Bruce Miller Virtual Library - Antique American Firearms & Makers > Museum Owned Pieces

The Whale's Rifle .......Horseshoe Bend


Dennis Glazener:
This rifle was donated to the State of Alabama and Horseshoe Bend National Military Park in 1963. Thanks to the efforts of ALR member, Travis Brown, the park gave permission for him to photograph the rifle and to put the photos here for our members and guests to enjoy.

This rifle was presented to Cherokee Warrior, The Whale. The Whale earned his name by swimming the Tallapoosa River and retrieving Redstick Creek canoes. This action allowed Creek and Cherokee warriors along with some Tennessee Rifleman to Cross the river and attack the Redstick fortifications from behind. For this act a reward rifle was commissioned by President James Madison.

There may have been as many as 6 Whale Rifles made through the years. The Whale claimed he never got his rifle. It is possible he never got it. It is also possible he got all six through the years, getting a new one when the previous was worn out. It is felt that this is the original or his replacement...2nd.
The patchbox reads...Presented by J. Madison, President of the US to Whale, the Reward of Singal Valor & Heroism at the Battle of the Horseshoe March 1814

This rifle is believed to be the 1st or the 2nd. It is rumored to have been in use as late as the 1930s. It has had some work done. The lock is obviously a percussion Goulcher that has been converted to flint. The lock does not fit the mortise well and the stock shows evidence of the original being flintlock. The barrel may have been changed. There is evidence of a shorter tang originally. It appears the barrel signature has been defaced.

All the photos are by me. The ALR has my permission to post. I also want to thank Park Rangers Heather Tassin and Vester Williams who made this possible. I also want to thank Jim Parker who accompanied me and shared his knowledge and opinions.

Below are some measurements taken from the rifle.
45.5  3/4 barrel .32
12.90 LOP
3.75 tang
1.25 nose cap
1.50 pipes
1.37 width fore stock
 1.37 width wrist
4.75 lock

Submitted by Travis Brown Oct 2017

Dennis Glazener:
Some additional photos:


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