The Gun Club

DuringtheWaroftheRebellion,anewandinfluentialclubwasestablishedinthecityofBaltimoreintheStateofMaryland.Itiswellknownwithwhatenergythetasteformilitarymattersbecamedevelopedamongthatnationofship-owners,shopkeepers,andmechanics.Simpletradesmenjumpedtheircounterstobecomeextemporizedcaptains,colonels,andgenerals,withouthavingeverpassedtheSchoolofInstructionatWestPoint;nevertheless;theyquicklyrivaledtheircompeersoftheoldcontinent,and,likethem,carriedoffvictoriesbydintoflavishexpenditureinammunition,money,andmen.

ButthepointinwhichtheAmericanssingularlydistancedtheEuropeanswasinthescienceofgunnery.Not,indeed,thattheirweaponsretainedahigherdegreeofperfectionthantheirs,butthattheyexhibitedunheard-ofdimensions,andconsequentlyattainedhithertounheard-ofranges.Inpointofgrazing,plunging,oblique,orenfilading,orpoint-blankfiring,theEnglish,French,andPrussianshavenothingtolearn;buttheircannon,howitzers,andmortarsaremerepocket-pistolscomparedwiththeformidableenginesoftheAmericanartillery.

Thisfactneedsurprisenoone.TheYankees,thefirstmechaniciansintheworld,areengineersjustastheItaliansaremusiciansandtheGermansmetaphysiciansbyrightofbirth.Nothingismorenatural,therefore,thantoperceivethemapplyingtheiraudaciousingenuitytothescienceofgunnery.WitnessthemarvelsofParrott,Dahlgren,andRodman.

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