91st PA: Justice rifles

Problems with the Justice arms initially issued to the 91st Pennsylvania

[see weapons]
Letter of the Secretary of War, transmitting in answer to a resolution of the Senate, a copy of the report of the commission on ordnance and ordnance stores made to the War Department. 17 July 1862. Serial Set volume 1123, session volume 6, 37th Congress, 2d session, Senate Executive Document Number 72
'Sabre bayonet rifles', North American 17 September 1862 page 2

The Secretary of War's letter includes three reports about the 91st:
letter, 9 April 1862, John Buford to Major T Talbot
letter, 16 April 1862, Brig Gen'l James S Wadsworth to Chief of Ordnance Corps Washington DC
letter, 4 May 1862, R Jones to Brig Gen'l L Thomas

[Letter of the Secretary of War, transmitting in answer to a resolution of the Senate, a copy of the report of the commission on ordnance and ordnance stores made to the War Department. 17 July 1862. Serial Set volume 1123, session volume 6, 37th Congress, 2d session, Senate Executive Document Number 72]

[page 5, part of a report dated 19 April 1862 from the Ordnance Office, Washington DC]

P. S. Justice has delivered several kinds of arms bearing different names, none of which are recorded in this office as "rifled muskets," under the order for 4,000, although some of them may have been delivered under that order. The fact will be ascertained and communicated to the commissioners.

[page 132 ]
P. S. JUSTICE, Philadelphia, Pa.--1,000 Whitney revolvers, August 21, 1861.

This contract was made with P. S. Justice by Major P. V. Hagner, and his authority for making contracts and purchases will be found in the letter from the Ordnance office to the Secretary of War of August 5, 1861, and which forms a portion of part 6 of these papers.

[page 434]

CASE No. 95.
P. S. JUSTICE, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.--700 rifles, with sword bayonets, August 12, 1861.

Washington, July 13, 1861.

SIR: Mr. Philip S. Justice, of Philadelphia, will deliver to you, at Frankford arsenal, 1,000 rifles of the Enfield pattern, with sword bayonets. These rifles have been purchased by this department, to be taken and paid for, provided they are found, on inspection, to be good, serviceable arms, and fit, in all respects, for use in the field. You will please have these arms inspected, and furnish Mr. Justice with certificates of inspection, and with receipts for as many as are approved. The sword bayonets have leather scabbards with iron mountings. A sample will be sent to you from here.

Respectfully, &c.,

Brevet Brigadier General.
[To] Lieutenant T. J. TREADWELL.
Frankford Arsenal.

[page 435]

P.S. JUSTICE, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.--4,000 foreign rifled muskets, calibre .69, August 17, 1861.

FRANKFORD ARSENAL, August 13, 1861.

GENERAL: I have the honor to state that I have accepted the proposal of Mr. Justice, of Philadelphia, to furnish the United States 1,000 rifles, calibre .58, with sword bayonets--500 to be delivered in ten days, and the balance by the 1st of September--at the rate of $20 apiece, and $1 50 for packing boxes, to be inspected after a sample furnished. These, I think, are fine arms, and, in my opinion, much the best I have yet seen offered at so low a price.

I also enclose a proposition of Mr. Justice to furnish rifle muskets, calibre .69, and sabres. I have examined a sample of the musket, and it is a good, serviceable arm, calibre .69, clasp bayonet, long-range sight, original percussion barrel, and well finished. I think it would be desirable to secure these arms. Mr. Justice's proposition is explicit in point of time and numbers, and I respectfully submit it for your decision.

Some of the arms furnished by Mr. Ponder have no half cock; equal to the sample in other respects. Shall these be received or rejected?

Respectfully, &c.,

First Lieutenant of Ordnance.
[To] General J. W. RIPLEY,
Ordnance Office, Washington D.C.

PHILADELPHIA, August 12, 1861.

I propose to supply the Ordnance department of the United States with 4,000 rifled muskets, calibre .69 of an inch, similar in style and finish to the sample deposited with you, at $20 each.

In all the month of September I will deliver 1,000, and each month thereafter, until 1st January, 1862, I will deliver 1,000 of the above arms.

I will also engage to supply at least 500 cavalry sabres of best finish, subject to government inspection and approval, at $6 75 each, provided an order for at least 5,000 shall be given me at one time. If it is necessary that an increased quantity be produced each week, it can be done. I will want about two to three weeks' notice in commencing these sabres.

I have, to arrive by the steamer of 4th August from Southampton, six hundred and eighty (680) rifles of the Chasseur de Vincennes new pattern. They have the peculiar style of sabre blade usually attached to such arms, and are such as shown you. The barrels are thirty-one inches long, and the calibre, as usual, about .60 of an inch. These I will sell in bond at ($22 50) twenty dollars [sic] and fifty cents each. I shall have the same quantity, probably, shipped by steamer of 1st September, but of this I am not positively advised.

Very respectfully, &c.,

[to] Lieutenant T. J. TREADWELL.

ORDNANCE OFFICE, Washington, May 20, 1862.

SIR: In July and August last Lieutenant Treadwell was authorized to purchase 4,500 rifles and rifled muskets from P. S. Justice, of Philadelphia. In addition to these, many other arms of various kinds have been purchased from the same party. Complaints have reached me that some of the arms thus purchased from this person are not serviceable arms. I deem it my duty to withhold the payment of one of his vouchers, amounting to $19,071 25, until the matter could be investigated.

[page 436]

I now respectfully submit all the papers I have received on the subject, some of which are so conflicting, as to the number of arms reported upon, that I am induced to suggest that the whole matter be referred to the commission on contracts, who are able to take testimony, and therefore adjudicate the account of Mr. Justice on equitable terms.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier General.
[To] Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
A true copy.
Chief Clerk.
Referred to commission on ordnance by order of the Secretary of War.
Assistant Secretary.

Headquarters 58th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

SIR: I have the honor to report that the arms furnished to my regiment at Philadelphia prove, on trial, to be to a large extent, if not all, more or less defective.

