Ok, so with a bit more work, I've managed to get a full 169 more commits out of the 5.003_08 -> 5.004 series. I'm proud of it as a loving restoration of the history of the period, a tribute to the work that went into this quality Perl release. Perhaps 50% of the changes are attributed and applied separately, including countless patches mined from the Perl 5 porters archives.
Here are the updated sections of THE RECORDS with the new commit totals:
Com- Pump- Release Date Notes
mits king (by no means
986 Chip 5.003_08 1996-Nov-19
1092 5.003_14 1996-Dec-23
1349 5.003_28 1997-Feb-21
5.003_90 1997-Feb-25 Ramping up to the 5.004 release.
1596 5.003_97 1997-Apr-03 Fairly widely used.
1750 5.003_98 1997-Apr-30
p54rc1 1997-May-12 Release Candidates.
1812 Chip 5.004 1997-May-15 A major maintenance release.
Next mission: lather, rinse, repeat, but with Tim Bunce's 5.004_* so-called 'maintenance' releases.
Exercise: download this 8MB pack file, then see if you can find the 1812 commits within. Start with git index-pack