Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/39

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
Explosive or Poisoned Musket or Rifle Balls.

bone or other hard substance when entering a man's body, it will explode and thereby produce a fatal wound.


Philadelphia, August 23, 1862.


In the Patent Office Report (United States) for 1863-4 will be found a shell exactly corresponding to this one:


No. 39,593—Joseph Nottingham Smith, New York, N.Y.—Improvement in Elongated Projectile for Firearms—Patent dated August 18, 1863.

It consists of an elongated cylinder having a charge chamber in its rear portion, which contains powder for propulsion. The point is a pointed axical bolt, whose rear is furnished with a percussion cap, to be exploded by the forward motion of a striker on the concussion of the projectile.


Not having seen this ball, I cannot certainly identify it with the ball mentioned by F.J.C., but it is evidently the same.

The inference is very natural that if these several projectiles, patented by the United States Patent Office, as the invention of Northern men, during the war, and used by the United States armies, were ever used by the Confederates, it was only as captured ammunition. It was hardly possible, at any reasonable cost, to run them through the blockade to the South.

In conclusion, it may be well to draw attention to Mr. Lossing's intimation in the note quoted at the beginning of this paper, that the men of the South were forced into the Confederate ranks against their will, while those of the North were volunteers. Does Mr. Lossing purposely forget the United States drafts made to fill up the depleted regiments in the field, and especially the draft of May, 1863, two months before the battle of Gettysburg, and the riots that occurred in New York city as the result of that draft? Does he purposely forget that the United States established recruiting offices in Europe to procure men for her armies?

It may be questioned whether as a historian Mr. Lossing is deserving even the notice of a novice in history; for, while he is known to be a voluminous writer of American history, he is also known to be a writer of many and great inaccuracies. A writer who has allowed himself to be so easily imposed upon as in his ready acceptance as true history of the Morgan Jones Welsh Indian fraud (American Historical Record, I, 250); who makes such glaring historical mistakes as his statement that General Braddock was defeated and killed at the "battle of the Great Meadows"