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[108] loose in the chest and applied to any shell at the moment it was needed, so that just as many shells could be made ‘percussion’ as the gunner wished. This perfection of the fuse, however, was only reached during the fall of 1864, and before that period the percussionshell had a fuse-plug specially fitted to it at the arsenal, and the supply furnished was very small.

The scarcity and bad quality of our rifle-ammunition gave security to the enemy on many occasions where he could have been seriously annoyed, if not materially damaged. When Bragg invested Chattanooga, in October 1863, the Confederate guns with good ammunition could have reached every foot of Grant's crowded camps, and with an abundance of it could have made them untenable. The effort which was made only showed how much demoralization and harm an effective shelling might have accomplished. In many other instances the Confederate artillery was amiable and forbearing by force of necessity, one illustration of which will be sufficient. At Bermuda Hundreds the enemy erected a signal-tower of open frame-work, about a hundred and twenty feet high, from the top of which the Confederate lines were impudently overlooked. What could be seen from it was very little, and it probably was never the cause of any harm; but as it was only 2,500 yards from Confederate ground, the artillery were very anxious to demolish it, and preparations were made to do so. A thousand rounds of good percussion-shell would doubtless have accomplished it easily, but some experimental firing in preparation for the attempt showed so very great a proportion of defective shell that it was abandoned.

A few of the favorite English rifled guns were brought through the blockade, and used in the Army of Northern Virginia, comprising the Clay, Whitworth, Blakely, and Armstrong shunt-pattern. The Clay gun was a breech-loader, and was called an improvement upon the breech-loading Armstrong, which was manufactured for the English Government only, and could not be obtained. Its grooving and projectiles were very similar to the breech-loading Armstrong, and its breech-loading arrangements appeared simpler and of greater strength. On trial, however, it failed in every particular. Every projectile fired ‘tumbled’ and fell nearer the gun than the target, and at the seventh round the solid breech-piece was cracked through and the gun disabled.

One muzzle-loading six-pounder and six breech-loading twelvepounder Whitworths were distributed through the army, and often rendered valuable service by their great range and accuracy. They

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