muzzle-loading artillery and hand rifles, paper cartridges and separate percussion caps
To produce on a large scale even such equipment as this involved in the Southern States
, shut out from free commerce with the rest of the world, most formidable difficulties arising from dearth of materials, machinery and skilled labor.
As regards the materials for making gun powder, search was made for nitre earth, and considerable quantities were obtained from caves in Tennessee
and North Alabama
, as also from old buildings, cellars, plantation quarters and tobacco barns.
Col. I. M. St. John
was, in 1862, given separate charge of this work, and developed it systematically on a large scale.
He also established artificial ‘nitre beds’ at Columbia
and Charleston, S. C.
and Savannah, Ga.
and Mobile, Ala.
, and elsewhere.
The end of the war had come before these beds had become ‘ripe’ enough to be leached, but it was estimated that by that time they already contained some three or four million pounds of salt-petre.
In fact, much the larger part of the nitre used at the Augusta
powder mill came in through the blockade.
Sulphur was early secured, as there were found at New Orleans several hundred tons intended for use in sugar making.
For the third ingredient of powder, namely charcoal, recourse was had chiefly to cottonwood (mainly populus heterophylla
) from the banks of the Savannah river
It was abundant, and gave an excellent product.
Lead was obtained from the ore of Wythe county, Va.
, from the gleanings of the battle fields, and quite largely from the collection throughout the country of window weights, lead pipe, cistern linings, etc. Small lead smelting works were set up at Petersburg, Va.
, and under the direction of Dr. Piggott
, formerly of Baltimore
, not only was the ore from Wythe county
and a few other points reduced, but even some progress was made in desilverization by the Pattinson process, several tons of enriched lead being set aside, which, however, before cupellation, had to be sent as bullets to the field under one of the sudden urgent demands for ammunition.
Much lead was also brought from abroad through the blockade.
A moderate amount of sheet copper was found at Cleveland, Tenn.
, produced from the Ducktown ore,