stamp near the guard. Someone way back when did a great job in grinding it down. Centerline is straight on both sides.
Having two sheaths made right now for a couple of knives. Hope I have found my sheathmaker.

Update: Got a big ugly bowie knife today in the mail. WW2. Cheap off Ebay. 22.00. Hilt was flaking, awful, gungy. I cleaned it off and gave the leather a treatment.....wowzers. Post and photos tomorrow.

Texas in 1836

1836 Map of Texas.

The 1836 population of Texas was about 50,000. Most of these people lived along the coastal plain along the rivers leading to the Gulf. Ft Bend, San Felipe, Victoria, Gonzalez, Bastrop, Matagorda, San Antonio and Nacogdoches were big towns. Nobody but Commanches and Buffalo lived North and West of San Antonio and Waco Village. The final Mexican sweep was to be through the Austin Old 300 colonies between the San Antonio and Brazos Rivers. As the Mexican forces move East they are confronted with a larger Anglo population, rivers at flood stage and forested countryside.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Houston gets the news of Fannin's Surrender.

Houston retreated to the Colorado at Burnham's Ferry and crossed the flooded river. He had 347 men. With Fannin's force he planned to hold at the Colorado. Santa Anna had left San Antonio and was reported to be only 15 miles away. Urrea was to the South. Goana was at Bastrop on the Colorado to the North. On the 19th he he burned the ferry and shifted South to Beason's Crossing. (Columbus, Texas) On the 21st Ramirez Y Sesma appeared on the opposite bank with his troops and dug in. Houston held better ground and was protected by the river and many urged him to attack. He tentatively set the attack for Saturday the 26th.

On Wednesday the 23rd he received word of Fannin's capture. This news turns the war into a rout. The Alamo gone. Fannin captured. Most of the cannon in Texas had been at one or the other. Bowie, Travis, Bonham, Dickensen, Crockett, King dead. Fanin, Ward, Duval, Dr. Sutherland captured. Houston is in charge of the last rebel force. Just 200 yards of raging river separate him from the Mexicans.

The news of the defeat at Goliad does produce one effect. Colonists and settlers, not just newcomers from the States, realize that the stakes have been raised. They have to pick a side. As Houston retreats East he moves out of the Spanish influenced culture and more into territory settled by Anglos. As word of the Alamo and Goliad spread his Army swells to 1300 men. The settlers are finally joining the fight. Nearly everyone know someone who was in one garrison or the other.

The Texicans and the Mexicans stare at each other across the swollen river for six days.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Big Ugly Ebay Knives

Ugly theater-made WW2 knife. Cheap on ebay, but you can see why. Really grungy when I got it. Needed some wiping off.
Useless big knife that is down to paperweight status. Butcher-knife sized. Trying to decide what to do with it. Might start putting a few out at gunshows. Or back on Ebay. Going to be interesting to post these guys with really terrific photos. Those help the sale and I'm just the guy to take them.

The design of this knife is so grotesquely bad that it's a testament to bad taste. Crazy.

Handle has two big hex screws that hold it on. I carefully backed those out and cleaned them and the sockets and the hilt. Looking better.

Katie was going up to get some milk and I took two knives up to be sheathed by a leathermaker out of Gilmer. Working all the projects.

Update: Reader mentioned Plowshare Forge.

A.C. Gentry at Greenbriar Lake.

With Lucie in the Toyota.

He works quickly.

A.C. Gentry sketching at the Bufe Lakehouse.

A.C and Lucie and I drove out to Greenbriar Lake so he could have a look around. He might be doing a watercolor for the Bufes at their lakehouse. I'm always interested just to see what he looks at and how he looks at it. He took out a sketchbook and roughed in two scenes. Like most 85 year olds he was ready to go as soon as he got there but I managed to get him around to both sides of the lake. The last place we went he saw a viewpoint he really liked. He hadn't been out to Greenbriar this century.

The price of burritos.

You don't think the Texas Revolution of 1836 still echos? San Antonio. Mexican food. Taco Bell franchise. Who'll follow Old Ben Milam into San Antonio?

Just for the record, I vastly prefer the more home-made tacos at La Ranchero or Los Guerros here on Lindsey Lane in Tyler.

