Dried moss for priming


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4v50 Gary
August 4, 2003, 04:27 PM
I read in one of my books (I read too many so I'll have to figure out which one) that the Indians in the Carolinas would take dried moss and rub in between their fingers over the pan. This would serve as a priming compound for their flintlocks.

Anybody care to do this? I'm a bit short of moss right now and didn't read it until after I got back from the Carolinas.

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4v50 Gary
August 4, 2003, 09:00 PM
Disregard request for experiment. You need disposable rubber gloves first. The threat of chiggers is not worth the price of knowledge.

Arisaka
August 5, 2003, 09:36 AM
May I ask,what is the name of the moss the indians used?

Jimmy

Mike Irwin
August 5, 2003, 12:14 PM
What's a little discomfort in the quest for greater knowledge through science? :)

Arisaka
August 5, 2003, 12:49 PM
I do not worry about chiggers.I have lived on the east coast of NC for 38 years.
Never have been attacked by chiggers.

Jimmy

4v50 Gary
August 6, 2003, 01:21 AM
The info came from Captain Hinrich's diary. Captain Hinrich was among the jagers who accompanied Clinton & Cornwallis to Charleston, SC during the 1780 Campaign. His diary was reprinted by Univ. of Mich. under the title, "The Siege of Charleston." From page 351:

"Moss. Not because it is a valuable article of merchandise, but rather because of its usefulness in the household of the farmer and especially because of its decided oddity, I cannot help saying a few words about the moss which covers the trees in this region, especially the oaks. This moss is of a dark gray color. Drawing its nourishment from the bark, it grows on every branch and attains a length of two or three feet. A melancholy sight! Every tree, all nature seems to mourn for being buried here, pining and cursed! Then the sight of the black ground that looks burnt where it is not strewn with fallen needles - the color of misery all over. However, sad as is the sight thereof, it nevertheless is a charitable gift in a land where but little grass and feed grow, since this moss takes the place of fodder for sheep, horses, and cattle. A peculiar spectactle - to see cattle in the woods eating hay from the trees!

"The Indian uses it to prime his rifle, the gunner to prime his battery pieces, and the soldier for a bed. If rubbed till it loses its outer skin, one obtains a fine hair, which is used to upholster chairs, etc., etc., and is better than horsehair. About the middle of March the moss slowly begins to die away, starting on the outer branches, and by the end of April it has almost disappeared."

Don't know what type of moss there is in the Carolinas.

Arisaka
August 6, 2003, 07:41 AM
Thanks for the reply.Name of the plant is Spanish moss.

Jimmy

4v50 Gary
August 6, 2003, 11:37 AM
Why, thank you Jimmy for identifying the moss for me. I suppose I'll grab a zip lock bag and rubber gloves next time I go back to the Carolinas. I'm willing to see if the moss (if dried) works as reported. That's what makes some of these old books so fun. You learn a lot of new things and some rather useless things like their observations on science. Not to be arrogant towards our elders, but I am convinced that the 22nd Century man will roar with laughter at our "science."

Arisaka
August 6, 2003, 11:59 AM
If you want,I can box up some of the spanish moss,mail it to you.
I'll pay the postage,so you can experiment.

Nuking the spanish moss in the microwave will kill the insects.


Email me a address,i'll get the spanish moss in the mail.

Jimmy

4v50 Gary
August 6, 2003, 12:43 PM
Why, thank you Jimmy. I PM you my snail mail addy. I'll try it at the range and report the results on this thread.

Arisaka
August 7, 2003, 12:43 PM
4v50 Gary,I have your spanish moss,please e-mail a address.

Jimmy

4v50 Gary
August 7, 2003, 11:39 PM
Check you email. When it gets here, I'll test it and blackpowder shooters worldwide ;) will be forever in your debts.

I'm going to nuke this stuff long before I take it to the range. Even when handling it, I'm going to use rubber gloves.

Arisaka
August 7, 2003, 11:47 PM
You will be safe,moss has been nuked and dried in the oven.Oven set at
225 degrees.Did not want the moss to mold,before it reached you.

Jimmy

4v50 Gary
August 8, 2003, 11:09 AM
Thanks Jimmy. By the way, do you belong to the NMLRA? Not trying to recruit you, just curious.

Arisaka
August 8, 2003, 11:32 AM
I am not a member of NMLRA.

Jimmy

Abenaki
August 9, 2003, 09:27 PM
This was not done to prime the pan, but to prep the pan for priming. It was done to try dry the frizzen and pan from any moisture that had formed there. Often the Natives would do rub this on the frizzen just before shooting.

Abenaki

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