Report Of action of Company A at Carthage Mo.
On the instance April 12th & 14th members of the Fifth Missouri Inf formed with the 1st Missouri Battalion and near the city of Carthage MO. Present were Capt L Dietzel, 2nd Sgt C Crane, Pvt M Couthron, Pvt Lorin Rouch, Pvt Rec J Jones. All the men of the Fifth MO who were ready for duty were reported in and the camp was set up by the late hours of the 12th. A thick fog had settled in giving the 1st Missouri Battalion camp a warm glow from the campfires. After a good night’s sleep reveley was sounded at 7am on the 13th. Sgt Crane and Pvt J Jones were detailed as forages and proceeded to town to acquire rations for the next two days. The days drill and camp activities were commenced after morning parade. The day was spent drilling, stationed on guard duty and reviewing commands. As the late afternoon approached the rattle of thunder and heavy rain began to fall. The men of the Battalion were fed by the property owner at a cost of $6, ‘nuff said on that. After the meal Col Prater and the group of horseman from the mounted cowboy action shooting association put on a show free of charge. The rain had stopped and the sky began to clear by early evening. Colonel Prater called for a officers and NCO meeting at 9pm to which myself and Sgt Crane attended. The details of the meeting will be described in the following article “Colonels Announcement“. The boys of the Fifth enjoyed the warmth of the fire and some good old laughs. The 14th was spent as the day before without much to note. The Colonel called the day at about noon and by one in the afternoon we were on the road back to our homes. This was a nice event for what it was “Drill”, it is always nice to get together with the Fifth MO.
COLONEL PRATER’S ANNOUNCEMNT
On the 13th of April Colonel Prater announced his intention to step down as colonel of the 1st Missouri Battalion effective at Prairie Grove event of this year. The Colonel stated the reason for his decision was for spending time with his 13 year old grandson and wife. The following prospects were noted Leutentant Colonel Doug Moody and Major Brad Amond were noted as possible replacements. Capt Brad Amond had been promoted to battalion staff replacing Major John Shears whom is stepping down this year. The Captains of the Battalion will have to vote on the prospect as soon as possible, to allow the new colonel to get the feel of the position prior to the end of the year. I’m asking the members of the Fifth to give me their recommendations of the position of Colonel of this Battalion. I have not heard of a set date of the vote at this time. I will keep you posted on this subject.
Report Of action of Company A at Arrowrock mo.
On the 4th and 5th of April the Fifth Missouri Inf formed in the town of Arrowrock MO. Present were Capt L Dietzel, 2nd Sgt Crane, Pvt Bowling, Pvt Cauthen, Pvt Johnson. The day was spent talking with a few visitors to the town. We were given a grand toured of several historic buildings including a fully equipped period gun smith shop. Due to the poor turnout of the event we were the only parties left on site by night fall on Saturday. The decision was made for the Fifth Mo to pull out Sunday morning due to it being early in the season for visitors to the park and the lack of members to complete any worth while drill. After talking with the park supertendent there is a possibility of the Fifth Missouri Inf having a Living history in July or August on site. If any one is interested in this possibility let me know so arrangements may be made.
Report Of action of Company A Boone County MO
On June 2nd Capt Dietzel, 2nd Sgt Crane, Cpl White preformed as honor guard for the Confederate Memorial day celebration held at the Boone County court house and for a SCV Monument placement to the Mount Zion Church battle site. The commander and sub commander of Sons of Confederate veterans for the state of Mo were present. If you do not know they both were members of the Fifth MO Gean Dressell and Neal Block.
Fifth Missouri web siteThe web site is now back up and running in full force. The site has many of the same features as the old but with some new additions and a new look. This site, I hope, will help the communication between the membership of the Fifth. Please take a look at it and let me know if there is any changes of additions that may make it work better for us. The Password for the members area is still the same, if you do not know it email me an I will send it out to you. Please check the site from time to time due to new information being added that may not make the Messenger. Thanks, Dietzel
CLEANING THE CIVIL WAR MUSKET PART II
Last time I covered some reasons as to why we should spend time and effort to clean our muskets. This month I will cover some methods that I use. The way I do it is by no means the only way and if you use different methods and they work then that is what is important.
I will discuss basically two methods: 1. Field Cleaning, 2. Cleaning at Home. I will also discuss some of the equipment I use.
1. Field Cleaning - This is the method I use to clean my musket when at an event where, especially at a campaign style event, I cannot carry a lot of cleaning gear. I have a small leather bag that goes in my knapsack in which I carry a screwdriver, a nipple wrench, a brass jag that is threaded to fit the rammer of my musket, a patch pulling worm in case I loose a patch in the bore, about 25 2 inch square cotton cleaning patches (enough for the average 2 day event) and a small bottle or spray bottle of oil, 2 or 3 pipe cleaners, a very small drill bit to clean carbon from the flash channel between the nipple and the breech of the barrel, and a small brass funnel. I also carry a clean bandana or bit of rag to wipe dew etc., from the surface of the musket if necessary.