If you haven't read the story of Old Ben Milam, trader, settler, horse thief, friend to indians, revolutionary, steamboater, guest of the President of Mexico, well, you ought to. You wouldn't believe it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

General Urrea's Diary.

His account of the Battle of Coleto Creek.

Carlos de la Garza.

Texan. Fought for Spain and Mexico. Also fought indians including Karankawa's. Horseman. Settler. Prominent citizen of the times. Just imagine if HE had been on the other side and been in charge of the troops at Goliad.

Impressive people on both sides of this fight.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Monday, March 21: General Jose Urrea takes Victoria.

General Jose Urrea.

Fannin's men are being moved back to Goliad and the casualties treated. Texican wounded still lay in the grass near Coleto Creek. General Urrea rides to Victoria and seizes the town on Monday, the 21st. Horton's mounted men flee.

There are some accounts of tension between Santa Anna And Urrea. Santa Anna has ruined several elite battalions in a bloody assault on the Alamo while Urrea and his cavalry have won at San Patricio, Aqua Dulce, captured the best Texas army at Goliad and now occupy Victoria. He has used and enlisted the locals to good result in intelligence and tactical information. He's sweeping the most occupied part of Texas while Santa Anna dallies in San Antonio.

Update: Victoria has several prominent settler families who fly the British flag and stay. The Mexican officers use their houses.

Update: Overview of the battle.

American Fork and Hoe.

1871 Vetterli .41 Rimfire.

Tyler Harvey Hall Gunshow wrap-up. Tom Carroll has my Garand 1943 AFH bayonet for a repark job. Sent another WW2 theater-made knife to Waxahatchie for a sheath. Bought a warthog knife sharpener with The Good Doctor. Didn't sell my H&R M12 or the Anschutz, though the dealer said they really had a lot of traffic due to them. H&R up on a little bipod. Anschutz MS69 just a great looking little rifle.

Daily Deercam

Just about coyote pup time.


Year and a half old buck.

Big Kitty.

Does working out pecking order.

Spring is springing. Been weeks since I checked cams and poured corn. One cam, with 1700+ images on it was still at 75% batts. Pretty good. Flash has quit working though so nothing at night. Second cam was facedown in the leaves with the card stolen by some kids who had been down there lately. I think they also shotgunned the heron rookery. It was pretty quiet up there. Third and forth cams were dead but everything OK. Replaced batts, poured corn and swapped cards. Lucie picking up deerticks. (2) Keeping a scan out for shed antlers.

Update. Replaced a lantern rechargeable and all 8 D batts in two cams, third cam got two Ds which will help it limp along until I get back with more.

Seagulls in the Mall Parking lot.

Looked like these guys. White bodies and heads. Black-tipped wings.

Go figure. 30 or more. Far from the Gulf. We do get them at Lake Palestine but still a surprise to see them at JC Penneys.

Coleto Creek: Surrender.

Overnight General Jose Urrea had brought up more troops and artillery. Now he could stay back out of rifle range and shell the Texicans at will. At dawn he treated the rebels to a demonstration and then ceased fire.

The Texicans knew their position was impossible. Urrea had out-generaled Fannin and now had him trapped in an indefensible position. Fannin limped out with a flag of truce to discuss terms.

There is some controversy about this. The Mexicans say Urrea gave no terms. He certainly wouldn't need to. Fannin returned to his men and said they HAD terms, right to parole, personal property, et. The men certainly knew the stories of the defeat at the Alamo and the Mexican polity of executing all prisoners as criminals. At any rate, the Texicans laid down their arms and surrendered. The able-bodied were marched back to the presidio at Goliad. The wounded were left untreated on the prairie while the Mexican wounded and dead were tended to.

The Alamo defeated and destroyed. Now Fannin and the best trained and equipped army at Goliad surrendered. For all practical purposes, the war is over.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rifle stands for the photo shoot.

The Good Doctor Sneed goes into the shop and fabricates. Probably will be photographing just the actions next to each other. Have to slather stands in tape. Stands will be further apart with lighting and a background and reflectors, silver cards, et. On a tabletop so we can get to the dang things.


Somebody ought to make .44 cal rimfire for these Swiss vets!

