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(Wikipedia)   This day in history. July 11, 1804: "Oh Burr, Oh Burr, what hast thou done? Thou hast shooted dead great Hamilton. You hid amongst a patch of thistle, and shooted him dead with your great hoss pistol"   ( divider line
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4514 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Jul 2012 at 3:02 PM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-07-11 10:15:08 PM

what a hoss pistol may look like
2012-07-12 12:15:57 AM  
Back then the bullet velocity was much slower, the body didn't tend to go into shock as readily as the high powered weapons of today. I've read several accounts of duels in the West where the opponents each put four or five slugs in each other, paused to reload, then continued... Damn.

As to the Burr/Hamilton duel - I would have sworn there was a Smithsonian article several years ago in regard to their finding Hamilton's pistol rigged; but iirc their account of the duel was slightly different.

Apparently after the ten paces and turning, it was quite common for one of the duelists to deliberately point the gun towards the ground/air - obviously not aiming at the opponent and discharging their weapon. It was considered a gentlemanly response - you'd attended in defense of your honor, and were relying on your opponent to do the same. Where the difference in the two camps/news articles afterwards were:

Hamilton's camp said this was what he'd done, and Burr shot him in cold blood.
Burr's camp said Hamilton turned and fired, but the rigged gun went off before he'd gotten it leveled at Burr. At that point Burr realized Hamilton had cheated, and shot his ass.

/I tend to believe the latter is probably closer to the truth.
2012-07-12 02:44:43 PM  
Just had dinner at his old place in the West Village back in February.
2012-07-13 12:50:31 AM  
I would like to point out that the main impetus behind Burr's challenge was Hamilton accusing Burr of sleeping with his own daughter. I could see calling a duel on that. Not that funny of a joke.
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