of discharge, and shrapnel, which separated at a distance, due to the presence of a bursting charge which scattered the contents of the receptacle.
The shell was a hollow projectile, containing also a bursting charge, intended for destructive effect at a distance.
One of its principal purposes was in the destruction of walls of masonry and other solid construction.
By using percussionfuses the shell would penetrate, and then burst, opening out a breach; and by the addition of further shots in the same place, an opening could be made through which assaulting troops could pass.
The ammunition used by the Federal
siege-artillery was of prime importance in the conduct of the war. The siegeguns consisted of mortars, smooth-bore guns, and rifles.
All the ammunition received preliminary tests at the factories, and a great portion of it also by target practice in the defenses of Washington.
The records of this practice were the most complete ever compiled regarding artillery ammunition, and covered all features of the firing; therefore, when it was issued to the troops in the field, they were informed of the proper results to be expected, as far as the target practice could be simulated to field firing.
Experiments were also made at Washington
with the Confederate
ammunition that had been captured, and certain of the features of that ammunition received very favorable notice from the Federal
The mortars were designed to throw a shell containing a bursting charge, and carrying either a time-fuse or a percussion-fuse.
The time-fuse was ignited by the propelling charge, before leaving the gun. At times this fuse was uncertain in its action, as it would become extinguished during flight or on striking, and the bursting charge, which was intended to cause the damage, would not explode.
The percussion-fuse was not ignited by the propelling charge in the mortar, but contained a fulminate that was ignited by a plunger of some description which moved when the shell was fired or when it