posse survival - Graybeard Outdoors
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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i've been rereading a book i have about the early settlement of east Texas,
particularly the neches river area. parts of it reminded me of an old article
i'd read about the early Texas settlements farther west and the dealings with
the commanche indians. the story told of some settlers that had been killed and
their children taken and carried north toward what is now eastern new mexico
and the Texas and oklahoma panhandles. the part that interested me the most is
the descriptions of how the men that tried to rescue the kids were equipped and armed.
if i'm remembering right, only one man had a repeater, a patterson revolver, and
he only had like 10 or so percussion caps for it. the rest had single shot flint and
percussion rifles and smoothbores. one didn't have a firearm, but carried a butcher
knife in his belt, i'd guess similar to a modern old hickory butcher knife. some had
blankets, some didn't. one had "sacking" to wrap up in, i'm assuming it was like a
brown cotton tow sack or something. one had taken a ham out of his smokehouse to
eat on. some had cornmeal or parched corn. some had no food and had to depend on
the generosity of the others for food. some had gourds to carry water and some had
nothing. none of the old accounts i've read spoke of boiling water for sanitary reasons
and i'd assume they drank whatever they found that was wet. of course, they didn't
have to deal with the pollution and pathogens we have today.

my thought is what would i carry if i were needed to ride a posse back in the 1800's ?
for those who don't know, a horse or mule that you're riding shouldn't be loaded with
much more than your own self and a long gun, maybe a canteen and bed roll and a
small sack of food.
i think i'd have to (if i had the means to buy and own such) carry a long gun and a
wool blanket and canteen and a #2 can to cook in and a sack of jerky and some coffee
or tea. both a folding knife and a sheath knife. a lariat or a coil of rope also.

what would you carry? (keeping in mind that we are all relatively wealthy compared to
those folks of the day )

The United States doesn't have a gun control problem.
We have a people control problem.

Honor the Texas flag;I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas,
one state under God, one and indivisible.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 05:11 PM
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 12:16 PM
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I would imagine that those amateur posses only went out for 3 days or so. If they didn't catch the Indians or badmen within 3 days, they were never going to catch them, particularly the Comanches.

So, they only took enough stuff to last 3 to 4 days, and then if not successful, turned back.

A question perhaps more to the point may be: what did the early Texas Rangers carry when they went out on a long range patrol or went on a chase mission? My understanding is that they went out for long periods of time and almost never turned back.

There is probably some pretty good historical info as to what they carried.

I'm guessing, that each had:

1. A big Colt Dragoon or Patterson type revolver, and lots of ammo. Or prior to the invention of those revolvers, at least two or more military single shot pistols.

2. A Bowie or other big general purpose fighting knife.

3. A good percussion rifle or short musket that they were pretty darned expert with.

4. Coffee, beef jerky, hard tack or corn fritters, dried beans, smoke bacon or fat back, or salt pork. Plus salt, pepper, and some hard candy. Lots of wooden matches.

5. Among the troop, one frying pan, one coffee pot, and one kettle of some sort to hang over the fire. One bar of soap.

6. Two large one-gallon canteens each.

7. A good wool blanket, a rubberized piece of canvas to use as a ground sheet or poncho, and a heavy coat. Plus, some sort of a general purpose hand towel.

8. Ten to twenty pounds of grain for the horse.

9. A spare horseshoe or two, shoe nails, and blacksmith hammer. Plus heavy needles and thread to sew up horses and men.

10. A basic first aid kit, plus a quart or so of cheap liquor, for first aid purposes, water purification purposes, and a shot or two at night..

They would not have needed much more than that to stay out for 30 days.

The strong points of the Rangers over an amateur posse were that the Rangers were excellent horsemen and trackers, excellent outdoorsmen, and willing to attack and kill without mercy anybody they caught up with, no questions asked. Riding in a troop of 10 or 12 men, they were greatly feared by everyone.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatercat View Post
bandaids
no bandaids until about 1920

The United States doesn't have a gun control problem.
We have a people control problem.

Honor the Texas flag;I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas,
one state under God, one and indivisible.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mannyrock View Post

A question perhaps more to the point may be: what did the early Texas Rangers carry when they went out on a long range patrol or went on a chase mission? . . .

There is probably some pretty good historical info as to what they carried. . .