From personal inspection, and the reports of the captains of my companies, I find that the sights are merely soldered on, though showing imitation screwheads, and come off at the gentlest handling. The screws to secure the locks are, many of them, merely stuck in, without sufficient thread, and fall out when the pieces are discharged. Many of the hammers, from weakness of the mainsprings or other causes, will not explode.

On the whole, I believe that an inspection of the arms by a competent ordnance officer would result in the condemnation of the whole issue.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel 58th Regiment.
[to] General RIPLEY.

FORT MONROE ARSENAL, VA., March 20, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with verbal orders received from you, I have visited Camp Hamilton and inspected the arms of the 58th regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers, stationed at that post.

This regiment is armed with rifled muskets marked on the barrel "P.S. Justice, Philadelphia," and vary in calibre from .65 to .70.

I find many of them unserviceable and irreparable, from the fact that the principal parts are defective. Many of them are made up of parts of muskets to which the stamp of condemnation has been affixed by an inspecting officer. In many cases there is evidence of an attempt having been made to obliterate the letters "C" and "R." None of the stocks have ever been approved by an officer, nor do they bear the initials of any inspector. They are made of soft, unseasoned wood, and are defective in construction. A few of the barrels have been in service before, and bear the usual marks "V.P." and "U.S." Most of the rest, however, abound in flaws, and the rifling in nearly all is but a poor attempt. The grooves extend, in many cases, but a few inches from the muzzle, leaving the remainder of the barrel with a smooth bore. The sights are merely soldered on the barrel and come off with the gentlest handling; imitation screw-heads are cut on their bases.

The bayonets are made of soft iron, and, of course, when once bent remain "set." In some instances where the bayonets have been marked "C" deep indentations have been made in the attempt to erase this letter.

[page 437]

The locks are of very poor construction--screws, springs, and swivels being unserviceable.

The guard-bows are insecurely fastened and can be separated from the stock with ease.

There are no band springs, and when the stock is dry the bands drop off.

The thread of the screw on the rammer, is improperly cut.

On account of the difference of calibre existing in these arms, it is impossible to supply them with suitable ammunition.

I would respectfully recommend that the entire issue of these arms be condemned, and that these facts be made known to the parties who made the contract.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Second Lieutenant of Ordnance.
[to] T. G. BAYLOR,
First Lieutenant of Ordnance.
Respectfully forwarded.

Fort Monroe, March 20, 1862.

Respectfully forwarded to the chief of ordnance, Washington, D.C., by command of Major General Wool.

Assistant Adjutant General.

Washington, March 24, 1862.

SIR: I have respectfully to request that you will cause payment to be stopped of the accounts of P.S. Justice, assigned to Drexel & Co. and G. M. Troutman, transmitted to you on the 28th ultimo and 19th instant, and of all previous accounts of Mr. Justice which may remain yet unpaid.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier General.
[To] E. B. FRENCH, Esq.,
Second Auditor.
True copy.
Chief Clerk.

[Special Order No. 18.]

Colonel Doubleday, of the 4th New York artillery, is hereby appointed inspector to inspect certain arms appertaining to the 88th Pennsylvania volunteers, and directed to report thereon to these headquarters without delay.

By order of Brigadier General A. Doubleday.

Acting Assistant Adjutant General.

Fort Carroll, March 25, 1862.

CAPTAIN: Pursuant to the above order, I held an inspection of the arms of the 88th regiment Pennsylvania volunteers March 24, 1862, and report as follows:

The arms which were manufactured at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, are of the

[page 438]

most worthless kind, and have the appearance of having been manufactured from old condemned muskets. Many of them burst, hammers break off, sights fall off when being discharged; the barrels are very light, not exceeding one-twentieth of an inch in thickness, and only rifled from four to nine inches from the muzzle: the stocks, many of them, are old ones newly mounted, and the balance made of green wood which has shrunk so as to leave the bands and trimmings loose; the bayonets are of so frail texture that they bend like lead, and many of them break off when going through the bayonet exercise. You could hardly conceive of such a worthless lot of arms; totally unfit for service, and dangerous to those using them.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

Colonel Fourth Regiment New York Artillery.
[To] Captain E. P. HALSTEAD,
Acting Assistant Adjutant General.

FRANKFORD ARSENAL, March 28, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to enclose herewith copies of statements of the inspection of rifles and rifle muskets received at this arsenal from Mr. P. S. Justice, of Philadelphia.

The bulk of these arms were inspected by Mr. Wilson, late foreman (I think) at Harper's Ferry armory, and after he left his situation here, the inspection was made by Mr. Thomas Daffin who had previously assisted Mr. Wilson.

These statements show the manner in which the inspection was made, and the opinion of the inspectors as to their serviceableness and fitness for use in the field. My instructions to them were, to inspect the arms and reject all that, in their opinion, were not good and serviceable, and in all respects fit for use in the field. Having entire confidence in their ability and integrity, I think these instructions were complied with.

These arms were offered to me at a time when the demand for arms (especially rifled arms) was most imperative, and it was deemed desirable to accept them to meet in part the pressing demand.

Comparing the arms with those of our own manufacture, none would pass inspection, and it was not supposed they should be subjected to any such standard, but that all that were passed on inspection would prove good and serviceable was believed.

Examining two boxes of these arms in store, I do not find them to have the radical defects complained of, nor can I account for the very different report of their inspection at Camp Hamilton, and that made to me by my inspectors--especially, I cannot understand how the arms should gauge correctly here, and be found there to vary between .65 and .70 inches in calibre. I find the sights are soldered on, but on tapping twenty of them with a hammer sufficiently hard to dent them, some were found to come off or were started.

The letters enclosed with yours of the 24th instant are herewith returned.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant.

First Lieutenant of Ordnance.
[To] General JAMES W. RIPLEY,
Chief of Ordnance, Washington, D.C.

