U.S. At War: Priority on Glory

Out of 200 men & women buried in 1863, says Idaho City folklore, only 28 died of natural causes. Idaho City had sprung full-blown from the 1862 gold rush: one day there was a pine-covered hillside; next day a teeming, quarreling, gambling, gold-plated city of 25,000 people, all hot as their pistols.

Gambler Ferd Patterson, fresh from killing his mistress and a steamboat captain, swaggered through town in buckskin trousers, high-heeled boots and a frock coat, cut down Idaho City's sheriff to the size of a notch on his gun. A deputy wrestled Patterson into jail, used a cannon to beat off...

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