Monday, August 2, 2010

Calvary vs. Cavalry... would think someone claiming to be an expert in firearms, among other things, would know the difference betwixt the two. Then again, you would be wrong if you though so about the expert I just saw on the show Pawn Stars. While examining a Civil War era carbine, unless my ears are a lot worse than I thought, he repeatedly said it was used by the "Calvary". I would have sworn, that at Calvary (in its most notable historical sense) the weapons of the day were swords, spears and the nails used during the Crucifixion of Christ.

Even the folks who contribute to Wikipedia know the difference. If you search for Calvary on Wikipedia you get to the page at this link:

If you look, you will see, the very first sentence, before they even begin to talk about Calvary, is this:

"Not to be confused with cavalry (horse or armoured troops)."

If you want to read about horse mounted soldiers, or Cavalry, go here:

I would not normally dedicate a blog rant to such a thing but being I was blogging about Wild Bill Hickok and other shootists of his time, while I heard the expert say this, it just got to me. It got deep down inside since when I was a kid, who was adoring of the heroes in the previous post, I was often admonished for getting these two words confused and sometimes admonished hard. That was either when I talked about the Cavalry in the Old West or when we went to visit Calvary Cemetery and I just got em mixed up over and over again until I was well into my teens. So, hearing this so called expert get it wrong just ate away at the pit of my gut like a nasty cemetery worm and I just had to spit it out and let the steeds trample it.

All the best,
Glenn B

Today In History - Aces & Eights (all black)...

...were the last hand ever dealt to James Butler Hickok (a hand later to become known as "Dead Man's Hand'). On August 2, 1876, he was shot in the back of the head, while holding that hand in a game at Nuttal & Mann's Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, Dakota Territories. Jack McCall had come into the saloon from behind Hickok (who was quite unusually sitting with his back to the door) walked up to him, drew a pistol and said "Take that" while firing into the back of Hickok's head.

While he died at the hands of a coward and paid assassin (it was later brought out in McCall's second murder trial that he had been paid by other gamblers to kill Hickok) it was Hickok's shootout, on July 21, 1865, with Davis Tutt that made him famous. It is also one of the few such gunfights, and was the very first recorded gunfight, in the old west where two assailants faced off against one another and drew from the holster as is typically seen in movies. It most assuredly was not the usual method of gunfighting in that day; the shot fired by McCall that killed Hickok was ore the norm.

During his short life, he died at 39, he was a hunter, frontiersman, shootist, army scout, army wagon master, possible northern spy against the south, womanizer, gambler and lawman. Of all the legends of the Old West, Wild Bill was one of my favorites, if not the favorite, when I was a youngster. He was truly a man among some of my favorite men such a Buffalo Bill Cody, George A. Custer, Daniel Boone, and Calamity Jane (Yep, I know she was a she but have you ever seen her in pictures? Hickok reportedly had little to no use for her, maybe because she looked like a man and bragged and lied like one too. As a prank, his friends buried her next to him and this is well recorded. It was also reported to be one of Calamity Jane's last wishes. I guess both could be true.)

For more about Wild Bill Hickok, visit the sites at these links:

All the best,
Glenn B