[page 439]

Statement of Messrs. W. F. Wilson and Thomas Daffin, who inspected the rifles and rifled muskets received from Philip S. Justice, esq., of Philadelphia, at the Frankford arsenal.

BRIDESBURG, March 27, 1862.

DEAR SIR: The answer to your note of the 26th instant, in relation to the inspection of arms, rifle and rifle-musket, manufactured by Mr. Justice, is as follows:

1st. The bayonets were fitted on the guns.

2d. The bayonets were tested as follows: The angular, by springing them with the point on the floor; and the sword bayonet in a like manner, striking them occasionally over a round block.

3d. The ramrods were then examined to see that they were the proper length, and tapped to suit the appendages.

4th. The rifling of each barrel was examined, and the gun wiped out.

5th. The calibre of each barrel was tested by a parallel plug of proper size, which was passed through, all inspected by me.

6th. The vents were cleared, by exploding a cap or otherwise.

7th. The locks were examined, and found to be correct.

8th. The sights also examined, and found to be correct.

9th. The gun was then viewed, and, if no imperfections of sufficient importance were found, the guns were passed as serviceable.

I inspected some three thousands of these guns, referred to, and though they do not compare with the government standard, yet, in my opinion, every gun passed by me was in good condition, and, with proper care, is a safe and serviceable arm, and fit for use in the field.


[To] Lieutenant T. J. TREADWELL.

FRANKFORD ARSENAL, March 27, 1862.

SIR: At your request, I submit the following as a correct report of my inspection of the Justice arms:

The number inspected and received. . . .1,311
The number inspected and rejected. . . .392

The inspection was conducted in the following manner:

1st. The bayonets were fitted on the guns.

2d. The bayonets were tested as follows: The angular bayonets, by springing them with the point of the floor; and the sword bayonets by springing them, also striking them over a round block.

3d. The ramrod was then examined, to see that it was of the proper length, and that the screw fitted the appendages.

4th. The rifling was examined, and the gun wiped out.

5th. The calibre was gauged with a plug of the proper size.

6th. The vent was cleared, by exploding a cap on each gun.

7th. The locks were examined, and found to be correct.

8th. The sights were examined, and found to be correct.

9th. The gun was then viewed, and, if no imperfections were found in the stock or barrel, it would be passed as serviceable.

In my opinion, every gun that passed my inspection was in a good condition, and, with proper care, a safe and serviceable arm, and fit for use in the field.

[To] Lieutenant TREADWELL.

[page 440]

WASHINGTON, April 3, 1862.

SIR: I beg leave to inquire (as a creditor of the United States) whether it is possible for any department of this government to go behind, or annul, the certificates and vouchers of the regularly appointed officers of your department, when such certificates, or evidences of debt, have been given for arms or supplies received and inspected within the government arsenals and buildings?

I ask this question without any reference whatever to the position in which the government may be placed, and its consequent liability where fraud or collusion may have been discovered on the part of its sworn officers, after such certificates as I have above alluded to may have been issued. An early reply to my address as below will confer a favor on

Yours, very respectfully,

Willards' Hotel, Room 136.
[To] Brigadier General J. W. RIPLEY,
Chief of Ordnance, War Department.

FORT MONROE ARSENAL, VA., April 4, 1862.

SIR: I return herewith the papers respecting Justice's arms. Colonel Jones has turned all of his arms over to me, and I have issued the Austrian rifles to him in their stead. I do not think that any regiment would be satisfied to take these (Justice's) arms, although some of them may be very good. If Mr. Justice has not been paid for these arms yet, I would suggest that the whole issue be rigidly inspected, and that he be required to replace every defective musket.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

First Lieutenant of Ordnance, Comd'g.
[To] Brigadier General J. W. RIPLEY,
Chief of Ordnance, Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 9, 1862.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to instructions from Brigadier General Wadsworth, I inspected yesterday the arms in the hands of the 91st regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, and found that the regiment has 800 guns CALLED Enfield rifles, furnished to the government by P.S. Justice, of Philadelphia.

I examined about seventy of these guns that had become unserviceable from various causes, each one showing some defect in material or manufacture. Many had burst; many cones had been blown out; many locks were defective; many barrels were rough inside from imperfect boring, and many had different diameters of bore in the same barrel.

These guns have been in the hands of the regiment about four months, and have been fired but little. At practice, with blank cartridges, one gun burst. At target practice so many burst that the men became afraid to fire them. At present it is with difficulty that the men are made to charge their arms for guard duty; those who do load them throw away part of the powder.

These arms seem to have been gotten up in a hurry from old material, and altered without any reference to service or safety. Most of the guns have the United States old musket lock, and in many cases only one of the screws for attaching it to the gun is used. Judging from what I saw of the guns, I pronounce them unserviceable and unsafe.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Assistant Inspector General.
[To] Major T. TALBOT,
Assistant Adjutant General.

[page 441]

Washington, D.C., April 16, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a requisition for arms for Colonel Gregory's 91st regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, also a report of my inspector general on the arms now in the hands of that regiment. Companies of the regiment are now rendering efficient service, and I desire to see them well armed, that they may undertake with confidence the performance of any duty that may be required of them.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier General Commanding.
Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, April 26, 1862.

SIR: Acknowledging receipt of your favor of this date, with copies of report and letter relative to rifled muskets furnished by me to your department, I beg leave to state that when I submitted to your inspection in July last the rifled musket which I proposed to make, and which was subsequently deposited and now exists in the arsenal at Frankford, I had no expectation of being able to make any better arm than the one offered, and I well knew that none inferior to it would be accepted. Upon this sample the order was issued from your department bearing date of August 17, 1861, for "4,000 muskets, to be equal in all respects to the sample deposited."

As I progressed in my manufacturing I found I could make many improvements, all of which your ordnance officers at Frankford acknowledged as such, and many of which were suggested by them. These, I discovered, had very materially increased the cost, but as they also added greatly to their value in the field as an efficient arm, I continued these improvements, hoping to obtain compensation for the same, or at least a continuance of my contract. Upon application to Lieutenant Treadwell for increased compensation, I was told that no power was vested in him to make any such allowance, but nevertheless I did continue these improvements, hoping, as I stated, for at least an enlargement of my contract. To prove the integrity of my intentions, I carefully stamped each gun with my name and address.

