My book Bowie Knife Fights, Fighters, and Fighting Techniques is available from Paladin Press. This blog contains additional information about the bowie knife, as well as the fighting knives of other nations.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bowie Knife Wielder Falls to Shotgun Blast

On November 8, 1852, Thomas Carneal, son-in-law of Henry S. Foote, then the governor of Mississippi, was killed after he stabbed a planter with his bowie knife. The following report is taken from the Vicksburg Sentinel:
We have abstained thus long from giving any notice of the sad affair which resulted in the death of Mr. Thomas Carneal, the son-in-law of the governor of our state, that we might get the particulars. It seems that the steamer E. C. Watkins, with Mr. Carneal as a passenger, landed at or near the plantation of Judge James, in Washington county. Mr. Carneal had heard that the judge was an extremely brutal man to his slaves, and was likewise excited with liquor; and, upon the judge inviting him and others to take a drink with him, Carneal replied that he would not drink with a man who abused his negroes; this the judge resented as an insult, and high words passed.
The company took their drink, however, all but Mr. Carneal, who went out upon the bow of the boat and took a seat, where he was sought by Judge James, who desired satisfaction for the insult. Carneal refused to make any, and asked the old gentleman if any of his sons would resent the insult if he was to slap him in the mouth; to which the judge replied that he would do it himself, if his sons would not; whereupon Mr. Carneal struck him in the mouth with the back of his hand. The judge resented it by striking him across the head with a cane, which stunned Mr. Carneal very much, causing the blood to run freely from the wound. As soon as Carneal recovered from the wound, he drew a bowie-knife, and attacked the judge with it, inflicting several wounds upon his person, some of which were thought to be mortal.
 
Some gentlemen, in endeavoring to separate the combatants, were wounded by Carneal. When Judge James arrived at his house, bleeding, and in a dying state, as was thought, his son seized a double-barrelled gun, loaded it heavily with large shot, galloped to where the boat was, hitched his horse, and deliberately raised his gun to shoot Carneal, who was sitting upon a cotton bale. Mr. James was warned not to fire, as Carneal was unarmed, and he might kill some innocent person. He took his gun from his shoulder, raised it again, and fired both barrels in succession, killing Carneal instantly.
 
It is a sad affair, and Carneal leaves, besides numerous friends, a most interesting and accomplished widow, to bewail his tragical end.

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