Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/33
Explosive or Poisoned Musket or Rifle Balls.
General Josiah Gorgas, the Chief of Ordnance of the Confederate States—now of the University of Alabama—writes, under date of July llth, 1879, that to his "knowledge the Confederate States never authorized or used explosive or poisoned rifle balls during the late war." In this statement also General I. M. St. John and General John Ellicott, both of the Ordnance Bureau, Confederate States army, entirely concur.
The Adjutant-General of the United States also writes me, under date of August 22d, 1879, as to the Confederate archives now inthe possession of the National Government, as follows: "In reply to yours of the 18th August, I have the honor to inform you that the Confederate States records in the possession of this Department furnish no evidence that poisoned or explosive musket balls were used by the army of the Confederate States."
Rev. J. William Jones, D. D., Secretary of the Southern Historical Society, has written me to the same effect as to the archives in the possession of the Society.
In the third place, a brief examination of the United States Patent Office Reports for 1862-3, and the Ordnance Reports for 1863-4, will show that the "explosive and the poisoned balls" which the author of the "Pictorial History of the Civil War" so gratuitously charges upon the Confederates, were patented by the United States Patent Office at Washington, and were purchased, issued and used by the United States Government, and, what is still more remarkable, that neither of the aforesaid projectiles were in any sense explosive or poisoned.
In the Patent Office Report for 1862-3 will be found the following, with the corresponding illustration in the second volume:
No. 37,145—Elijah D. Williams, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—Improvement in Elongated Bullets—Patent dated December 9, 1862.
This invention consists in the combination with an elongated expanding bullet of a leaded pin and a concave expanding disc, the disc having its concave side against the base of the bullet, and the pin entering the cavity thereof and operating to produce the flattening of the disc, by which it is caused to expand against the walls of and enter the groves of the gun.Claim—First, the combination with elongated expanding bullets of a pin, C, and expanding disc, B, applied substantially as herein specified. Second, fitting the pin to the cavity of the bullet in the manner substantially as herein specified, whereby the expansion of the bullet is caused to commence in the front part of its expanding portion and to be gradually continued toward the rear as herein set forth.