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[106] and soon turned out a number, generally of three inches calibre, and with five or seven grooves. They were all adapted to the same ammunition, but were not of uniform length or shape, and varied in weight from a thousand to twelve hundred pounds. Several of these guns were used at the first battle of Manassas, and three of them were engaged in the first ‘artillery duel’ at Blackburn's Ford on the 18th of July, 1861. The projectiles furnished for them at that time were of two kinds, known as the Burton and the Archer, both of which were expected to receive the rotary motion from a leaden ring or sabot which the discharge forced into the grooves. They differed about two pounds in weight, and the charges for them differed three ounces; but as the latter could not be easily distinguished from each other, they were used indiscriminately. In the excitement of the battle these projectiles were supposed to possess superior accuracy and effect to the Parrott projectiles used by the enemy, and very favorable reports were made of them, and their manufacture was increased. It was some months before cooler occasions exposed the error and the utter worthlessness of the projectiles. They never took the grooves, and consequently their range was less than that of the smooth-bores, their inaccuracy was excessive; and in addition to this not one shell in twenty exploded. Their manufacture was discontinued early in 1862, and a new projectile, having a saucer-shaped copper sabot attached by bolts after the shell was cast, was substituted for it.1 This shell was a slight improvement on Burton's and Archer's, as it sometimes took the grooves and then its flight was excellent. It failed, however, about three times out of four from breaking its connection with the copper sabot, and it very frequently exploded in the gun; while of those which flew correctly, not one-fourth exploded at all. It may readily be imagined that practice with them was very uncertain, even at a fixed target whose distance was known. Against an enemy in the field it was of little


1 This shell, called the Mullane or Tennessee shell, was the invention of Dr. Read of Tuscaloosa, Ala., the well-known inventor of what are usually but improperly called Parrott shell. Parrott made the best guns adapted to these shell, and the gun properly goes by his name, but Dr. Read's invention of the shell cannot be questioned. His first patent was granted Oct. 28, 1856, and specifies cupped cylinders fastened on to the shell by screws, rivets, &c. A patent was refused the Mullane shell by the Confederate Patent Office, on the ground that it was anticipated by this patent of Dr. Read. The modifications and improvements on this shell, described further on, also all fell under Dr. Read's patent.

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