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[105] quality were immediately made. Careful test being made of it, it was found that fully four-fifths of the shell exploded prematurely, and very many of them in the gun. The machinery for their manufacture was overhauled, and a fresh supply made and sent to the field, where the old ones were removed and the new were substituted, but no improvements was discernable. The trouble was found to be in the hermetical sealing of the under-side of the horse-shoe channel containing the fuse composition. Although this was seemingly accomplished at the factory, the shock of the discharge would unseat the horse-shoe-shaped plug which closed this channel, and allow the flame from the composition to reach the charge of the shell without burning around to the magazine of the fuse. Attempts were made to correct the evil by the use of white-lead, putty and leather under the fuse, and in the winter of 1861 these correctives were applied to every shell in the army with partial but not universal success. Repeated attempts were made to improve the manufacture, but they accomplished nothing, and until after the battle of Chancellorsville the Bormann fuse continued in use, and premature explosions of shell were so frequent that the artillery could only be used over the heads of the infantry with such danger and demoralization to the latter that it was seldom attempted. Earnest requests were made of the Ordnance Department to substitute for the Bormann fuse, the common paper-fuses, to be cut to the required length and fixed on the field, as being not only more economical and more certain, but. as allowing, what is often very desirable, a greater range than five seconds, which is the limit of the Bormann fuse. These requests, repeated and urged in January, 1863, on the strength of casualties occurring from our own guns among the infantry in front during the battle of Fredericksburg, were at length successful in accomplishing the substitution. The ammunition already on hand, however, had to be used up, and its imperfections affected the fire even as late as Gettysburg. The paper-fuse was found to answer much better, and no further complaints of ammunition came from the smooth-bores.

The difficulties which beset the rifled guns and their ammunition were, however, even greater than those under which the smooth-bores suffered so long, and they were never so nearly solved. With the exception of a single battery of six ten-pounder Parrott rifles and one or two imported Blakely guns, the Confederates possessed no rifled field-pieces at the commencement of the war. Several foundries, however, undertook their manufacture at an early day, under the direction of the Ordnance Departments of Confederate or State governments,


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