Mannyrock
there is quite a bit to read of the Ranger troops because a lot of it had to be documented.
the books i've read tell some pretty interesting stories of their missions and hardships.
the early ones didn't have too awful much in the way of gear other than more armament
and better mounts than the average civilians. the later ones toward the middle and latter
1800's had more like the gear list you posted. and they didn't quit. if you were in their
notebook or resembled someone listed you were going with them either sitting up or
tied across the saddle.

all that stuff is interesting to me because i've heard all the old stories from my relatives
about them going out on fishing trips and revival meetings and such in the old farm wagon full of quilts and
a sack of potatoes, and skillets and a coffee pot, etc.
then i think of the gear these folks "need" now to stay in a state park campsite overnight with a water spigot and an electrical plug in and i kind of laugh.

The United States doesn't have a gun control problem.
We have a people control problem.

Honor the Texas flag;I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas,
one state under God, one and indivisible.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 10:20 AM
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I once read about an old woodsman/trapper, who would go out in the woods for up to 2 weeks at a time, and all he carried for food was hard boiled eggs, plus a quart of gin.

Hard boiled eggs last up to 3 weeks without going bad. Plenty of protein, plenty of fat. Without carbs, he probably lost 5 pounds or so. The gin was for water purification, to mix with creek water.

On the other hand, if he ate six eggs per day, then for a two week stint he would have to carry 84 eggs! That had to weigh alot.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 02:02 PM
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Just a guess in my part, but I would imagine that most if the water you came across was drinkable, and that living off the land was easier than it would be today. No game laws to speak of, and just about anything you could shoot was edible. I don't believe those folks were squeamish about it like we are today, and they had skills we can only dream of.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 11:51 AM
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I think everyday life back in that time period is hard for us to really comprehend in this day and age.

What we would consider a "survival situation" was, to them, just another day. Some days worse than others, but still somewhat of a struggle to survive every day. I don't suppose it was all that unusual to go to bed hungry, even at home. So it probably made little difference to a lot of them if they were scrounging for food on the trail or at home.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 12:26 PM
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During the Civil War, the Union Troops in the field lived for weeks on end on salt pork and hard tack. The Confederate troops on far less. So far as I know, actual starvation was not a big problem.

I think that once you stop eating lots of food, your body metabolism shifts, and you start burning fewer calories. You are hungry, and you feel weak, but hundreds of thousand of years of evolution have molded us so that we can go through periods of near starvation without dying.

And, from the things I have read, after about two weeks of having little food, you stop being really hungry. Your stomach shrinks, your body conserves calories, and you lose your appetite.

I would also imagine that as little as two thousand years ago, and just 200 years ago for the Indians, it was very very common for people to go three or four days without eating, just like wolves and other big predators. When you killed something, you gorged on it, slept a few days, and then started hunting again.

In short, these people who were out on the plains in possees and tepees a couple hundred years ago just weren't suffering like we would today. They were use to it.

And, just 75 years ago, about 50% of all men in the U.S. were malnourished due to lack of food from the Great Depression. I read somewhere that when WWII started, about half the men drafted were in extremely poor physical condition due to lack of food, very poor shape.

My father lived in abject poverty during the depression, and he lived on one bowl of oatmeal and one bowl of navy beans throughout most of the 1930s. When he was 18 years old, he weight 85 pounds. About once a week, his mother would bring home a piece of three day old flank steak from the butcher, put it on the wooden floor boards, pound it for five minutes with the back of a claw hammer, and cook it up in a "stew" with just flour added in. Those foods, plus the bags of potato peelings he would scrape out of the garbage cans behind the restaurants in downtown Richmond, kept them alive.

When he was about 16, he and his little sister got in a fight over who would get to eat the last egg she was scrambling, and she stabbed him in the stomach with a two-pronged meat fork. Luckily, it didn't penetrate his gut sack or he would have died of peritonitis. He is 91 now, and will show anyone who asks his scar.

So, compared to people who lived through the Great Depression, most of those posse guys probably ate pretty good.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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" Hays Rangers have come, their appearance never to be forgotten. Not in any sort of uniforms, but well mounted
and doubly well armed. Each man has one or two Colt's revolvers besides ordinary pistols. A sword and each man
his rifle. The mexicans are terribly afraid of them."
General Ethan Allan Hitchcock

The United States doesn't have a gun control problem.
We have a people control problem.

Honor the Texas flag;I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas,
one state under God, one and indivisible.
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