Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/30
Southern Historical Society Papers.
Explosive or Poisoned Musket or Rifle Balls—Were they Authorized and
Used by the Confederate States Army, or by the United States Army
during the Civil War?—A Slander Refuted.
By Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden.
The following remarkable statement occurs as a note to the account of the battle of Gettysburg, on page 78, volume III, of "The Pictorial History of the Civil War in the United States of America, by Benson J. Lossing, LL. D.":
Many, mostly young men, were maimed in every conceivable way, by every kind of weapon and missile, the most fiendish of which was an explosive and a poisoned bullet, represented in the engraving a little more than half the size of the originals, procured from the battlefield there by the writer. These were sent by the Confederates. Whether any were ever used by the Nationals, the writer is not informed. One was made to explode in the body of the man, and the other to leave a deadly poison in him, whether the bullet lodged in or passed through him.
Figure A represents the explosive bullet. The perpendicular stem, with a piece of thin copper hollowed, and a head over it of bullet metal, fitted a cavity in the bullet proper below it, as seen in the engraving. In the bottom of the cavity was fulminating powder. When the bullet struck, the momentum would cause the copper in the outer disc to flatten, and allow the point of the stern to strike and explode the fulminating powder, when the bullet would be rent into fragments which would lacerate the victim.
In figure B the bullet proper was hollowed, into which was inserted another, also hollow, containing poison. The latter being loose, would slip out and remain in the victim's body or limbs with its freight of poison if the bullet proper should pass through. Among the Confederate wounded at the College were boys of tender age and men who had been forced into the ranks against their will.
I purpose in this paper to examine the statement of the author of this Pictorial History, and to show, by indisputable proof, its recklessness and its falsity. In the above quotation, he states that he had picked up, on the battlefield of Gettysburg, an explosive and a poisoned ball. "These" he adds, "were sent by the Confederates. Whether any were ever used by the Nationals, the writer is not informed." I do not desire to be severe beyond justice; but it does seem that
The italics I am responsible for. It is difficult for those who live at the South to realize how extensively such insinuating slanders as the above against the Confederates are credited at the North, even by reading people.