Southern Historical Society Papers.
Vol. XXXVII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1909.
Work of the Ordnance Bureau of the war Department of the Confederate States, 1861-5.
By J. W. Mallet, ex-Lieut. Col. of Artillery and Superintendent of Confederate States Ordnance Laboratories.
President Jefferson Davis
bluntly stated the truth when he wrote that ‘it soon became evident to all that the South
had gone to war without counting the cost.
Our chief difficulty was the want of arms and munitions of war.’
In the interval between the election and the inauguration of President Lincoln
, when one Southern State after another was withdrawing from the Union
, men's minds were full of rapidly passing political events, and much doubt was felt as to whether there would be a war; certainly but few looked forward to war on so great a scale, or to be waged for so many years, as actually took place.
As soon as it became clear to the authorities of the newly established Confederate States
' government that an armed conflict was inevitable, they must have been alarmed at the terrible lack of material preparation for it at the South
In the arsenals of the United States
within Confederate limits there were 120,000 muskets (for the most part altered from flint-lock to percussion), besides some 12,000 or 15,000 rifles, and with some arms belonging to the individual States, it may be set down that about 150,000 serviceable fire-arms for infantry were available.
There were a considerable number of heavy sea-coast guns at the fortified sea ports, and others were seized on board men-of-war at Norfolk
and among the stores of the Norfolk
But there was no serviceable field artillery except a few old iron guns of 1812 and a few more modern pieces belonging