Wednesday, 8 May 2013


James "Jim" Bowie (c. 1796 – March 6, 1836), a 19th-century American pioneer, soldier, smuggler, slave trader, and land speculator, played a prominent role in the Texas Revolution, culminating in his death at the Battle of the Alamo. Stories of him as a fighter and frontiersman, both real and fictitious, have made him a legendary figure in Texas history and a folk hero of American culture.
Born in Kentucky, Bowie spent most of his life in Louisiana, where he was raised and later worked as a land speculator. His rise to fame began in 1827 on reports of the Sandbar Fight.
The Sandbar Fight, aka Vidalia Sandbar Fight, was an 1827 brawl featuring Jim Bowie. The brawl occurred at the conclusion of a duel, and resulted in Bowie being seriously injured. Bowie was nonetheless the victor.

On September 19, 1827, both Bowie and Major Norris Wright attended a duel on a sandbar outside of Natchez, Mississippi.File:Natchez MS 1850s.jpg Bowie supported duelist Samuel Levi Wells III, while Wright favored Dr. Thomas Harris Maddox, both of Alexandria, Louisiana.About 16 men were present. Wells had also brought supporters, including Major George McWhorter and General Samuel Cuny. Maddox was supported by Colonel Robert Crain, Carey Blanchard, Alfred Blanchard, and several unnamed others. Wright was late, and had not yet arrived when the duel began.
The duelists each fired two shots, and, as neither man was injured, resolved their duel with a handshake.

As the duelists turned to leave, Bowie came forward to meet them. Seeing this, Maddox's friends ran forward to join the group. Cuny, who had previously fought with Crain, is recorded as having called out to him, "Col. Crain, this is a good time to settle our difficulty."Crain fired, missing Cuny but striking Bowie in the hip and knocking him to the ground. Cuny and Crain then exchanged fire, with Crain sustaining a flesh wound in the arm and Cuny dying from a shot to the chest.
Bowie, rising to his feet, drew his knife and charged at Crain, who struck him so hard with his empty pistol upon the head that it broke and sent Bowie to his knees. Wright appeared, drew a pistol, and shot at the fallen Bowie, missing. Wright then drew his sword cane and stabbed Bowie in the chest, but the thin blade was deflected by his sternum. As Wright attempted to pull the blade free, Bowie reached up, grabbed his shirt, and pulled him down upon the point of his Bowie knifeFile:Bowie Knife by Tim Lively 16.jpg. Wright died instantly, and Bowie, with Wright's sword still protruding from his chest, was shot again and stabbed by another member of the group.As Bowie stood, pulling the sword cane from his chest, both Blanchard brothers fired at him, and he was struck once in the arm. Bowie spun and cut off part of Alfred's forearm. Carey fired a second shot at Bowie, but missed. As the brothers fled, Carey was shot and wounded by Major McWhorter.
The Battle of the Sandbar lasted more than 10 minutes, leaving Samuel Cuny and Norris Wright dead, and another four men - Alfred Blanchard, Carey Blanchard, Robert Crain and Jim Bowie - wounded.
Crain helped carry Bowie away, with Bowie recorded as having thanked him, saying, "Col. Crain, I do not think, under the circumstances, you ought to have shot me." One doctor reputedly said "How he (Bowie) lived is a mystery to me, but live he did." The doctors who had been present for the duel managed to patch Bowie's wounds.

Newspapers picked up the story, which became known as the Sandbar Fight in some circles and the Great Sandbar Duel nationally. Bowie's fighting prowess and his knife were described in detail. Eyewitness accounts agreed that Bowie did not attack first, and the others had focused their attack on Bowie because "they considered him the most dangerous man among their opposition."After the Sandbar Fight and subsequent battles in which Bowie successfully used his knife to defend himself, his knife became very popular. Many craftsmen and manufacturers made their own versions of it, and many major cities of the Southwest had "Bowie knife schools", which taught "the art of cut, thrust, and parry."His fame, and that of his knife, spread to England, and by the early 1830s, many British knife manufacturers were also producing Bowie knives, exporting many of them to the United States for sale.The design of the knife continued to evolve, and it is generally agreed to have a blade 8.25 inches long and 1.25 inches wide, with a curved point. It had a "sharp false edge cut from both sides" and a cross-guard to protect the user's hands Bowie's reputation was cemented by his role in the Texas Revolution. After moving to Texas in 1830, Bowie became a Mexican citizen and married Ursula Veramendi, the daughter of the Mexican vice governor of the province. His fame in Texas grew following his failed expedition to find the lost San Saba mineFile:Colorado River of Texas IMG 0784.JPG, during which his small party repelled an attack by a large Indian raiding party. At the outbreak of the Texas Revolution, Bowie joined the Texas militia, leading forces at the Battle of ConcepciónFile:Mission-Concepcion.jpg and the Grass Fight. In January 1836, he arrived at the Alamo, where he commanded the volunteer forces until an illness left him bedridden. Bowie died with the other Alamo defenders on March 6. Despite conflicting accounts of the manner of his death, the "most popular, and probably the most accurate"accounts maintain that he died in his bed after emptying his pistols into several Mexican soldiers.
According to his older brother John, James Bowie was born in Logan County, Kentucky,File:Logan County courthouse Kentucky.JPG i

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