Before the Civil War, Captain R. E. Lec and Lieutenants U. S. Grant, G. B. Mc-Clellan, P. T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis and Phil Sheridan were novitiates. The Mississippi Valley, Texas, Old Mexico and the Far West were proving grounds for these young men and hundreds more.
In their time arose the First U. S. Dragoons "crack regiment of the army" (now First Cavalry-Tanks with 68 battle honors, the Service top). Also serving then, were equally valiant mounted regiments of "Rifles" (later, Third Cavalry), Texas Rangers, Doniphan's Missourians, Davis' Mississippians.
As the grand prelude to an epochal crisis which often obscures it, the period 1833-1861 shows a young and vibrant people at full stride in building a nation: politics, privation, inventiveness, hot passion, faith, heroism.
These strides by army, pioneer volunteer, inventor, factory, goldniiner, immigrant and settler plus the weapons made or used, are described in FRONTIER STEEL, The Men and Their Weapons, by W. E. Rosebush. It is a vigorous, exciting, educational and informative recital of Mid-America in a critical time of our history. See the review in March issue of ARMY, page 73. You and your boy may read assured it is fact with references—380 pages, illustrated, maps, Notes, Appendixes, Bibliography and extensive Index.
Published for Eastern Washington State Historical Society, Spokane, the book is of permanent value for libraries, museums, historical societies, military people, pioneer descendants, schools and gun collectors. At your Bookstand or Antique Gun Store, $6.25, or postpaid from C. C. NELSON PUBLISHING CO. Box 229, Appleton, Wisconsin.
100 clay? each, fiie traps. 18 yards rise, both barrels, English rules. Winner of each match to receive 8300, and $100 extra to each man who breaks as many as 82 clays.'" Not even Carver could pass this by; his acceptance was prompt. Bogardus also accepted. It was agreed that the match just finished should count as the first of the series.
BlufT old Captain Bogardus had exhibited a trait at Louisville which was to endure until the shoot was finished. Sometimes before shooting, sometimes after, his excuses were ready-made. He had said at Louisville, before the match, "i may not shoot so well today. My 7 year old son, Peter. ?hot me through the finger last year when we were with Cole's Circus, and it bothers me.'' The alibis became a part of the story. Wherever shooters meet in competition today, they still are!
The matches continued. The scores were consistent: at St. Louis, Carver 85. Bogardus 69; at Cincinnati, Carver 89, Bogardus 74; at Kansas City, Carver 91, Bogardus 69.
At Kansas City, Bogardus said: "1 attribute my bad shooting today to a sore face and a light gun. I'm accustomed to a gun weighing 10 pounds."
At St. Joseph, Carver scored 92. Bogardus 63. Prior to the match. Bogardus said. "Don't expect a large score from me today. I was very ill last night." A reporter asked Carver how he felt and he replied. ''Awful! I've got a cold; but who hasn't?"
At Omaha, Carver scored 94, Bogardus 90. The captain told a questioner, "\es, clay pigeons are harder to shoot than live birds. At clipped Blue Rocks, I could show you something!"
At Des Moines, where the captain made the great score of 97 to Carver's 100, he felt the loss quite keenly, "I am using a Scott gun," he said sadly. "The Scott is inferior to the Greener, which the Doctor uses."
The reporters had caught on. and they baited him for his explanations. At Columbus he came out limping. Here. Carver made his rock-bottom score, shooting a 76 to Bogardus' 93. A reporter asked Bogardus, "How is your hip now. Captain?". The old man replied, ''Much belter. It limbered up during llie match." The newsman turned to Carver. "'To what do you attribute your bad shooting today. Doctor?" Carver looked at him and grinned. "Young man, I attribute it to me!"
The matches ended at Boston, April 15. Carver had won 19. lost 3, and tied 3. In this series, Caner made 2 possibles and 4-99's; and in only 5 out of 25 matches had he shot under 90. Bogardus. the loser, had shot under 90 in only 9 out of 25. Carver had profited by $8,000; Bogardus by $2,700.
Carver had to limit his shooting to intervals between his main business, which was Wild West shows. In January, 1885, he introduced endurance shooting with the rifle at New Haven, Connecticut, shooting 60.000 flying targets in 6 clays. From there he went south to shoot bats: 1.000 each at New Orleans, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio. Again, in December. 1888. he shot another six-day endurance contest at Minneapolis, using six .38 caliber Winchester rifles, hitting 60,000 lossed wooden blocks of a total of 60.674.
On March 16, 1889, he shot his famous 100-bird match against A1 Bandle at Cincinnati. He won it by one bird, 91 to 90. From Cincinnati, he went to Des Moines and shot the same type match against Charles Budd, winning it 89-85. The June following, he took his Wild West show to Australia via Europe and Russia. At Sydney he was welcomed by the Irapshooters and given an honorary membership in the New South Wales Gun Club. He responded to this kindness characteristically, as follows:
At the Club grounds on Oct. 9. 1891, he grassed 57 birds in succession from the 32 yard mark. On the 13th following, he shot a 3-way match with Slocombe, the champion, and Knight, his clo^e second, winning by a score of 97-86-84. In this match, Carver slatted off with a consecutive run of 76 birds.
'It's the same kid we used to see with a cane pole, bent pin hooks, and a string o' fish."
a thing then unknown in shooting annals. ISext, at Brighton Beach, lie set another record for Australia—98 birds out ol 100.
Returning to America, he issued another challenge to the world. He had given away his Greener, and now used a Caslunore gun. In July, 1894. he won two out of three matches with W. R. Crosby of Illinois, and also with J. A. R. Elliott of Kansas City. In the first match, the scores were 93-95. 95-89, 95-92; in the second. 95-96, 94-92. 95-94. The second match was hailed as of championship calibre, and attracted shooters from the four winds. He shot several smaller matches, winning them; and on Nov. 20th. at Evans-ton. Illinois, defeated the crack shot of the stale. J. D. Smith, 82-77. This match took place in a gale of wind. He then shot a non-title- match with George Kleinman. the American Live Bird Champion, winning it 91-87.
While this was transpiring, his famous letter to the Chicago Field had appeared in print. In it, he said in part: "For fourteen years T have been champion of the world. . . Everywhere I go there are shooting terriers snapping at my heels; but when I turn around they are gone. . . Now this championship matter must be settled forever. . I am coming to Chicago under the black llag... I mean to shoot against the five leading contenders, one at a time or all together... 1 mean Brewer, Fulford. Budd. Grimm, and Elliot." He went to Chicago, bul he should have gone incognito; his warning had driven the quarry into their holes.
lie had instead to content himself with a match against ihe ten members of the Washington Park Club. He shot at 100 birds, and each of the members at 10. the score being Carver 92, Club 72. After arranging for a championship match with Kleinman, he shot three 100 pigeon matches with Thomas Marshall of Keilhsburg, Illinois. The first was at Oskaloosa. Iowa, on Dec. 28. Carver won it, 92-90. The second on Jan. 10. 1895. was at Kewanee. III.: he won that one 75-73. The third match was shot at Hot Springs. Arkansas, on Feb. 14, and Carver won that one also, 95-90.
Next, he signed for three matches with II. D. Swartz. of Scranlon. The first took place at Wilkes-Barre on April 25; he won the match by 35 birds and stopped shooting
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