Short Takes

by Fred Ray on September 11, 2006 · 0 comments

Just back from a long drive to Petersburg and back for their sharpshooter weekend. Not much chance to take photos. I’m off tomorrow for CWRT presentations in Pensacola and Panama City.

Some items of interest in the September issue of Civil War News (not online, unfortunately).

One article (“Projectiles Destroyed After Civil War Injury”) gives more details of an accident I linked to earlier, where a Parrot shell exploded, severely injuring Lawrence Christopher in Dalton, GA. According to the article, shells are typically drilled underwater, but in spite of precautions about one shell in 500 explodes. New information indicates that the explosions are due not to the original black powder, “but as the result of a complex chemical reaction in iron shells that at one time were permeated by water while buried for years underground. The explosion occurs with the sudden release of hydrogen gas under pressure when the drill bit breaks through the cast iron shell casing.”

My sincere best wishes for Mr. Christopher’s recovery.

I mentioned earlier about the popularity of ghost tours in Gettysburg after dark. Apparently they are not so popular with residents. “Too Many Ghosts” quotes the Gettysburg Times that a number of people have complained about the number of people and the guides who giving their spiels loud enough to wake the living residents, if not the dead.

In another brief item, Nancy Gumstead, who owns the Schriver House museum on Baltimore St. in Gettysburg, reports that a police delective, Lt. Nicholas Paonessa of the Niagara Falls Police Dept., has reported confirming blood samples in the house’s attic, where at least one Confederate sharpshooter was said to have been killed on July 2, 1863. The next step is to attempt a DNA analysis, which will be quite interesting if it works. Only two soldiers of the 5th Alabama are listed as being wounded that day (none killed). Both survived but were left behind in the hospital when the army retreated.


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