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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 37. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Work of the Ordnance Bureau of the war Department of the Confederate States, 1861-5. (search)
ly in Alabama, unconsciously laying the foundation for this great industry as it now exists. The Nitre and Mining Bureau under Col. St. John, partly by its own officers and partly through contractors, opened mines, erected furnaces and rolling mills, and turned out large quantities of iron of superior quality. But before this work had got well underway much care was taken in the collection of shot and shell, and of scrap iron of all kinds. During the bombardment of Charleston, as a heavy Parrott shell came down, the little street urchins were to be seen ready for a rush to claim it, or its fragments if it burst, in order to claim payment for the iron at the arsenal. Much ingenuity was shown by a few skilled mechanics in constructing with but poor appliances special machinery for ordnance purposes, such as the rolling, punching and forming of percussion caps, the drawing the tubes for friction primers, the squirting of lead rods, and making pressed bullets, etc. Much labor was spen