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[104] Supernumerary officers of these and the medical departments were, however, gradually collected, and the battalions being then organized and supplied exactly as regiments, everything worked smoothly. It was at one time attempted to furnish all quarter-master, commissary and ordnance supplies through officers of these departments attached to the staff of the Chief of Artillery of the army, but the system was found so inconvenient that it was soon abandoned, and these supplies were drawn through the same channels by which the infantry of each corps were supplied. Each battalion organized from the united resources of its batteries a ‘forge train,’ under control of the ordnance officer, which was ample for all blacksmithing and harness repairs, and more economical and efficient than when each battery had to depend only on itself. No ordnance-wagons accompanied the battalions, the total supply of reserve ammunition being concentrated into one train under the ordnance-officer on the staff of the Chief of Artillery of the corps. These trains never exceeded one wagon to three guns, which was sufficient when within a day's march of a depot of supplies, but compelled the greatest saving in the use of ammunition when on active campaigns. Indeed, the limited resources of the Confederacy, the scarcity of skilled workmen and workshops, and the enormous consumption, kept the supply of ammunition always low. The Ordnance Department in Richmond were never able to accumulate any reserve worth mentioning even in the intervals between campaigns, and during active operations the Army of Northern Virginia lived, as it were, from hand to mouth. The great majority of the batteries took the field without having ever fired a round in practice, and passed through the war without aiming a gun at any target but the enemy. The order ‘save your ammunition’ was reiterated on every battle-field, and many an awful pounding had to be borne in silence from the Yankee guns, while every shot was reserved for their infantry.

The scarcity of ammunition was, however, the least difficulty connected with it, for its quality was the greatest incubus under which the artillery labored. When the war commenced a small amount of smooth-bore ammunition was on hand in the Southern arsenals, which was of good quality, and was used in the early affairs and issued to the batteries first put in the field. This ammunition was all put up with the Bormann fuse, and this fuse being adopted by the Confederate Ordnance Department, a factory was established for its manufacture. Large quantities of ammunition fitted with these fuses were sent to the field in the summer of 1861, and complaints of its bad

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1861 AD (2)
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