Great Pop-gun practice.--Toby
is a high private in the First Regiment of the Mississippi army.
His company is armed with the breech-loading Maynard
rifle, “warranted to shoot twelve times a minute, and carry a ball effectually 1,600 yards.”
Men who fought at Monterey
and Buena Vista
call the new-fangled thing a “pop-gun.”
To test its efficacy, Toby
's Captain told the men they must “try their guns.”
In obedience to command, Toby
procured the necessary munitions of war, and started with his “pop-gun” for the woods.
Saw a squirrel up a very high tree — took aim — fired.
Effects of shot immediate and wonderful.
Tree effectually stripped, and nothing of the squirrel to be found, except three broken hairs.
Pop-gun rose in value — equal to a four-pounder.
wouldn't shoot toward any more trees — afraid of being arrested for cutting down other people's timber.
Walked a mile and a quarter to get sight of a hill.
By aid of a small telescope, saw hill in distance; saw large rock on hill; put in big load; shut both eyes — fired.
As soon as breath returned, opened both eyes; could see, just could, but couldn't hear — at least, couldn't distinguish any sounds; thought Niagara
had broke loose, or all outdoors gone to drum-beating.
Determined to see if shot hit. Borrowed horse, and started toward hill.
After travelling two days and nights, reached place; saw setting sun shining through hill.
Knew right away that was where his shot hit. Went closer — stumbled over rocky fragments scattered for a half mile in line of bullet.
Come to hole — knew the bullet hit there, because saw lead on the edges; walked in, and walked through; saw teamster on the other side, “indulging in profane language” --in fact, “cussina considerable,” because lightning had killed his team.
Looked as finger directed — saw six dead oxen in line with hole through mountain; knew that was the bullet's work, but didn't say so to angry teamster.
Thought best to be leaving; in consequence, didn't explore path of bullet any further; therefore, don't know where it stopped; don't know whether it stopped at all; in fact, rather think it didn't. Mounted horse; rode back through the hole made by the bullet, but never told Captain
a word about it; to tell the truth, was rather afraid he'd think it a hoax.
“It's a right big story, boys,” said Toby
, in conclusion; “but it's true, sure as shooting.
Nothing to do with Maynard
rifle but load her up, turn her North
, and pull trigger.
If twenty of them don't clean out all Yankeedom, then I'm a liar, that's all.” --The Intelligencer
, (Oxford, Mississippi