The few muskets remaining in the hands of the government in 1861 were used to equip the troops who left first for the seat of war. Then manufacturing began on an immense scale.
The government workshops could not produce a tithe of what were wanted, even though running night and day; and so private enterprise was called in to supplement the need.
As one illustration, Grover
turned their extensive sewing-machine
workshop into a rifle-manufactory, which employed several hundred hands, and this was only one of a large number in that section.
, of South Boston
, poured the immense molten masses of his cupolas into the moulds of cannon, and his massive steam-hammers pounded out and welded the ponderous shafts of gunboats and monitors.
The descendants of Paul Revere
diverted a part of their yellow metal from the mills which rolled it into sheathing for government ships, to the founding of brass twelve-pounders, or Napoleons, as they were called; and many a Rebel was laid low by shrapnel or canister hurled through the muzzle of guns on which was plainly stamped “Revere Copper Co., Canton, Mass.
” Plain smooth-bore Springfield
muskets soon became Springfield rifles, and directly the process of rifling was applied to cannon of various calibres.
Then, muzzle-loading rifles became breech-loading; and from a breech-loader for a single cartridge the capacity was increased, until some of the cavalry regiments that took the field in 1864 went equipped with Henry
's sixteen-shooters, a breech-loading rifle, which the Rebels
said the Yanks loaded in the morning and fired all day.
I met at Chattanooga, Tenn.
, recently, Captain Fort, of the old First Georgia Regulars, a Confederate regiment of distinguished service.
In referring to these repeating rifles, he said that his first encounter with them was near Olustee, Fla.
While he was skirmishing with a Massachusetts regiment (the Fortieth), he found them hard to move, as they seemed to load with marvellous speed, and never to have their