Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/32
Southern Historical Society Papers.
projectile? Did he test the explosive power of the one and the poisonous character of the other? He gives no evidence of having done so, and advances no proof of his assertions.
It is a very remarkable fact that no case was ever reported in Northern hospitals, or by Northern surgeons, of Union soldiers having been wounded by such barbarous missiles as these from the Confederate side.
I have very carefully examined those valuable quarto volumes Issued by the United States Medical Department and entitled "The Medical and Surgical History of the Rebellion," and as yet have failed to find any case of wound or death reported as having occurred by an explosive or poisoned musket ball, excepting that on page 91 of volume II of said work there is a table of four thousand and two (4,002) cases of gunshot wounds of the scalp, two (2) of which occurred by explosive musket balls. To which army these two belonged does not appear.
A letter addressed to the Surgeon-General of the United States by the writer on this subject, has elicited the reply that the Medical Department is without any information as to wounds by such missiles. I do not find such projectiles noticed as preserved in the museum of the Surgeon-General's Department, where rifle projectiles taken from wounds are usually deposited.
In the second place, the manufacture, purchase, issue or use of such projectiles for firearms by the Confederate States, is positively denied by the Confederate authorities, as the following correspondence will show:
Beauvoir, Miss., 28th June, 1879.
My Dear Sir— ... In reply to your inquiries as to the use of explosive or poisoned balls by the troops of the Confederate States, I state as positively as one may in such a case that the charge has no foundation in truth. Our Government certainly did not manufacture or import such balls, and if any were captured from the enemy, they could probably only have been used in the captured arms for which they were suited. I heard occasionally that the enemy did use explosive balls, and others prepared so as to leave a copper ring in the wound, but it was always spoken of as an atrocity beneath knighthood and abhorrent to civilization. The slander is only one of many instances in which our enemy have committed or attempted crimes of which our people and their Government were incapable, and then magnified the guilt by accusing us of the offences they had committed. . . .
Believe me, ever faithfully yours,