Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/36
Southern Historical Society Papers.
In November, 1862, Mr. Gardiner offered to sell to the United States his explosive musket shell and cartridge at $35 per thousand, calibre 58. The Assistant Secretary of War at once ordered 100,000, of which 75,000 were calibre 58 for infantry, and 25,000 calibre 54 for cavalry service.
In June, 1863, the Second New Hampshire volunteers made a requisition for 35,000 of these shells, and by order of the Assistant Secretary of War, they received 24,000. Of this number, 10,060 were abandoned in Virginia and 13,940 distributed to the regiment. The report of this regiment, made subsequently, shows that in the third quarter of 1863—that is, from July 1st to October 1st about 4,000 of these shells were used in trials and target firing, and about 10,000 were used in action. The Second New Hampshire regiment was in the battle of Gettysburg, and 49 of its members lie buried in the cemetery there.
The above statement shows that the Assistant Secretary of War against what might be regarded as the protest of the Chief of Ordnance, purchased 110,000 of the Gardiner explosive musket shells, and issued to the troops in actual service 35,000, leaving 75,000 on hand at the close of the war.
In 1866 the Russian Government issued a circular calling a convention of the Nations for the purpose of declaring against the use of explosive projectiles in war. To this circular the then Chief of Ordnance of the United States, General A. B. Dyer, made the following reply, which I have but little doubt expresses the sentiment which actuated General Ripley in his disapproval of the purchase and issue of the Gardiner musket shell:
Ordnance Office, War Department,
Washington, August 19, 1868.
Hon. J. M. Schofield, Secretary of War:
Sir—I have read the communication from the Russian Minister in relation to the abolishment of the use of explosive projectiles in military warfare, with the attention and care it well deserves.I concur heartily in the sentiments therein expressed, and I trust that our Government will respond unhesitatingly to the proposition in behalf of humanity and civilization. The use in warfare of explosive balls, so sensitive as to ignite and burst on striking a substance as soft and yielding as animal flesh (of men or horses), I consider barbarous and no more to be tolerated by civilized nations than the universally reprobated practice of using poisoned missiles, or of poisoning food or drink to be left in the