You are well aware of what the emergencies of the times at the period of the issuing of the contract to me led the government to--accepting in the way of arms of all kinds. Although an importer and manufacturer of sporting guns and rifles for nearly twenty years, I had no experience in military work. After much cost, I made the arrangements to manufacture the style of musket of which I showed you the sample. Knowing that I could make such arms, I felt that if your judgment certified to its usefulness, although it might not meet all your requirements, I was safe in pushing my manufacture to the utmost extent. Your judgment, as expressed through your officers, approved of it, and the order was given, and to this judgment I have always deferred and conformed, because I knew it was the only safe rule for me to follow.

The original arm shown you (and which, as stated, yet remains in the arsenal) was composed of a United States musket barrel, (condemned for short length, I think,) a United States bayonet of the old model, and a United States flint lock altered to percussion. The rest of the parts were all new.

You are well aware of the difficulty which then existed in obtaining arms or any portion of arms, and no attempt was made on my part to conceal how the gun was made, for I at once, in reply to your inquiry, stated how I had become possessed of these parts, and showed you how I had made the alterations.

[page 442]

I now assert, however, that in no instance have I ever allowed any defective barrels or parts to be used which could in any way vitiate the safety or usefulness of the arms made by me. As a proof of which, I have now a large amount of material condemned by my direction as unfit to use in the work in which I was engaged. It is, perhaps, almost superfluous to say that barrels, bayonets, and locks, excepting such as I have described above, have been entirely unattainable until within the past few weeks. I allude to this merely to show that I have never attempted to disguise how I made my guns, and I believed that the best recommendation I could have for my guns was the fact that they were made in part of government work.

You were pleased to add to my contract an order for 1,000 rifles with sabre bayonets, and on the completion of this order, Lieutenant Treadwell believing it to be a still more effective and serviceable weapon than the musket, and having greater requisitions for this style of arm, urged me to continue in its manufacture, and deliver them, as far as able, in lieu of the muskets. I finally assented to this, although I discovered they were costing me about $2 50 each more than the musket; but hoping to find my remuneration in a continuance of my work, if I mistake not, I delivered 1,469 more rifles than I was bound to do, and for which I received only the same price as the muskets, although costing me in the aggregate $3,672 50 more; but it kept my men at work in hard winter.

My muskets I have never invoiced or called as Enfield muskets, as charged, nor have I ever compared them to the Springfield musket, which I hold to be the best military arm extant. I do say emphatically, however, that as a hand-made arm, it has been made by me honestly and conscientiously and as well as it could be made with the opportunities offered, and is far better than the model in all its parts. In summing up the charges made against me, therefore, I most emphatically declare--1. That it is entirely false that any musket ever made by me has been delivered to your department varying in calibre from 65/100 to 70/100 of an inch, as charged, as I have no machinery to make such variation unless at great expense, and therefore could not do it; and, further, because each barrel was twice gauged in my shops with standard gauges before the guns were packed for the arsenal; and, further, because many guns were returned to me for the fraction of 1/100 part of an inch difference in calibres, showing how close the inspection was.

2. I deny that in any instance has any attempt been made to deface the stamps of rejection on any parts of the guns used by me, and I assert that in no instance have I allowed any imperfect or defective parts to be used where the strength or usefulness of the gun could be impaired by so doing.

4. [sic] I deny that I have ever used any other wood for the stocks than such as usually employed by the government, and that I have always taken especial care to purchase and use only the best seasoned stocks for which I have uniformly paid much higher prices than are paid by the government.

5. I deny that I have ever used barrels which have been in the service, as charged.

6. I utterly deny that I have ever made any muskets in which "the rifling was only cut for a few inches down from the muzzle," as charged, "and leaving the rest of the barrel smooth." I have no machinery which will do such work, and it could only be done at an extra expense; and the party making the charge must be extremely ignorant of gun-making, to believe that it can be readily effected. Each barrel was carefully examined twice before it was stocked. The unfairness of this charge is apparent.

7. I deny that "the sights will come off with the gentlest handling," as charged, but I fully acknowledge to the soldering of them (or the larger part of them) to the barrel by Lieutenant Treadwell's instruction; because both he and I knew it to be by far the safest and strongest (although not the cheapest way)

[page 443]

to secure the sights. The Enfield sights and most of those on other European arms are soldered on, for the simple reason that the single screw used to fasten the sight to the barrel is almost sure to loosen after repeated discharges; and when the screw is pressed down hard into the barrel, unless the utmost precision is used in the length of the screw and the tapping of the barrel, a small lump will be raised upon the inside of the barrel. Further, the tapping of the barrel weakens it, and when a hidden flaw exists it is apt to make the "lead" which often causes the gun to burst. I have tried, and the ordnance officers have tried in my presence, to break off these soldered sights, but have only been able to do so after we had destroyed them. The charge that I have cut a false screwhead on the plug used to fill up the countersink in the base of the sight, by which it is usually attached to the barrel, is on a par with the charge of soldering. There is a screw-head on this plug, and if the investigation had been pushed further, it would have been found that this plug had been originally a screw, and that the stem had been cut off, and merely the head soldered into the countersink to fill the hold neatly, in place of closing it up with solder. This whole charge seems to have been made without any real investigation or thought, and certainly without much knowledge.

8. I deny that "the bayonets are soft iron, and bend like lead," as charged. Each bayonet is a government-made bayonet, condemned for pattern only, being the old style lock bayonet, instead of the clasp bayonet now used. Each one has been tested by me, and afterwards still more seriously tested by your inspectors at the arsenal, as I know by the quantity returned, much to my cost. This charge of making them of soft iron has no more of truth or fairness in it than the rest, for there has been no attempt to erase the government proofmarks which still exist on them, and if any critical examination was made, they must have been discovered. I leave it to yourself to decide whether this government have ever made their bayonets in the manner charged.

