extra number was issued with each packet of cartridges until the use of fulminate could be resumed.
In view of the scarcity of leather, and almost absolute lack of india-rubber, extensive use was made of heavy cotton cloth, for some purposes in double or quadruple thicknesses heavily stitched together, treated with one or more coats of drying oil. Sheets of such cloth were issued to the men in the field for sleeping on damp ground, and belts, bridle reins and cartridge-boxes were made in whole or in part of the same material.
answered best for making this cloth, and much was imported through the blockade, but it was eked out to some extent by fish oil
, a fishery being established on the Cape Fear river
to procure it, while the fish were in part utilized for the food of operatives.
In spite of the difficulties to be overcome and the constantly urgent pressure for immediate production of results, the work of the Confederate
Ordnance Department was able to boast of some useful new experiments and some improvements.
One of the most notable of these was the method of steaming the mixed materials for gunpowder just before incorporation in the cylinder mills, which was invented and brought into use by Col. Rains
, and which very greatly increased the capacity of the mills for work, besides improving the quality of the powder.
As other examples may be mentioned the casting of shells with polygonal cavities, securing the bursting into a determinate number of pieces, ingenious devices for the ignition of time fuses for the shells of rifled guns, etc. As giving some idea of the scale on which the current work of the arsenal was done, the following statement may be quoted from a paper written by Genl. Gorgas
after the war. The principal issues from the Richmond
arsenal from July 1st, 1861 to January 1st, 1865, including work done by the Tredegar Company
and by outside contractors, were:
|341||Columbiads and siege guns.|
|1,306||Field pieces (including captured guns repaired).|
|6,852||Sets of artillery harness.|