Thanks to Mary Carton and Carl with Remember Tuscumbia for all the photos in this blog.
Me on the left dueling my buddy Duane Broyles
This past Saturday I had the honor of performing a duel with James Connings original 1854 dueling pistols made in London and valued today at $250,000. Of course my civilians suit was paid for and Duane's was rented, we knew the outcome ahead of time. I knew I was to die, so I quickly fired each time first so I could get my shot off. I felt like Clint Eastwood, but I always missed my target. Before the past weekend, I had no idea there were so many rules to antebellum dueling.
James Mitchell (in the tall hat) of Auburn, Alabama owner of the dueling pistols marking off ten paces
I learned a lot about dueling in the old south. For one thing, it was extremely rare for men to stand back to back and march in the opposite direction. They usually stood and fired from ten paces and it was considered cowardly to turn sideways to present a smaller target.
Lanny Perry me second (who knows what he's doing here)
Each duelist had a second and Lanny Perry was my second on this occasion. I have no idea what he was doing at this point, possibly picking his nose. His job is to shoot a duelist that attempts to shoot before the command is given. Mr. Mitchell gave the commands, "Ready, Fire, One, Two, Three, Halt!" It was that quick and that is the reason there were so many misses. If you fired before the word 'fire' or after the command 'halt' one of the second's was to shoot you.
Leland Free is the surgeon, but I accused him of being an undertaker drumming up business
On the field during a duel there were only a certain number of people allowed. The two duelists of course, the two seconds, and a surgeon, and possible two assistant surgeons. Now if you had a problem with a man that was not on your social level, you did not duel him, you caned him with a walking stick.
Me taking a bullet in the duel
There were duels long after dueling was outlawed in the South. Mr. Mitchell gave us a talk on dueling that was really great and we learned a lot about dueling. I loved every minute of his talk.
Lanny my second is running to check on me
The surgeon confirming the worst
A moment of silence for the dearly departed
Resurrected from the dead because my last name is Kent, I'm Superman
My second Lanny Perry and I posing together