Author Topic: Ulzana's Raid - Scout Dress  (Read 22754 times)

Offline Pitspitr

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Re: Ulzana's Raid - Scout Dress
« Reply #60 on: November 06, 2014, 05:07:34 AM »

Cody's coat today

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IMO The condition of Cody's coat coupled with the fact that he's know to have loaned it to other scouts for photo's, confirms that it was not his everyday go to work coat.
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Offline ChuckBurrows

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Re: Ulzana's Raid - Scout Dress
« Reply #61 on: November 06, 2014, 11:24:46 AM »
thanks for the images - first time I've seen the backside. There's one here in Durango in the shorter "scout" style similarly decorated. The bead work looks maybe Arikara.

The gents in that first group image are: E. Green, Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody, Texas Jack Omohundro and E. Overton - this was a theatrical production in the 1870's.
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Offline Bruce W Sims

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Re: Ulzana's Raid - Scout Dress
« Reply #62 on: November 06, 2014, 12:10:36 PM »
Thanks, Chuck:

I've been also finding quite a bit of confusion about the knives that the scouts are carrying.

References to knives carried by Native Americans always seems to characterize them as "trade goods" or
"butcher knives" which are pretty non-specific descriptions. OTOH, the knives attributed to "Mountain Men"
and on display seem to be more of the Bowie Knife architecture. This wouldn't unsettle me so much
except that judging from the outline of the sheathes in the photographes it seems that the
common-carry was something more along the lines of what we might call a simple Survival Knife albeit
with a heavier and longer (7 inch?) blade. I tried going out to various knife-makers in MUZZLELOADER
magazine but they tend to focus more on the scouting and hunting culture of the Eastern half. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce
Best Wishes,

Bruce

Offline St. George

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Re: Ulzana's Raid - Scout Dress
« Reply #63 on: November 06, 2014, 01:08:59 PM »
You 'do' know that this topic's been discussed many times on the 'Cutting Edge', 'Historical Society' and 'NCOWS' forums, don't you?

Sources are even cited.

Men carried what was obtainable, and the most common knife of the Old West was a skinner - a 'Green River' type - because they were ubiquitous - sold in the towns, and by sutlers, and traders and because they 'worked'.

When one looks at original knives associated with Indians - and Scouts were associated with them - what's seen are the variations of utility blades sold throughout the West and handled with whatever the owner liked - often rawhide-wrapped and tack-decorated.

Surviving knives have often been sharpened to within an inch of their lives, because they were sharpened with rocks, but as long as what was left of the blade held an edge that could cut - it could still be used, so it wasn't discarded.

Scouts Out!
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Offline ChuckBurrows

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Re: Ulzana's Raid - Scout Dress
« Reply #64 on: November 06, 2014, 03:16:08 PM »
as St George noted it's been discussed in detail. The most common knives used by Indians, Mountain Men, and Scouts up through the 1870's were of two basic trade knife types:
1) pre-1850 there was the scalper made mostly by English Sheffield makers such as John Wilson here's an example of an 1820's era scalper - this is from the Museum of the Fur Trades "Fur Trade Cutlery Sketch Book"
http://www.furtrade.org/store/books?product_id=126 - IMO a must have for anyone interested in historic knves:

These typically had half tangs and thin blades in the 6-8" range

The other style that became the most popular after 1830 (albeit they began being made in the 1770's) was the so-called butcher with the most common blade lengths being 7-10" length and again the blades were thin by modern standards usually no more than 1/8 thick. Thousands were imported from England by again such makers as Wilson, but by the 1840's the Green River knives made by Russell in the USA were making a large dent in the market. Butcher's were made with either half or full tangs with the fill tangs becoming more popular by the 1850's. On the later full tang knives 5 iron pins were used to attach the slabs to the tang. The three cutler rivets as still seen on these knives are post 1880.
Here's a link to a vintage 10" Green River with a five pin handle
http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/4/2/5/1/6/9/webimg/605653845_tp.jpg


While other knives such as Bowies, Spanish Belduques, daggers, etc. were available and used by some scouts and later period mountain men the most common knife, if commonality, is important to you then a 7-8" butcher style is the way to go. IMO the big curved skinners were common to buffalo hunters since in reality they are fairly specialized usage knife whereas the butcher was a more general purpose knife. While Russell still makes the Green River in both finished knives as well as blades only they need to be changed to five iron pin handles to be period correct and easy fix especially of you buy the blade only and do the handle yourself or cover the three rivets with a rawhide "repair". On the other hand 1870 and later vintage butchers by Wilson and Russell are often available on Ebay and other sources for decent prices with the bonus you are using a knife from the period you are portraying.  A knife like that carried in a simple Indian style sheath like the one Charles Stobie is wearing would be a very appropriate and commonly used combo by white or mixed blood scouts for the 1860-1870's era:
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Re: Ulzana's Raid - Scout Dress
« Reply #65 on: Today at 05:04:02 PM »

Offline Bruce W Sims

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Re: Ulzana's Raid - Scout Dress
« Reply #65 on: November 06, 2014, 03:28:40 PM »
What?...no Elkhorn handles or brass fittings?

Sheesh ::)

BTW: I went to GOOGLE Images to confirm a suspicion about the Green River Buffalo Skinners.

I gotta tell ya that as "popular" as they may have been it seems that extreme curve would really
make them stand out. I've gotta feeling that this may be one of those DIY sorts of things.

Best Wishes,

Bruce
Best Wishes,

Bruce

Offline ChuckBurrows

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Re: Ulzana's Raid - Scout Dress
« Reply #66 on: November 06, 2014, 03:33:53 PM »
BTW - even period Bowies seldom had thick blades with the majority being no more than 3/16" just forward of the spine with a distally tapered blade - a blade tapering/thinning in width from the guard to the tip even on the blade lengths of 8-12". While some period blades were thicker, thicker blades - 1/4" and more, are a more modern concept for survival/military use. In the past knives were generally used as knives and not as pry bars or for cutting metal container straps or opening cans, etc. as is not uncommon today in a survival/military usage and for fighting a thicker 1/4"+ blade really has no more advantage than a blade of around 1/8" thick at the spine.
aka Nolan Sackett
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