First Freedom: corrections and clarifications

Page 89: The Model 1803 rifle was not “the first gun manufactured in an American armory,” it was the first rifle manufactured in an American armory. As I mention earlier in the book, the smoothbore Springfield 1795 musket was the first gun manufactured in a U.S. government arsenal in Massachusetts, beginning in 1799.

Page 104: “The 1847 ‘Walker,’ christened after its sponsor, was a weighty four pounds and shot a .44-caliber black powder cap and ball through a barrel that was nine inches long.” The percussion cap, the mechanism of which is explained elsewhere in the book, does not go down the bore along with the ball.

Page 108: Samuel Colt did not dub the Single Action Army the “Peacemaker.” He died in 1862 and the gun wasn’t sold until 1872.

Page 139: Due to an editing error, the caption under the picture states that the revolver is Remington New Model Army when it is Colt Walker. The error has been fixed in ebook.

Page 144: The text should read “.50-70 Springfield trapdoor that William Cody used” not “a .50 to .70-caliber”?

Page 182: The Krag-Jorgensen rifle that the US Army adopted and modified was of Norwegian design, but they were made at Springfield armory.

Page 183: The Colt-Browning Model 1895 machinegun was nicknamed the “potato digger,” not the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR.) It is properly identified elsewhere in the book.

Page 186: There is some dispute over whether Sgt. Alvin York used a Springfield rifle in the incident that won him the Medal of Honor. Some references claim it was the Model 1917 Enfield, which is the rifle he would have been assigned. But in a 2005 issue of American Rifleman, Garry James writes: 

Upon arriving at Le Havre, the 82nd was issued .30-’06 Sprg. U.S. Model of 1917 “Enfield” rifles. According to York’s son Andrew, his father didn’t much cotton on to the M1917 as it had a peep sight with which York had difficulty leading a target. Somehow he finagled to swap his issue rifle out for a Model 1903 Springfield—a gun he had found much more comfortable.

I have been unable to track down the source of this story.

Also, in a 1964 New York Times obituary, which claims that York had earned his “reputation for remarkable marksmanship with the Springfield 1903 rifle,” there is is this kicker:

At his two‐story farm home on the Wolf River, which he built himself, the Springfield rifle Sergeant York used on that October day in 1918 still hangs over the soldier’s bed. He had asked that it be given to the Alvin C. York Industrial School at his death.

We can’t know for sure if that was indeed that actual rifle. But we can say that the question is unlikely to be answered with any satisfaction.

Page 203: An en bloc clip together with the cartridges it holds are inserted into the rifle, not into a magazine.

(Thanks to Peter Chronis and Doug Wicklund.)