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Steam-Battery

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1094, pp. 575-576.

June 22, 1861

STEAM-BATTERY.

A Steam-Gun, which, it is said, will cast from 100 to 500 balls per minute, has just been made by Mr. Winans, of Baltimore. This gun was seized by Colonel Jones, of the Massachusetts Volunteers, when on its way from Baltimore to the Secessionist camp at Harper's Ferry, and has since been used in protecting the viaduct at the Washington Junction on the Baltimore branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The merits of the steam-gun are thus summed up by its inventor, Mr. Dickinson:—"As a triumph of inventive genius in the application and practical demonstration of centrifugal force this most


Page 576

efficient engine stands without a parallel, commanding wonder and admiration at the simplicity of its construction and the destructiveness of its effects, and is eventually destined to inaugurate a new era in the science of war. Rendered ballproof, and protected by an iron cone, and mounted on a four-wheeled carriage, it can be readily moved from place to place or kept on march with an army. It can be constructed to discharge missiles of any capacity, from an ounce ball to a 24lb. shot, with a force and range equal to the most approved gunpowder projectiles, and can discharge from 100 to 500 balls per minute. For city or harbour defence it would prove more efficient than the largest battery. For use on the battle-field the musket-calibre engine would mow down opposing troops as the scythe mows standing grain; and in sea-fights, mounted on low-decked steamers, it would be capable of sinking any ordinary war-vessel. In addition to the advantages of power, continuous action, and velocity of discharge, may be added economy in cost of construction, in space, labour, and transportation, all of which would be small in comparison to the cost and working of batteries of cannon and the equipment and management of a proportionate force of infantry."

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