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The 73rd O.V.I. Monthly NewsLetter

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The Chillicothe Guard

Newsletter of the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Issue 1 July 21, 2002

Editor - Cpl. Brandon Hinds




Drill Tips

Musket Field Cleaning


Field cleaning is the cleaning that should be done after each battle or drill in which powder is expended. When field cleaning, there are certain steps that should be followed:

1. Remove the nipple. By removing the nipple, a larger opening is available to push the dirty water, i.e., the      powder, out. Leaving the nipple in can result in a build-up of a residue under it. Put the removed nipple in a safe place.

2. Pour boiling water down the bore. Hot water cleans better, but what is more important, it evaporates, not allowing time for rusting to occur. Furthermore, no moisture will remain inside the barrel that can deaden the powder.

3. Push patches down the barrel. There are two preferred “tools” that are used for pushing patches down the bore. One is using a cleaning rod and the other is using the ramrod. The size and thickness of the patches that you use are determined by which tool you use. For example, a rod and .54 cal. jag (the little brass piece on the end) works very well with the 0.01" thick patches. For this setup, the patch doesn’t fall off the jag and doesn’t get stuck. Using a ramrod, however, is a different situation. The ramrod has a jag on the end of it and has a rectangular hole cut through it. The jag is much too small to use 0.01” thick patches. If attempted, the patch is going to stay in the bore. Furthermore, the ramrod gets stuck if the corner of a 0.01” thick patch is pushed through the opening. Thinner, smaller-sized patches are required. If this is the method you use, push one corner of the patch through the loop and fold the rest back over the head of the jag. This will allow you to clean the breech (the bottom of the bore) effectively. Whichever method used, run patches until they emerge from the bore clean, making sure to go all the way down. Twist the rod around a couple of time with the patch resting in the breech to ensure a thorough cleaning. A scraper or worm can be used as well for scraping the residue out of the breech. The musket is not clean until the last patch comes out clean.

4. Clean the area where the nipple is inserted and the hole leading into the breech. This is the single step most overlooked by inexperienced gun cleaners. Upon removing a nipple from a brand-new, never-fired musket, a hole leading into the breech is visible. This hole is commonly referred to as the “touch hole.” This is the hole that allows the explosion of the cap to ignite the powder charge. This hole must be 100% clear. A partial or complete blockage can result in misfires and/or fractured caps that can injure the user or those around him even if the nipple itself is O.K. To clean this hole out, use a stiff piece of wire (not a drill). Also, scrape all of the powder residue out of the threaded opening until the metal at the bottom of the opening is exposed.

5. Clean and return the nipple. Again, this is best done by using a nipple pick or stiff wire. Many people have suggested that using a drill one size larger than the clogged hole works well, but this should be done with extreme caution. Any time that a firearm is modified, which is done by enlarging the size of the hole by one drill size, serious problems can be introduced. Guns were designed a specific way for a reason. Soaking the clogged nipple in hot, soapy water or, even better, hydrogen peroxide, loosens the powder. When reinserting the clean nipple, tighten it down with a nipple wrench. Be prepared to periodically replace the nipple with a new one.

6. Run one oiled patch, followed by one dry patch. When oiling the bore, it should be a light oil, and not much of it at that. Since the musket is in almost constant use during an event, there is little or no time for rust to build up inside the barrel. If too much oil is used, it will not be burned off when capping off and may deaden the powder.

Interesting Tidbits

In September, 1861, a group of young men at Chillicothe, Ohio, discussed the possibility of raising a new regiment of volunteers, under the first call of the President for three hundred thousand men. After due consideration, they determined to make the attempt, and invited Captain Orland Smith, of the "Chillicothe Grays," to accept the colonecy, and Jacob Hyer, Esq., of Greenfield, the lieutenant-colonecy of the regiment. These gentlemen accepted the positions tendered them, and at once gave themselves to the work of recruiting and organization. A number of conditional commissions were issued by the Governor, and, by the middle of October, the work of recruiting was fairly begun. The new regiment was to be called the Seventy-third Ohio, and was ordered to rendezvous at "Camp Logan," near Chillicothe. Recruiting stations were established in Ross, Highland, Pickaway, Jackson, Pike, Athens and Washington counties; and company encampments were opened at Hallsville, Clarksburg and Massieville, in Ross county. At this period in the history of the war recruiting was very difficult. The first outburst of the people's patriotic indignation had somewhat subsided. The disaster at Bull Run had cast a deep gloom over the country. It was, indeed, a period of darkness and discouragement. More than twice "sixth days" had passed, and the rebellion, instead of being crushed, was growing stronger every day. Our people were not yet aware of the magnitude of the work they had undertaken, in the war for the integrity of the republic; and the sympathy of England and France with those who were trying to break up our government, and the encouragement given the insurgents by a very large party in the Northern States gave prestige to the pretended Confederacy, and, to many minds, insured the ultimate success of treason and secession.

The first reverses of the war had taught us something of the spirit and purpose of our enemies; and the loyal nation paused, in grief, to weigh the value of the country and of right sat umpire, and fixed in the hearts of all true men the desire ~~ the hope ~~ the determination that prompted the men who now gave themselves to the country: exchanging the pursuits and associations of peaceful life for the dangers, hardships and privations of the field.

On the 12th day of November, the first company "A" was organized; and, on the 16th, came into camp with a full one hundred men. November 20th, companies "B" and "F" were organized; and company "G" on the 13th of December. In the meantime a number of parts of companies were brought into camp by the recruiting officers, and all were being drilled in the school of the soldier, the company and the battalion.

On the 30th of December, a consolidation of these detachments was arranged, by which the formation of ten minimum companies was complete, and the regiment organized, and mustered into the service of the United States. The work of drilling and of preparing an outfit for the regiment went steadily forward, and, by the time it was ordered to the field, the discipline, drill, and apparent efficiency of the regiment were alike creditable to the officers and the men.


Upcoming Events and added News

It is with great pleasure that I announce the engagement of Private Anthony Ingersol and his fiance Rebecca Rolfe. Will keep everyone posted as to the wedding date.

??? August --- Mount Vernon ???

September 13,14,15 --- 140th Antietam, MD

October 4,5,6 --- 140th Perryville, KY

November --- Guyandotte, WV

Also, don’t forget registration for Antietam needs to be in by August 4th.

If anyone has any other event ideas let Capt. Tony Lightle or myself know.

Ok lads, I did some checking and looked on the website for Mount Vernon and this year is the Civil War encampment and it is going to be held on August the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th.  So gentlemen, if you want to go, I know I will be there and hope to see you there as well.
Cpl. Brandon Hinds
73rd OVI