To clean the musket I fill my tin cup with water and if possible heat it. Cold water will work if hot cannot be obtained. The hot water merely heats the barrel and helps evaporate any moisture that isn't wiped from the bore. Then, after ensuring that the musket isn't loaded and any spent cap is removed from the nipple I fold a cleaning patch in half and then in half again. I raise the hammer enough to place the patch over the nipple and lower the hammer on it. Draw the rammer and screw the brass cleaning jag on to it. I am a big advocate of the brass jag to clean with. I know that some muskets particularly the Enfield have a slot in the rammer that a patch can be inserted through. This will work but will not do near as good a job as a jag that is of the correct caliber for the musket. The jag will hold the patch against the bore and wipe it much more effectively. Jags are available from several sources such as Dixie Gun Works and Track of the Wolf for around three dollars, a good investment. Next pour enough water into the bore to fill it about 1/3 to 1/2 full, I use my small funnel here but it isn't absolutely necessary. You will note that the patch under the hammer keeps water from running out through the nipple. Place the palm of your hand over the muzzle and then shake or turn your musket to slosh the water up and down the bore for 8 or 10 seconds. Empty the water out and repeat until the water is coming out clean. Depending on how fouled the musket is it may take several times. Then hold the musket muzzle up, center a clean dry patch over the muzzle and push the jag down the bore. The patch will be held against the side of the bore by the jag. I push the patch to the breech then turn it to wipe the face of the breech ( note: be careful when you turn the rammer not to turn it in the direction that will unscrew the jag from the rod). Repeat this process until the patches come out dry and reasonably clean. Usually takes me three to six patches.
Take a clean patch that you have oiled and run it down the bore again twisting at the breech to wipe and oil the breech face. Next bring the musket to full cock remove the patch and take out the nipple or as it was called during the civil war, the cone. I wipe off the cap flash from the barrel and cone lug area with the patch or my rag and also the cone (nipple). I then take my drill bit and run it into the flash channel between the cone seat and the breech to remove any carbon build up. I have worked on muskets in which the flash channel was almost completely blocked by carbon deposits so hard that I had to actually chuck my bit into a drill and drill it out. Also clean carbon from the nipple with a nipple pick or the drill bit. Blow through the nipple to clear moisture and the make sure it is clear. Finally run a pipe cleaner through the flash channel to dry it and wipe any remaining residue and replace the cone,
wipe the face of the hammer and you are done. Since I carry a Springfield I may also lightly oil the bright metal surfaces to prevent any surface rust from forming over night. Of course if you have a separate cleaning rod that is threaded to take the jag and you can reasonably bring it to the event then you can use it instead of your rammer to wipe the bore. You will note that I did not remove the barrel or lock from the stock. If the musket was carried in the rain or dropped in water then the barrel and lock should be removed and the metal and wood thoroughly dried. This is where you will need a screwdriver.
Cleaning at Home - To thoroughly clean the musket when I get home I use a similar method in that hot water is the main ingredient. First remove the barrel from the stock. To do this first remove the rammer then bring the lock to full cock and remove the cone (nipple). Next take your screwdriver and turn out the screw that holds the tang to the stock. Finally remove the barrel bands and turn the musket horizontal and barrel down on a soft surface. Raise the butt and gently bump with your hand if necessary until the barrel drops out. If you grasp the barrel by the muzzle and try to pry it out and it sticks at the breech will may break a piece out of the stock. Then remove the lock screws on the off side of the stock and remove the lock carefully from its mortise. Then I fill a bucket with enough hot water that when I stand the barrel in it muzzle up the the cone lug area of the breech is covered by at least a couple of inches of water. I also have handy a cup filled with hot water. Stand the barrel in the water and pour the cup of water down the barrel. Pull the barrel up enough that the water will run out the lug into the bucket. Yep it's really cruddy! Now stand the barrel back in the bucket take your cleaning rod that again has a proper caliber brass jag on it and center a patch over the muzzle and push the patch down the barrel. If the barrel is really badly fouled DO NOT try to force the jag and patch all the way to the breech in one push because if you do you will likely end up with the rod stuck in the barrel. Perhaps it will be stuck tight enough that you will need to clamp the end of the rod in a vise and pull the barrel off the rod. The reason for the cup of water down the barrel first is to soften the fouling and ease this problem but it is best to push the rod down in increments you will be able to feel when it is starting to stick, then back up and push down a little more until you reach the breech. Now pump the rod with the patch and jag up and down the bore. You will feel it actually sucking water into the breech and then when you push the rod down the water will be expelled from the breech with considerable force. Keep pumping until you have drawn a column of water all the way to the muzzle. By the way this is best done in the garage or outside as you can have water squirt out the muzzle. Likely your wife won't be happy with a bunch of grimy black rotten egg smelling water sprayed all over the kitchen or wherever. I go out on the deck. Now remove the rod from the bore and hold the barrel out of the water enough that whatever water is in the bore will drain out. I actually put my lips over the muzzle and blow the water out. Now dump the grimy water and refill the bucket and repeat. Likely the water will be reasonably clean this time if not repeat until it is. Use a clean patch each time you change the water. After the water is coming out clean remove the barrel drain any water (blow through), wipe any water from outside of barrel with a rag and run 2 or 3 clean dry patches through the bore to remove residue and somewhat dry the bore. At this point I usually run a patch soaked with my homemade bore solvent through the bore and then follow with clean dry patches until they come out clean and dry and then make several passes up and down the bore with a clean oily patch. Next I thoroughly clean the carbon from the barrel lug around the cone seat.
