Death in Louisiana

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Death in Louisiana

Postby Sanscoeur » Sun May 28, 2017 10:57 pm

This is taken from the journal of Corporal François Grappé, of the Natchitoches Company of Militia Cavalry, November 18, 1785:

"Shortly after halting, M. David, ensign of the company, went to get water from a hole a short distance away, and when he returned, he passed between two horses, one of which unleashed such a terrible blow from its hoof that he was knocked to the ground; then he stood up, holding his side and staggering. We immediately ran to him, Monsieur Gil-y-Barbvo, the Sieur Monet, and I. We found him speechless and sat him up, and I bandaged his arm in order to bleed him; but since I could not find his vein, I left him like that. Seeing that he was regaining his senses, I asked him if he wanted me to help him swallow a dose of gunpowder diluted in a shot of tafia. He answered me - whatever you want, my friend - and didn't say a word after that. I left him for a while to go look for the tafia, which was only about twenty steps from where he was sitting. As I diluted the gunpowder he stood up again; but hardly had he taken four or five steps, when he fell on his face before anyone could prevent it. The Sieur Monet and I again went to his aid. We took him in our arms and helped him up for about an hour, at the end of which time he expired in our arms without having uttered a word. ..."

Three interesting observations can be made from this citation. First, despite a daily, constant, lifelong intercourse with horses it was a crapshoot when one of them would render a serious injury without warning. Nobody today remembers when there was inevitably an incapacitated family member somewhere who had been kicked in the head and disabled by livestock. Second, the immediate reaction of the observers was to try to administer a bleeding. Corporal Grappé wasn't even a chirurgeon and his first impulse was to bleed the victim of a horse kick. So, did everybody carry a fleem with them in case an emergency bleeding might be required in the field? Finally, the next time somebody sees me suffer some kind of injury I hope they are gracious enough to offer me some rum to allay the pain. You can skip mixing it with gunpowder, though. Interesting to note this bit of rustic medication in Grappé's journal.
«S’il n’y avait en Angleterre qu’une religion, le despotisme serait à craindre; s’il y en avait deux, elles se couperaient la gorge; mais il y en a trente, et elles vivent en paix et heureuses».
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Re: Death in Louisiana

Postby Morgan » Mon May 29, 2017 9:46 am

I wonder what medicinal affect they believed the gunpowder would have? I had a great uncle that would sprinkle gunpowder on his dogs food to make them mean.

Interesting post Sanscoeur.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2
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Re: Death in Louisiana

Postby Bob Miller » Mon May 29, 2017 9:29 pm

My Uncle used to sprinkle black powder on his dog's food to get rid of worms .[ parasites] Modern smokeless powder [ nitro based] would probably affect a dog's disposition by giving it a severe headache .
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Re: Death in Louisiana

Postby Hummingbird-in-the-Garden » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:41 am

Old-style gunpowder is made of charcoal, salt-petre, and sulphur, is it not? The charcoal and sulphur can be medicinal in their own right, but don't know about salt-petre.

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