9. The charge that the locks were poorly made is answered by my reply to the bayonet charge. They were all United States government locks, and principally of the latest construction of flint locks, if I remember right. These were all adapted to percussion, by inserting a dovetail wedge and then brazing a piece to fill the space occupied by the brass pan of the flint lock. The springs were lightened to prevent crushing the nipples by their extreme force (as the old flint lock springs are much heavier than the percussion) and hammers made of the best Norway iron were then attached. The charge that the screws were worthless and unserviceable, I am sure, is not correct; for having to take each lock to pieces, I had the opportunity of examining them, and I did not find that government work was made as charged. My special charge, however, to all my workmen was, uniformly, to condemn all parts not strictly serviceable. The rest of the charges, such as that "they had no springs to prevent the bands from falling off when loosened," is equally as just and fair as the charge against the "sights," for these guns were all made with the "Enfield" pattern band, which tightens with a screw, and has no band-spring like the old muskets.

I respectfully suggest that as it is natural that each soldier should desire to obtain the Springfield musket, whose qualities are so highly appreciated, they too often abuse the issue of other arms in the hope of condemning the same, and thus have a new chance offered them for obtaining what, perhaps, had been promised them by their officers to secure their enlistment, as I am cognizant of the promise of Springfield arms having been made to the men in numerous cases of enlistment to aid the object which they were striving for. The results of such promises, when broken, are, abuse of the arms and the reputation of the maker. I had nearly been made a sufferer from this very cause, where a complaint was made that the stocks were "rotten," when, upon investigation, it was found the men had been using the muskets as seats, and thus broken stocks which were afterwarde acknowledged to be perfectly solid and seasoned.

[page 444]

I respectfully but earnestly protest against the gross injustice which would be done to me by now altering the standard by which my work is to be judged, when I honestly and faithfully conformed to all the requisitions of your own officers, and by their own admissions have made and delivered to them guns far superior to the sample gun by which I was instructed to work, and most of which have cost me, as before stated, $2 50 each above the cost of the sample gun. As I could have access to no higher authorities than your own officers to determine when my work was up to standard, I certainly cannot be morally or legally held liable to submit to requisitions of which I could have no means of ascertaining their character, or instructions from officers not in your department as to how my work should be made.

11. I respectfully but earnestly protest that it would be great injustice to oblige me to submit to an inspection of my arms after they have passed entirely out of my possession, and may have been submitted to influences of the most damaging character, entirely beyond my power to prevent. I therefore most decidedly protest against any inspection of my arms after they have been issued for, or have been in service, as a still greater act of injustice towards me.

12. I respectfully protest that gross injustice would be done to the public at large, and to many innocent parties, if the principle is established that any department of the government may at its pleasure go behind the acts of its own officers, and vitiate its own obligations of debt given, when these very obligations specify, as in my case, that each individual arm "has been examined in detail and found serviceable and fit for use in the field." For if such a precedent is established, then all government obligations become valueless to the capitalist, as he cannot possibly know which will be paid and which will be refused. In my own case not only will my means be entirely squandered in my efforts to aid the government I have always supported, and to feed several hundred of workmen during the past winter, but my character, which as a merchant and manufacturer has for twenty-five years been untainted, will also be ruined, as I shall hereafter be classed amongst the list of "contractors" whose main effort was to swindle the government they had sworn to support.

There is yet due me from this department about $80,000, some of which has remained unpaid since August last. I have in consequence been obliged to hypothecate all my vouchers with bankers and capitalists at a rate of interest which is rapidly eating away the principal, and I therefore trust that you will see fit at once to order my vouchers to be duly audited, and that I be thus saved from any further loss.

I am, sir, very respectfully, yours,

[To] Brigadier General RIPLEY, Chief of Ordnance.

I beg leave to remind you that the reply of Lieutenant Treadwell, (to whom it seems these charges against me were forwarded,) which was exhibited to me by you with other papers, is in itself a complete refutation of the whole matter, as the sworn certificate of his own inspectors shows that the arms were far more carefully examined even than I had supposed, and certainly much more critically than the charges against me bear evidence of having been.


Adjutant General's Office, Washington, April 29, 1862.

GENERAL: The chief of ordnance having been informed that the arms furnished the 58th Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Jones, are very defective, you are requested to cause a minute inspection to be made of them to ascertain

[page 445]

their quality and condition; the report to be forwarded to this office as early as convenient.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Adjutant General.
[To] Major General WOOL,
U.S. Army, Com'dg Dep't of Virginia, Fort Monroe, Va.

Fort Monroe, May 17, 1862.

Respectfully submitted to the adjutant general of the army.

Assistant Adjutant General.

Fort Monroe, May 5, 1862.

Respectfully referred to First Lieutenant T. J. Baylor, Ordnance department, commanding Fort Monroe arsenal, who will comply with the within order from the War Department.

By command of Major General Wool.


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 4, 1862.

GENERAL: In obedience to instructions of the Secretary of War, communicated from your office on the 28th ultimo, which, however, only reached me on the 2d instant, I yesterday inspected the arms of the 91st regiment of Pennsylvania volunteers, commanded by Colonel Gregory.

This regiment is now armed with the United States rifle musket, calibre .58, made at the Springfield armory in 1861. These arms, having been issued to the regiment on the 24th ultimo, are in fine order, and meet in all particulars the requirements of a good and serviceable weapon.

The "Justice musket" with which the 91st was, until recently, armed, having been inspected by Major Buford, assistant inspector general, and by him pronounced unserviceable, was returned into the Washington arsenal, and the regulation rifle musket issued in lieu thereof.

If the object of the inspection to be made by me was to determine whether or not payment should be made the contractor for the Justice musket, and I am led to infer that such was the object, would it not be advisable to have them inspected at the arsenal by a regularly appointed inspector?

