But few the others were used, and they did not give satisfaction. The explosion of a shell was generally insured when striking against a vertical wall, but it was by no means so certain when entering rubbish or broken masonry, which the walls of Sumter soon became, or mounds of earth or sand, as the defends of Wagner, unless the projectile struck very fair, point foremost. The slightest cause, it was found, would deflect a rifle projectile when striking upon earth or sand, and, when deflected, it almost invariably failed to explode.
In our firing upon the sand parapets and traverses of Wagner, a rifle projectile would bound off when a spherical one would be arrested in its fight, the rifle shot almost always making on e high bound after striking, and turning and ever end.
The great number o shells which failed to explode in our firing from this cause plainly indicated the advantages that would be derived from a fuse so constructed as to insure an explosion however the projectile might strike.
A violent gale which prevailed for three days exhibited most satisfactorily the constancy of range of these guns. The 10-inch was just perceptibly affected by it; the 8-inch felt it more, but was not seriously disturbed; the 100-pounders varied more than the rest, but the deviation was not so great but that good work was obtained from them during the whole of it.
There seemed to be causes slightly affecting the range of a gun for the same elevation during different parts of the day which could not be trace deicer to the powder, or the projectile, or the manner of serving the guns; also two guns of the same caliber in the same battery would with the same elevation vary in range. This difference was more constant.
The 10-inch required a little greater elevation to attain the same range than the 8-inch, but was more accurate. It was mounted on an iron carriage, with a center pintle chassis, and worked with great ease and facility. Steps were cut in the parapet upon which Nos. 1 and 2 were mounted to load; the projectiles were carried on hand barrows.
Unfortunately, it was disabled, soon after opening fire, by a premature explosion of a shell near its muzzle, which blew off abut 18 inches of its length. It was repaired at the suggestion and under the supervision of Captain Gray, Seventh Connecticut, the battery commander, who was a skillful mechanic, by chipping off the bands for a distance beyond the fractures, and enlarging the diameter of the bore this distance from an eighth to a quarter of an inch. This left a band of iron, as it were, around the muzzle. The gun was fired three hundred and seventy times, after this, without any appreciable difference in the range or accuracy being noticed. Subsequently it was completely disabled by continued premature explosions of shells.
The iron used in the manufacture of this gun is of a superior quality, and I see no reason, if it had not been for this accident, which can be guarded against in future, why it would not have endured for 1,000 or 1,500 rounds, in which case it appears to be the perfection of a heavy rifled gun. No one could witness its performance during the bombardment of Sumter, and notice the terrible crushing effect of its huge projectiles upon the masonry of that place, the ease with which it was worked, and its remarkable accuracy at a distance of 2 1/2 miles, without being filled with admiration and wonder.
Iron carriages of the Ordnance and Parrott pattern were used and