I have never been able to afford an original, nor have I ever met anyone who had one. In my youth though, I did once encounter a gentleman who was shooting a Navy Arms Remington .44 caliber percussion revolving carbine at a now defunct range outside of Nampa ID. He let me try a few rounds out of it. The fire spitting around the cylinder and the nipple blow by and cap fragments coming back at me and stinging my cheeks discouraged me pretty quickly. There is a very good reason that revolvers are held and shot at arm's length. I was always fascinated by the inner workings of the Colt Root Patent revolving long gun models though, and I would add one to the collection in a heartbeat if one were to come along. The possibility for a cap to fall off, and an adjoining cylinder to let go is a very real one with any cap and ball revolving weapon. If you look closely at pictures of original Colt long guns you will see streaking along the frame on an occasional one where this exact thing has happened, so we can only hope the shooter had his support hand firmly tucked under the trigger guard, which is precisely what that small built in spur is for. Anybody who did otherwise, and experienced a multiple discharge, most likely lost a finger or two at the least. Like a beautiful mean woman though, the Colt revolving shotgun especially has an appeal all its own. Dangerous, and she stings, but what a beauty! Strangely enough, the shotgun usually had a scroll trigger guard with no spur, so I assume they were used with regular fore end hold. The possibility to completely remove the off hand was no doubt there.
One little known fact about the Colt revolving rifles is that they were the first weapons issued to Colonel Hiram Berdan's Sharpshooters during the Civil War. Hiram requested the Sharps 1859 breechloading rifles of course, hence the name "Sharps Shooters' modified only to the extent of being fitted with double set triggers. He later got them, but ordnance for some unknown reason decided to outfit his troops with the revolving rifle at first. You could hardly have picked a poorer weapon for the intended sniping duty, but surprisingly, his men rather liked them and did good execution with the Colts according to what we read.
Berdan's Sharpshooters had a rather up and down war record. Berdan himself was accused of being far from the action at any given time, and the command eventually went over to another individual when Berdan resigned to return to inventing, eventually removing his family to Europe before war's end. It is still thought that the regiment inflicted more casualties on the Confederates, man for man, than any other. In his memoirs, "Company Aytch", confederate Sam Watkins gives his opinions about snipers, namely, that he was happy to see them killed on either side. Some very interesting history emerges from this regiment. "California Joe" Head, George A. Custer's famous, eccentric and sometimes extremely drunken scout got his start in Berdan's regiment, being the first member to use a Sharps rifle, privately purchased. Uniquely American times to be sure, like them or not.
Kind of a humorous tale here. When Bedford Forrest was starting his raid through West Tn. he stopped in Adamsville. They spent the nite and Forrest was invited to supper by the mayor. The next morning when leaving out, the mayors wife came to him and told him what a gentleman and well mannered man he was. then she said not like that rascal Forrest, he would of burned the town down. Where as Forrest said "Yes ma'am". That rascal Forrest!
As one of the all time great talents in the art of waging warfare, Bedford Forrest has few equals. From humble beginnings, he rose from a private in the Confederate Army to become one of the quintessential guerilla fighting generals of all time. He was too much of a dark horse and a fierce individualist to have any real support with the Confederate hierarchy, but when it came down to interrupting supply lines and creating general havok, he was a force to be reckoned with in the western theater.
Dang, I got history wrong again. Wrong "California Joe". "California Joe" Head joined Berdan's sharpshooter's at age 52 and made a minor name for himself. Custer's scout was "California Joe" Milner, an ex mountain man who was murdered in Oct.1876 shortly after the demise of Custer and JB HIckok, both whom he knew and worked with. He was transferred to the 5th Cavalry and was not with Custer and the 7th Cavalry at Little Big Horn. Shot in the back by one of the gamblers he allegedly accused of "setting up" the death of Wild Bill.
Oh yeah I could bore anybody senseless with this stuff, fortunately my best bud is a history major so we can talk this up when the other halves are not around. I have always wondered why Hollywood expends so much effort to create an interesting story by trying to build on a historical event with little relation to actual events. Nine times out of ten, the truth is more bizarre and astounding than anything you are going to come up with.
Of special interest is the ongoing feud that went on between Confederate Generals Braxton Bragg and Nathan Bedford Forrest. Supposedly the Confederate Army became so depleted of men and supplies shortly before the Yankees finally captured the Mississippi for good in the west, that Braxton Bragg found himself serving as both the man responsible for requisitioning supplies, and the man responsible for supplying them. He began writing letters to himself asking for supplies, and then writing letters back to himself denying them. Probably Braxton, professional soldier that he was, was only honoring protocol for both positions. You can only imagine how a stunt like that went over with a fire breather like Bedford Forrest.
IMO Forrest understood many points about the war that his superiors did not. Some say that the war was fought over states rights, and states rights is what lost it for the Confederacy. The honorable Robert E. Lee never embraced the conflict outside of the effect it had on Virginia, and while he was slugging it out wholesale in the Shenandoah Valley, the war was lost in the West. Forrest understood the south could not withstand a prolonged conflict, and he understood all the states were in it together. He linked up with John Bell Hood and fought it out to the bitter end, but he knew it was a lost cause and was probably one of the first Confederate generals to say so.