As four-fifths of the 88th Pennsylvania volunteers were on detached service guarding the railroad to Manassas, I made no inspection of their arms yesterday, but will do so to-morrow, by which time the entire regiment will have returned to its encampment, near Cloud's mills.

I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. JONES, Assistant Inspector General.
[To] Brigadier General L. THOMAS,
Adjutant General U.S. Army, War Department, Washington.

[Special Order No. --]
Acquia Creek, Virginia, May 9, 1862.

Captain Knabb and Lieutenant Wagner, of this regiment, are hereby detailed to proceed to Washington for the purpose of procuring arms and accoutrements for this command.

[page 446]

They are hereby authorized to draw arms and accoutrements, and receipt for the same. By order of

Colonel Commanding 88th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.
[To] J. S. STEEPLE, Acting Adjutant.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 1862.

SIR: Having destroyed the original copy of my report on the arms of the 88th regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, I am unable to give you an exact copy of it, but from recollection of the facts aided by the notes taken during the inspection, which fortunately have been preserved, I can without much error give the essence of the report.

The number of arms inspected was about seven hundred, all of which were stamped on the barrel "Justice, Philadelphia," except about 130, which were stamped on the lock "Remington, Ilion, New York."

Of these guns, 423 [the first digit is partly obscured] had the bayonet, and 401 the rammer either bent or broken; the bands of 262 were so loose as to fall from their places on discharging the guns; 140 had the sights loose, broken off, or otherwise injured; 158 locks were more or less injured, the mainsprings of many being too weak to explode a cap; 14 barrels were bent; and 22 had either burst or were dangerous to fire on account of flaws in the metal.

The stocks of 212 were broken or split, the injuries being mostly at the toe or heel of the butt, or around the lock, and quite a number were broken off at the small of the stock. It was noticed that the sights that had fallen off had been soldered on to the barrel and not secured by a screw; it was also observed that the rifling in many of the guns was so slight at to be scarcely perceptible to either the touch or sight.

The rammers and bayonets could be bent to take almost any angle, and this with but a slight effort in most cases.

I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

R. JONES, Assistant Inspector General.
[To] Brigadier General J. W. RIPLEY,
Chief of Ordnance.

FORT MONROE ARSENAL, Virginia, May 14, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with instructions received from you, I have inspected the rifle muskets marked P.S. Justice, Philadelphia, now in store for issue, and have to report the following:

The muskets are of a very inferior quality; but few would be passed if made in a government armory, the parts only fitting to the gun to which they are attached, with but few exceptions.

Many of the barrels have flaws and sand holes, and some have the marks of condemnation upon them. The rifling is very poor, in most cases either disposed to become soon leaded, or the grooves are hardly perceptible.

The stocks are not unfrequently made of unseasoned wood, and not well finished. The bands, in many cases, fit badly, and, having no springs, are apt to become loose in dry weather.

The rear sights, in all cases, are soldered to the barrel, and imitation screws made upon them. Many of the guns are without them, as they are easily knocked off. The same remarks may be said of the front sights, with few exceptions.

The bayonets are fitted only for the gun whose number they bear, and are of very inferior quality, possessing scarcely any elasticity, and are without clasps.

[page 447]

The locks are good, being of the model of eighteen hundred and twenty-two (1822,) with new hammers--the locks that were put upon the old flint-lock musket, but the tumbler screw is often broken.

The screws and threads of the ramrods are poor.

The guard is poorly finished, and fits badly.

In consequence of the many defects of this arm, I respectfully recommend that they be not issued to troops, but be condemned.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

First Lieutenant of Ordnance.
[To] J. G. BAYLOR,
First Lieutenant of Ordnance.
Respectfully forwarded,
First Lieutenant of Ordnance.

FORT MONROE ARSENAL, Virginia, May 17, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with instructions indorsed on letter from War Department, Adjutant General's office, Washington, April 29, 1862, sent to me from headquarters department of Virginia, Fort Monroe, May 5, 1862, I directed Lieutenant R. M. Hill, Ordnance department, to make a thorough and minute examination of the arms referred to, and I enclose herewith his report on the subject.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

First Lieutenant of Ordnance.
[To] Colonel W. D. WHIPPLE,
Assistant Adjutant General, Department of Virginia, &c.

Respectfully referred to the chief of ordnance.

Assistant Adjutant General.
ORDNANCE OFFICE, May 23, 1862.

Respectfully referred to the commission on ordnance stores as a part of the paper in the "Justice" case.

Brigadier General.

Washington, May 23, 1862.

GENERAL: The commission request that Major Laidley may be instructed to inspect some few of the "Justice arms," if he has any on hand, comparing them with the sample arm stated to be at the Frankford arsenal, and making a report of the result to the commission. Please direct his attention to the rifling, malleable iron hammers, thin barrels, or those with bad flaws; the condition of the stocks as to shrinkage, and consequent looseness of the bands, &c.; the temper and strength of the ramrods and bayonets. A box or two will be sufficient to examine.

The commission also request that some of the arms returned by the 91st or 88th Pennsylvania volunteers to the Washington arsenal may be examined

[page 448]

there as to the rifling and any gross defects apparent, and report made. Please direct also that the sample gun may be sent here from the Frankford arsenal.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major of Ordnance
[To] Brigadier General J. W. RIPLEY,
Chief of Ordnance.

Bridesburg, Pennsylvania, May 27, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to your instructions of the 24th instant, I have examined two boxes of the arms furnished by Mr. Justice, and, having compared them with the sample arm, submit the following as the result of my examination.

I found three barrels which had flaws of considerable size. Several of the barrels were quite thin at the muzzle, but not of less thickness than the sample. The rifling is in almost all cases very slight, (about 0.05 inch,) and not as deep as in the sample arm.

I broke two hammers, which bent back and forth before yielding. I am of opinion that one, at least, is cast iron well annealed. Some of the workmen think both are. As I have known good judges to be much deceived in distinguishing between wrought iron and small pieces of cast iron carefully annealed, I am more cautious in expressing my opinion in a positive way on this point.