Plunged into the Harvey Hall gunshow here in Tyler today. Big crowd in two rooms and it seemed like there were more old guns than ever on the tables. No interesting knives. OK, one Marbles blade. Couple of knifemakers who, as usual, seem mental cases. Never met one who wasn't.

Funny sharpener guy was there with his funny sharpeners. Might have found lines on two knife sheath makers.

I took in a H&R single shot M12 target model with international sights, handstop and bipod and an Anschutz Metallic Silhouette M64 with a Weaver scope. They are still on a table up there.

Looked at some Swiss Vetterli rifles. You can't get .44 rimfire ammo any more. I don't know why not. You would think a boutique ammo maker would produce it, or there would be some left in surplus. He had a little ziplock full of the ammo. Said it was half of all that existed.

Was talking to a friend when an ammo dealer offered him a box of old mix and match ammo. Someone had given it to him and he was trying to give it away. I managed to force 20 bucks on him for the box and split it with my friend Alan for a 10.00 donation. Four boxes of Swede Mauser, 6.5X55 and one box of 6.5X54. Some .481 Remington. 8mm Mauser. .44 Special. 25/06. .25 cal. .38 super. Lots of useful stuff. Happy and lucky. .45 auto rimmed.

Gotta go back tomorrow and see if anyone bit on the .22s. My horde of guns was bulging.

Free people doing what free people do.

Update: Not difficult to convert Vetterlis to centerfire. Buffalo Arms has centerfire brass.

Update II: Simplified conversion.

Coleto Creek.

After nightfall the Texicans talked it over. It was possible that some folks could make a dash for the timber and escape but that would leave the wounded behind at the mercy of the Mexicans. It was decided that everyone would stay put. Trenches were dug and barricades strengthened. A cold shower blew through. The Mexicans blew bugle calls all night to keep the garrison awake. Some sniping.

Goliad today.

The battlefield, day one.


The Battle of Coleto Creek.

Cavalry lance.

The day dawned foggy as the Goliad garrison ate and packed up. Perfect for an unobserved retreat, if haste was made. They were still burning and destroying the fort and supplies until they pulled out at 9:30. There were delays. The hungry oxen wanted to graze, not pull. A howitzer bogged in a creek. Wagons broke down and were abandoned. Someone noticed that food had been left behind. Horton and his cavalry scouted ahead as the column moved through open prairie and woodlines.
About six miles out, Fannin called a halt to let the oxen graze. The company was strung out in a prairie where it was vulnerable to attack, especially by cavalry. Many voices protested but Fannin overruled them.

At 12:45 they began to move again and had only gone four miles when Urrea's cavalry emerged from the woodline behind and circled ahead to cut them off from the timber. Mexican infantry appeared in the trees. Horton's cavalry screen ahead had dismounted and gone to sleep.
Coleto creek was in the trees a mile ahead. If the Texicans could make it to the woods and water they could make a stand.

Instead of running for cover Fannin had the men form a square. The cannons went at the corners. When it was obvious that the main Mexican effort was to cut them off, they limbered up and made a line toward the nearest trees. The cavalry cut them off and Fannin reformed the square. The Mexicans dismounted and prepared to attack.

The Soldatos approached by volley fire, the first falling short. Fannin's men sat and didn't engage until the enemy was within 100 yards. Inside 100 yards they devastated the attackers. Throughout the afternoon the Mexicans, mounted and on foot were turned back with serious casualties. The Mexicans took cover in the tall grass and officers had snipers and cazadores shoot the oxen and pick off the artillerists among them a Polish veteran of the Napoleonic wars.

By nightfall Fannin had nine dead and fifty-one wounded, including himself. The Mexicans had 50 killed and 140 wounded, but held the upper hand. There was no food or water and ammunition was low. The Texans dug in throughout the night and suffered a brief cold shower which ruined most of the guns. Fannin was going nowhere.

Horton's cavalry had ridden back to the sound of the guns but seeing Fannin cut off by a vastly superior force, retreated to Victoria to search for reinforcements.

Update: Personal accounts of the fighting.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Snow on the Range.

In front of the CMP Office at Camp Perry.

Photos from Camp Perry where the drifts are still high. Wow. We only see it in the summer when everything is green and the weather is good. Nice to be up there and miss the Texas heat. Happy not to be there now.

Sonar on the battlefield to spot enemy positions.

