It was a matter of indifference as to how large or how small the pieces of the case became.
In the use of this new form of shell for the 6-, 12-, 24-, and 32-pounders, the cavities were completely filled with powder.
Musket or rifle powder always gave the best results with the 6-pounder, and fine-grained cannon powder was suitable for the others.
The Federal artillery paid the Confederate
service the compliment of appreciating the improvements in shells, and in 1867, General Henry L. Abbot
, of the Corps
of Engineers, in a report on siege-ordnance used during the war, stated that there were two improvements in mortar-shells introduced by the Confederates
which, in his judgment, should be adopted into the United States
He did not state who was responsible for the innovations in the Confederate
service, but the reference was to the shells perfected by Colonel Mallet
and to the providing of certain mortar-shells with ears, to permit greater ease of handling.
Many failures of the Confederate artillery were attributed by their officers to defective ammunition, yet they unanimously pronounced the service of their Ordnance Department, which supplied it, to be the best possible under the circumstances.
To illustrate the difficulties under which the department labored, it may be remembered that all the operations had to be organized from the foundation.
Waste had to be prevented, and a system of accounting established.
The raw troops had no conception of the value of ammunition, and frequently it was lost or damaged through neglect.
Although the Confederate armies were never in condition to use ammunition as lavishly as the Federals
, the supply never failed in great emergencies, and no disaster has been attributed to its scarcity; and, in fact, whatever scarcity there was must be attributed principally to the inability of the army to carry it, and not to the inability of the Ordnance Department to supply it in sufficient quantities.