The rammers and bayonets are only slightly tempered, and take a set readily. I broke ten rammers in testing their temper from flaws and defects, caused by unskilful forging.

Some of the locks were rusted from the green wood and stocks, and the bands were, in some cases, loose, as they are on the sample arm.

With the exception of the rifling, and some flaws in the barrels, I regard the arms furnished by Mr. Justice that I have inspected equal to the sample arm.

I have this day forwarded by express to your address the sample arm, as requested by the commission.

Very respectfully, I am, general, your obedient servant,

Brevet Major.
[To] Brigadier General J. W. RIPLEY,
Chief of Ordnance.

ORDNANCE OFFICE, May 28, 1862.

Respectfully referred to the commission on ordnance and ordnance stores, as requested.

Brigadier General.

ARSENAL, May 30, 1862.

MAJOR: I received the sample Justice gun last evening, and but an indifferent sample at that. Is it to be understood that this gun is to be the standard, and that only similar guns are to be inspected?

There are here, marked "Justice," five varieties--two of muskets, and three of rifles.

Taking the value at twenty dollars, the gun is decidely inferior; but, making the comparison with the sample, there is no great difference as to service qualities.

I write you in haste, and am very truly,

[To] Major HAGNER, &c., &c., &c.

[page 449]


SIR: When my inspection report was made, on the 27th instant, the sample "Justice" arm had not been furnished me. I have since then received it, re-inspected the arms, and now beg to make the following report:

There are at this arsenal five varieties of arms marked "Justice:"

1. Rifle musket, calibre .69 (like sample arm.)

2.Rifle musket, calibre .69, with iron mountings.

3. Short rifle, calibre .58, with sword bayonet and with brass mountings.

4. Short rifle, calibre .58, with sword bayonet and with iron mountings.

5. SHort rifle, calibre .58, sword bayonet, without bands.

Under the first head, on comparison with sample, the locks vary in length from 0.5 to 0.9 inches, and the lock plates are variously patched to suit the cone seats. Unlike the sample arm, many of the locks are secured to the stock by two screws; one or two are used, according to length of lock plate.

Barrels.--The rifling of the barrels varies from three to six grooves; and some of the barrels are reduced by filing down the upper surface at butt to adapt them to the breech screws.

Sights.--Some are long, and others short. The long range sights are imperfectly secured, and readily move in the dove-tail seat; (see sample arm.) The three leaf sights are coarsely riveted on the bands.

Ramrods.--Vary in size; some are tempered, and some soft and easily bent.

Bayonets.--Like sample, without clasps. Supposed to be U.S. 1822.

The component parts of these arms are, apparently, with the exception of the brass mountings, of discarded armory work. These arms, in the average, cannot be said to be inferior to the sample arm furnished me, and now before the Commission on Ordnance and Ordnance Stores. They are far, however, from being a first class arm, and, in view of the contract price, $20, are decidely of inferior quality.

The other varieties of the "Justice arms" on hand referred to are pretty much of same quality and diversity of parts. The rifles without bands have a coarse notch sight, and are the most inferior of the lot.

It is proper to add that all the "Justice arms" in store at the arsenal have been in the hands of troops, and have not since been repaired or cleaned. These arms were turned into the arsenal in exchange for others more reliable.

Very respectfully, I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Lieutenant Colonel Commanding.
[To] General J. W. RIPLEY,
Chief of Ordnance.

War Department, Washington, June 3, 1862.

SIR: As requested in Major Hagner's letter of the 2d instant, I return the paper from P.S. Justice, therewith enclosed, (see letter ante-dated April 26, 1862,) on which I have to remark that the sample gun referred to in Mr. Justice's proposition of the 12th August 1861, accepted by my letter to Lieutenant T. J. Treadwell of the 16th of that month, may, it is supposed, be obtained from the Frankford arsenal. As regards Mr. Justice's declarations, I have not the means of affirming or refuting them; but see no reason why he should not have the benefit of them in any decision which the commission may make in his case, so far as they are not contradicted by other papers in the case before them. My own experience leads me to give weight to that part of Mr. Justice's remarks wherein he suggests that the hope and expectation of obtaining Springfield muskets may have led to a desire to condemn his arms, and to unfair

[page 450]

treatment of them with a view to their condemnation and a consequent necessity for an exchange.

The copies of the orders referred to by Mr. Justice are to be found at pages 54 (No. 13) and 60 (No. 17) in Ex. Doc. No. 67, "Purchase of arms."

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier General.
[To] J. Wise, Esq.,
Secretary of Commission on Ordnance Stores, Washington, D.C.

Washington, June 20, 1862.

GENERAL: The commission request that the papers in the case of P.S. Justice, with their report, may be returned to them.

Mr. Justice states that the table given page 14, Ex. Doc. No. 67, is incorrect in charging 700 sword bayonet rifles, of American manufacture, as delivered by him, and that the copies of orders published do not give the correct number of kind of arms delivered and ordered from him. He submits the enclosed statement, as showing the correct numbers of all arms manufactured by him delivered at the Frankford arsenal. This shows only 2,174 with angular bayonets, calibre .69, and 2,469 with sword bayonets, calibre .58.

The commission request that this statement be compared with the accounts, and report made to them if correct, and such differences stated as may exist. The reports of inspecting officers condemnatory of the "Justice arms" seem only to refer to those of calibre .69, with angular bayonets, (except in Colonel Ramsey's letter to Major Hagner;) and as Mr. Justice claims that the sword bayonet rifles of .58 calibre were not complained of in service, to his knowledge, the commission request that if any reports particularizing them have been made to the department they may be sent to the commission.

Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,

Major of Ordnance.
[To] General J. W. RIPLEY,
Chief of Ordnance.

Before commission, June 20, 1862.

Mr. P. S. Justice appeared before the commission, and presented a statement of the actual deliveries of arms made by him under the orders referred to the commission. He stated that the whole number ordered had not been delivered, as had been considered to be the case in the decision of the commission.