By pinpointing muzzle blast. Harder than you think to figure out where bullets are coming from on the battlefield. This could be a major thing. And it's one more step on the way to having robots do all the fighting.

Last full day at Goliad.

Mexican Cavalry by Fredrich Remington.

Houston has ordered Fannin to sink the cannon in the San Antonio river and pull back to Victoria on the Guadelupe. This order was received on the 12th of March. Only today does the garrison prepare to move. Fannin isn't good at getting organized, so he's waited. Waited on word from the troops he sent South with wagons to evacuate settlers. Waited on word from the men sent to check on them. Decides not to sink the cannons but to bring them along. Today he begins to burn extra supplies so they won't fall into the Mexicans plans. Col. Urrea's scouts are in the area and a group of locals who support the Mexicans are riding the woodlines around the fort. Fannin sends out Col. Horton to chase them away. They run, then come back as soon as the Texicans quit the field. This futility goes on most of the day. The garrison watches rather than packs. In the excitement, nobody remembers to feed the oxen who will pull the wagons. The plumes from the burning supplies let anyone in the area know the fort is being abandoned.

A local citizen, Carlos de la Garza and others are still loyal to Mexico and Spain. They have been scouting, passing information and aiding in the capture of King and Ward's men. They and the other loyalists have abandoned Goliad and moved to a large ranch just to the South. Fannin is overmatched and his enemies have excellent information.

If the Mexicans catch them in Fort Defiance- just an old mission, it's going to be a repeat of the Alamo.

Word has arrived that King, Ward and all their men have been defeated, captured and executed by Urrea's men while on their mission to evacuate settlers. Fannin knows the Mexican army is close. Santa Anna and his army still at San Antonio. Fannin's window is nearly closed and he spends the day letting Col. Horton wear out his horses while the garrison watches and cheers from the walls of the presidio.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gearing up for the TSRA Calendar shoot.

The good Doctor Sneed, scientist, researcher, fellow took my call and immediately chunked saving the world from bovine, equine and avian viral and bacteriological pests and started designing a rack to hold three old rifles vertically so we could take pictures of them.
Looks like we are going back to the Saunders Corps of Cadets Center at Texas A&M to photograph out of their firearms collection.

Update: They print about 16,000 of these calendars. 10.00 to buy or send donation if they send you one first. The project brings in a LOT of money. Happy to be part of it.

Update II: Dr. Sneed and I last year.

Update III: TSRA website. Must be out of calendars. Dr. Sneed is taking vitamins. I'm going to clean a lens. 2012 is going to be even better.

Tyler Rifle auctioned.

The top is a San Jacinto captured Mexican Carbine. Middle is the Texas Tyler Rifle. Bottom is a Texas Tryon rifle.

During the Civil War there was an active arms manufacturing business just a few blocks from my house. My neighbor says that when he was a kid you could find machinery and ordnance in the woods around the old building sites. Surviving Texas Tyler rifles are very rare. Here's one that just went in auction.

Less than 30 years after the Alamo. Just a couple city blocks from my house.

LINK to the auction catalog.

Good Government.

It's fun to be in the BATF. You get to do whatever you want even across the Mexican border. You get paid 100K a year. You won't be prosecuted no matter what you do. Is this a great country or what?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fannin gets ready to organize getting ready to move.

JamesW. Fannin. 32 year old Commander of the Texian Army at Goliad.

James W. Fannin at Goliad finally has someone who will tell him what to do. He's failed in relief of the Alamo and now the Alamo garrison is gone. Houston orders him to fall back from Goliad on the San Antonio River to Victoria on the Guadelupe. First Fannin has sent men and wagons South to evacuate refugees, then more men sent South to find out what happened to the first group. Col. Urrea and his cavalry are sweeping North toward Ft. Defiance. 40 miles from Goliad to Victoria. They aren't going to make it. A tragically critical week is about to get much worse.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Texas, 1836.

Most settlements along the rivers. As The Mexican Army chases Houston and the Texicans East they have to cross river after river. It's a rainy Spring in 1836 and the crossings are few and difficult.

Santa Anna: A Man of Parts.

Never heard this story. Since Illinois is broke I imagine we will see the leg on Ebay soon. Crazy. And just a few years earlier he was in his prime.


