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or place of confinement, it is very difficult to inflict any additional punishment. How much better therefore it would have been to have summoned at once what is termed a drum-head Court Martial, and sentenced the culprit to receive a few lashes : for it appears to me, that it is desirable, particularly in military affairs, and in order to make a much stronger impression on spectators, that offenders should always be punished as soon after the offence as possible.
The Americans follow nearly the same mode of enlisting as we do, except that a Jury will release a man who has been enlisted, either when drunk, or through unfair means. However, as the English are a free nation, they will no doubt adopt the same equitable practice. ... In the manufacture of small arms, the Americans have already made, and are still continuing to make, very great improvements. Some of their last-made muskets appeared to me superior to ours: particularly as they were all double-sighted, without which contrivance, any great accuracy in firing is impossible. In the rifles they furnish to their army, they far excel us; not only because the rifles are made on a better principle, but chiefly from the greater pains that are taken in the construction, and arrrangement of the sights. Before a rifle is sent from any of the factories, it is tried frequently at a mark; and if it be not found to throw the ball with accuracy it is altered; after
which the sights are adjusted with admirable nicety and precision.
Manufactories for small arms are established in different States of the Union, and supported by the Government. The two principal ones are at Springfield in Massachusetts, and at Harper's Ferry in Virginia, at both which places the workmen employed are the best that can be obtained. Ainong a variety of very curious and useful machines that have been adopted for assisting labour, I was most struck with one that is made use of to türn the gun-stocks; and I can see no reason why the same principle might not be applied to the turning of wooden busts, as well as to a thousand other purposes. An iron model of the gun-stock called “ a former ” directs, while revolving, a small cutting instrument, which in a short time fashions the piece of wood placed in the machine into a complete stock for a musket, with the exception of hollowing out the place to receive the barrel and the lock. All the musket-stocks of the United States' army are made by this machine, which might certainly be used in dock-yards to the greatest possible advantage.
Another very ingenious machine forms musketbullets by mere compression. There are two wheels of steel, the circumferences of which are pierced with small cups, each of sufficient size to contain half a musket-bullet. These cups are close to one another, and have at the bottom a very
small hole to allow the escape of the air, which would otherwise prevent the lead from completely filling the cavity. A small strip of lead, some_ what thicker than the diameter of a musket-bullet, is introduced between the circumferences of the wheels, which nearly touch one another, and which by revolving force it into the cups, from whence it afterwards falls out on the opposite side in the shape of complete spheres. - There are two very great advantages in the bullets formed by this machine. First, they have not that small cavity in their interior, which cannot be got rid of in those that are cast, and which varies according to the heat of the lead. Secondly, the compressed bullets are heavier than those of a larger size made in the common manner. Moreover, from both these reasons, the flight of the bullet is rendered mucli more accurate.
On observing the annexed diagram it will immediately strike the reader that the machine acts upon the same principle as the cylinders employed in our Dock-yards for rolling copper.
A. Ai the two steel wheels. B. B: the cups in the circumferences of the wheels. C. the small bar of lead.
The musket barrels are all browned like those of the English, as are also the bayonets, with the exception of a few inches from the point. Experiments are making to ascertain whether locks on the percussion principle cannot be applied to small arms, and it seems probable that these locks, will soon be adopted.
“ It is estimated that the cost of muskets this year will be about two dollars per stand less than in 1817. The quality of the arms, now manu, factured, is greatly superior to those made in 1817.” “ The introduction of labour-saving-machinery has effected, not only a reduction of expense, but more perfect workmanship, and a more exact system of uniformity.”
“ The arms now made are considered to be worth at least 20 per cent. more than those made in 1817."* " The muskets manufactured at the national armouries in 1817, were then estimated to have cost 13 dollars 90 cents.
“ The contract-price at that period was 14 dollars.
“ In 1821 the arms made are estimated at 12 dollars 51} cents.
“ Difference between average of 1817 and 1821 1 dollar 39 cents.
“ The average cost of the arms made this year, it is believed, will not exceed 12 dollars.” *
. * Documents accompanying the President's Message of 1822, pages 36 and 37.
- The Militia being the force on which the United States chiefly rely for defence, every citizen is obliged to be enrolled in it from the age of eighteen to forty-five, and to go armed to the musters in order to be drilled. These musters take place four or five times a-year, for a day at a time; and every one who is not present, and cannot give a satisfactory reason for his absence, is fined five dollars.' Of course all persons holding offices under the Government, or having rank in the army or navy, are exempt. In consequence of this admirable institution, every individual is armed, and is sufficiently a soldier, to turn out at a moment's warning, and defend his country from an enemy. More over, it is a circumstance well worthy of remark, and perhaps of imitation, that each regiment of Militia chooses its own officers.
As the officers are the only persons obliged to be in uniform at the Militia Musters, the rest of the soldiers are in their ordinary dresses, and the long coats, short coats, and jackets, being all mixed together present a motley and laughable appearance. Of course however this does not diminish the utility of the institution: for as Napoleon said, when speaking of the King of Prussia : “I soon convinced him, that the fate of a battle did not depend on the cut of a jacket, or on the arrangement of a row of buttons.” The Militiamen of the Western States generally appear in their hunting shirts, a dress that is very becoming.