previous next
[188] shelter, and caused the men to crouch into the smallest possible space and wish for the little red cap of the fairy story, which would make the wearer invisible.

But it was the Hotchkiss shell that made the infernal noise which caused the bravest to duck his head. Though no more destructive than the others, its mere sound worked on the men's nerves, and the moral effect was powerful. The tremendous scream of the missile was caused by a ragged edge of lead which remained on the shell as it left the gun. When the light was favorable, and with the observer standing behind the gun, a peculiar phenomenon was often observed. The projectile seemed to gather the atmosphere as it sped along, just as our globe carries its atmosphere through space, and this apparently accounted for the statement that sometimes men were killed by the wind of a cannon-ball.

Hand-grenades were sometimes used with great effect when the troops were close. The grenade was ignited by the act of throwing, and had the peculiar value that, due to the arrangement of the fuse, the enemy could not utilize the same missile to throw back. It could be thrown about one hundred feet, but as the fragments scattered nearly two hundred yards, the assailant had to seek cover himself to prevent injury from his own grenade.

The variety of rifled projectiles used by the Confederates was very great. This was due to the fact that their ordnance had to be procured from whatever source possible, and the differences in ammunition were, of course, greater than those of the guns. About seventy different kinds of projectiles were in use at one time.

One of these devices was a cupped copper plate, fastened to the shell by a screw, and held firm by radial grooves. It was used principally for the larger calibers, and took the rifling very well. However, one objection to it was that the copper plates often became detached and were liable to cause damage to troops in front of the guns.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: