War of the Rebellion: Serial 047 Page 0388 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

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yesterday with success, loading, however, very slowly. It is a pity artillery officers who directed trial (first one) had not Blakely's instructions to follow.


ORDNANCE BUREAU, Richmond, October 3, 1863.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, C. S. Army:

GENERAL: In reference to the accompanying letter of General Beauregard,* which is respectfully returned, I have the honor to remark that the subject of fuses has constantly received the anxious attention of the Ordnance Department. All representations from the field receive prompt notice, and when any imperfection is suggested it is remedied as soon as possible.

The first intimation of complaint of fuses at Charleston was conveyed in the following telegram, received on the 18th of August, from General Beauregard:

Our mortar and columbiad fuses are wretchedly bad. Cannot reliable ones be sent with messenger?

Orders were given on the same day to the Richmond Arsenal to send 5,000 fresh fuses, and the reports show that these were forwarded next day by mail train to Charleston.

Whenever any imperfection is discovered, intelligent information is required, in order to correct the defect. This has not been furnished from Charleston, although repeatedly applied for. No even the remote cause of imperfection has been indicated.

A competent officer, on special service at Charleston, writes:

I have already examined the subject of fuses, and have reported to General Beauregard all that I could ascertain. The complaints of officers are so indefinite-merely saying that the fuses were "bad," without any specification-that little could be learned from them. My own opinion, after careful examination and testing of various fuses, is that the fault is with the officer and not with the fuse.

An officer of experience, just returned from Charleston, stated to me verbally that great carelessness was evident in the firing from Fort Moultire, and that there was apparently little care taken to obtain accuracy. What is really wanted is a more intelligent use by artillery officers of the best resources at present commanded by the Ordnance Department, and a hearty co-operation in pointing out and correcting defects in ammunition or arms.

The bursting of the heavy rifled guns is not sufficiently explained by the character of the metal, as General Beauregard supposes. The cast-iron of these guns was entirely satisfactory, and their premature destruction is due to the constant heavy charges with which they have been fired. But the same excuse cannot be made for the bursting of the 600-pounder imported Blakely gun. The destruction of this formidable gun was due to a want of forethought, unpardonable in an officer as experienced as General Ripley, as appears from the following telegram, just received from Captain Harding (October 3), as to remaining gun:

Colonel Yates yesterday fired large Blakely gun with charges from 30 to 55 pounds powder, 470 pound shell, with perfect success; elevation, 2@; gave range 1 1/4 miles; cartridge in front of brass chamber.

*See Beauregard to Cooper, September 16, 1863, p. 365.