and the nipple itself. I recommend using a small brass or copper brush such as plumbers use to clean copper pipe before silver soldering joints or you can cheat as I do. I have a bench grinder with a fine wire wheel on one side a quick touch of the cone and barrel lug and they are clean. This is OK with my bright finished Springfield but will remove some bluing around the cone seat on an Enfield so you may prefer to carefully use a small brush. Then use the drill bit and pipe cleaner to clean and dry out the flash channel in the barrel lug.
When cone is clean I replace back in the barrel lug. Be careful not to cross thread. Now again using the brush and a solvent soaked patch clean all traces of carbon from the nose of the hammer. I now hold the lock in my hand with internals up and spray thoroughly with WD-40 and wipe off excess with a clean dry rag. This gets any grit or moisture out of the lock and lubricates at the same time. At this time you might want to check all lock screws including the hammer screw to make sure they haven't worked loose. They just have to be snug, don’t over tighten. You might actually impair the free functioning of the lock if you make them too tight. Now reassemble the musket in reverse order of disassembly. After the musket is assembled I thoroughly wipe off the entire musket to remove any dirt or other residue and finger prints from the barrel, stock and furniture. If there is any dirt etc., you might have to use a damp clean cloth to completely remove it. I then take a clean dry patch and fold in half and then in half again and place over the cone and lower the hammer on it. This will serve to keep any excess oil from running out the cone if you store your musket standing muzzle up. If the musket is going to be put away for a while I will examine it at least every two weeks for any signs of surface rust and will run a clean dry patch down the bore to wipe it out followed by several passes with a clean oily patch. This method has kept my muzzle loading muskets and rifles in fine shape for many years. Before I close a quick word about oils. Currently it is recognized that any lubricant that has a petroleum base will make black powder fouling more caked and hard. For many years I heard black powder shooters complain about this phenomena and many blamed the black powder being made today as not being as good as that available in the 18th and 19th centuries. I never had this trouble so didn't understand the problem. I was a purist and used only natural products such as beeswax and tallow for lubes and non petroleum based oils as was used originally. Now both muzzleloaders and black powder cartridge shooters recognize this fact. There are a number of no petroleum based lubes on the market such as T/C Bore Butter, Ox-Yoke Wonder Lube 1000, and oils like Ballistol. I use them. However since as a reenactor you don't fire live rounds I'm not sure this is as important. I just pass this on for information. If you have a favorite gun oil use it! Also I believe it is a good idea to have a good cleaning rod that has a good handle and is 3 or 4 inches longer than the barrel of your musket. This will make it much easier to remove a cranky stuck rod. They are available from several sources I will be glad to give specifics if you contact me and also my formula for homemade black powder bore solvent that works and costs probably no more than 25 cents for a 17 fl oz bottle.
See Ya at the next Event!!
Fifth Missouri web site
The web site is now back up and running in full force. The site has many of the same features as the old but with some new additions and a new look. This site, I hope, will help the communication between the membership of the Fifth. Please take a look at it and let me know if there is any changes of additions that may make it work better for us. The Password for the members area is still the same, if you do not know it email me an I will send it out to you. Thanks, Dietzel
Note from the Editor and captain
Members of the Fifth Mo my sincere apologies to you all. I have not been timely to say the least on getting this news letter out to you all. I will make a consorted effort to make the deadline on one issue each month. Also I was unable to make the Shoal Creek MO event due to being under the weather, I’m better now! I hope this issue will make it out to you before this Friday to inform you all of the event. Regards L Dietzel