Scholars and historians have long debated the cause of the Mother of American Family Feuds: the American Civil War. Well, after over seven years of research into the blackpowder sharpshooter, I've discovered why and I share it with you now.
"Fort Foote was the largest and most complete earthwork that was built for the defense of Washington, and I believe it is still standing. It commanded the approaches by the river for several miles, and its great guns would make it exceedingly difficult for an enemy to get past it. There had never been such large guns mounted before as it contained, and it seemed to me that the soldiers (it took three or four hundred at a time) would never be able to get them up the bluff and into position. The balls fired from them were so heavy that I couldn't even turn one over on the ground, each weighing 500 pounds, and required 100 pounds of powder to fire them. When fired, the men were instructed to raise on their toes and open their mouths to lessen the effect of the concussion.
One day there came down the President, Secretary of War, and several general officers and distance measurements had been made for the first experiment; about two miles below. The men had practiced until they felt sure of their aim. Just as the party were assembling to witness the smashing of the target with one of the great balls, the colonel was astonished and chagrined to see through his glass a small party of rebels row out from the shore, cut the anchor ropes, and quickly tow the target around the bend of the river out of sight; so the firing had to be made at other objects of an unmeasured distance."
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