Knives, guns, dogs, photography, AR15s, dead deer and pissed-off owls!

If it's your first time at Blackfork, welcome! I'm currently blogging the 1836 Texas War for Independence. There lots of gun stuff, some photo items. Target shooting with the Texas National Match team. The daily deercam is usually running off the three cams I keep up year round down in a creek bottom in SmithCounty, Texas. Scroll down to older posts. My blog is driven by content I generate myself. My photos, my interests. If you enjoy your visit please earmark me and return! My photography blog is at Robert Langham- look under my profile for a link. Digital and large format photos over there. Many highpower rifle videos on the Blackfork6 Youtube Channel.

Events of 1836.

Sam Colt files for a patent on a revolver design. Texas bans the slave trade. The Beagle arrives in Australia. Betsy Ross dies. The match is invented. Cynthia Ann Parker is stolen by Comanches. 1836 was a happening year!

The New Orleans Greys Flag

New Orleans Greys Flag in the Natural History Museum in Mexico City.

On display in Mexico, but sometimes they admit they have it and sometimes they don't. This is the third or so time this has come up in my lifetime. The flag actually flew at the Alamo and they aren't going to give it back. We offered them THREE flags captured from the Mexican forces at San Jacinto. No deal.

Update: Idly wondering about the security at the National History Museum of Mexico.

Update II: i wonder if they would trade it for some BATFE agents and supervisors?

Monday, March 14, 2011

WW2 Knives.

World War II veteran knives. Left to right, a re-manufactured-in-the-theater blade with aircraft acrylic handle, a leatherwasher-handled Kinfolks USGI issue, two made-from scratch theater-mades.

Theater-made knives are probably from the Pacific, where many more knives were made than Europe. Produced by SeaBees and Navy for trade to the soldiers for Japanese trophies. Europe had many more trade items, the Pacific almost none before the armed forces arrived.

Clear acrylic was kind of a new and unusual material. The story usually is that all the glass is from Japanese Zero windshields. Could be any plane. Leather washer handles replaced because they would rot. Once that got started, the sky was the limit.

Fun to collect, carry and use. I've cut up and skinned deer with most of mine. Ebay is full of them.

Open Carry in Texas.

Let's Pack! If fire dept inspectors and every other LEO in civilian clothes can go armed to the terror of the public, why not citizens?

Here's the guy who filed a bill. He's George Lavendar and his district is the upper Northeast corner of Texas. I called him and got his cheerful staffer named Matt and chatted him up a bit. This bill won't go anywhere- it's a 27 page tome, but it does get the ball rolling.

Call him and give them a little encouragement! 512 463 0692.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Houston at Gonzalez

Susanna Dickinson and Joe leaving the Alamo. Most likely they left from downtown San Antonio after an interview with Santa Anna at his Headquarters. He gave Dickinson two Mexican dollars and a blanket.

Susanna Dickinson and her daughter, survivors of the Alamo. Over the years she told several different accounts of the siege and fighting.

Houston at Gonzalez. Deaf Smith brought in Susana Dickinson, her infant daughter and Travis slave Joe. Fannin is supposed to bring the garrison North to Gonzalez. More men are arriving. An army is building.

One of the facts about the Texas revolution isn't mentioned much these days: In the early parts of the war, most of the fighting was done by new arrivals, NOT established Texas colonists. The colonists sat it out while the newcomers, most of whom had just arrived in the state, fought and died. The Alamo Garrison was lead by newcomer Travis along with Crockett and his Tenneseans and many other fresh faces. Now that the Alamo had fallen the established folks were beginning to wake up. Santa Anna was going to drive ALL anglo setters from the region.

More Joe.

The Mexican General sent an army toward Bastrop. General Urrea and his cavalry had won at San Patricio, at an Ambush on Agua Dulce Creek and were sweeping up the coastal plains toward Goliad. Settlers were fleeing East to get away in what would later be called the Runaway Scrape.

The spring in 1836 was rainy and the Nueces, Colorado and Brazos were all on the rise.

Other survivors.

Santa Anna lingers in San Antonio. He does have a band-new bride- the beauty from La Villita. He also thinks the story of the Alamo will panic settlers into fleeing East. He's partly right. Other Texicans are filled with a grim determination.