The commission replied that any error of that kind would be investigated and corrected by them.

Mr. Justice also complained that as his arms were accepted after inspection by government authority, the government could not justly decline to pay for all so accepted.

The commission replied that the purchase ordered was with the view of getting serviceable arms, and that deliveries and payments should be considered on account until the transaction was completed, if the government interests were better protected thereby; that the government had taken every precaution to have the exact quality of the arms delivered ascertained, and it had been shown that they were not of the kind expected, (viz, worth $20 at the time they were ordered,) and having used them to meet the exigencies of the moment, it was only incumbent upon the government to pay a fair market price for them; and this the commission decided to do.

[page 451]

War Department, Washington, June 24, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with the request of the commission of the 20th instant, I have to state that the tables in Ex. Doc. No. 67 do not contain any statement of arms delivered under contracts. These tables were designed to show the number and kind of arms which had been contracted for, and also the number and kind which had been procured by open purchase. The aggregate, as recapitulated on page 21, shows the whole number for which provision had been made. The whole number procured from all sources, including those delivered under contracts, are stated in the annual report of contracts and purchases made to Congress, which is not yet printed.

The statement submitted by Mr. Justice to the commission, of rifles with sword bayonets, and of rifled muskets, delivered by him at Frankford arsenal, has been compared with his accounts on file in this office, and is found to be correct. 2,469 rifles, with sabre bayonets, and 2,174 rifled muskets, have been received at Frankford arsenal from him, all of which have been paid for, except those charged in the suspended account, which has not yet been settled by the Auditor. The statement submitted by Mr. Justice is herewith returned.

The reports of inspecting officers, condemnatory of the arms delivered by Mr. Justice, appear to refer to the rifled muskets alone, of which only 2,174 have been received by the United States. I am not aware of any complaints having been made respecting the quality of the rifles with sword bayonets.

Upon a re-examination of the records in this case, it appears that an error was made in stating the number of these rifles ordered. Instead of the two lots of 700 each, as stated in Nos. 12 and 13, page 34 of Ex. Doc. No. 67, the orders were for 1,000 rifles, with sword bayonets, afterwards conditionally increased by 500.

The report of the commission in the case of P.S. Justice, with all the papers relating to it, are herewith transmitted.

Respectfully, I am your obedient servant,

JAS. W. RIPLEY, Brigadier General.
[To] J. WISE, Esq.,
Secretary of Commission on Ordnance Stores.

Washington, June 6, 1862.

GENERAL: The commission have the honor to report as follows:

CASE No. 95.--PHILIP S. JUSTICE, of Philadelphia.

[marginal reference:] Letter dated Ordnance office, Washington, May 20, 1862. Referred by special direction of the Secretary of War, approving the recommendation of the chief of ordnance, May 20, 1862

Letter of the chief of ordnance to the Secretary of War, in reference to Philip S. Justice, of Philadelphia, states that in July and August last Lieutenant Treadwell was authorized to purchase 4,500 rifles and rifle muskets from P. S. Justice, of Philadelphia. In addition to these, many other arms of various patterns have been purchased from the same person; and as complaints have been made by various officers that these arms were not serviceable, he has withheld payment of one of his accounts for $19,171 25, and sends the papers in the case, and asks that an investigation and decision be made by the commission.

The commission find that since this war commenced Mr. Justice, the claimant in this case, has sold to the government a large number of muskets and rifles,

[page 452]

foreign and of his own make, at prices varying from $28 81 to $18; that he has also sold numbers of swords, sabres, and pistols; that being known to the department as a seller and maker of arms, on the 13th of July an order was given to Lieutenant Treadwell, commanding Frankford arsenal, to "inspect and accept, if found on inspection to be good serviceable arms, and fit in all respects for us in the field, 1,000 rifles, with sabre bayonets;" which order was conditionally increased July 18 by 500 more. August 13, Lieutenant Treadwell reports that he has accepted 1,000 under the above instructions, at $20 each, 500 to be delivered in ten days and the balance by the 1st of September; and also enclosed to the chief of ordnance a proposition of Mr. Justice to furnish 4,000 rifle muskets, with angular bayonets. Lieutenant Treadwell states that the sample of these arms shown to him "is a good serviceable arm, calibre .69, clasp bayonet, long range sight, original percussion barrel, and well finished." August 16, 1861, the chief of ordnance authorized Lieutenant Treadwell to accept Mr. Justice's proposition, with the express condition "that the arms are to be delivered in or within the time specified, otherwise the government is to be under no obligation to take them, but may or may not do so at its pleasure." The times specified in the proposition were: "1,000 to be delivered in September, 1861, and 1,000 each month thereafter until January 1, 1862." The inspection certificates referred to the commission, and to which is attached the account of Mr. Justice, amounting to $19,171 25, the payment of which has been suspended by the chief of ordnance, embraces, with some sabres and revolvers, "350 rifles, with sword bayonets, and 472 rifled muskets, with angular bayonets." These are stated to have been purchased under the orders above referred to, and inspected "between January 27 and February 15, 1862.'

No explanation has been given to the commission why so long a delay occurred in the delivery of the sword-bayonet rifles, due September 1st at latest; nor why the rifled muskets, with angular bayonets, were received after the expiration of the prescribed time.

It appears also that many varieties of pattern in both kinds ordered have been received, (five are now at the Washington arsenal,) and also that the pattern of the rifle musket deposited at the Frankford arsenal, and used as a standard for inspection, does not agree with the pattern shown to Lieutenant Treadwell for inspection, does not agree with the pattern shown to Lieutenant Treadwell by Mr. Justice, and described by him as having a "clasp bayonet." The standard has been examined by the commission, and has a bayonet of the model of 1822. These guns were issued, in part, to the 58th, 88th, and 91st Pennsylvania volunteers, and some remain in store at Fort Monroe and Frankford arsenal; all are stamped with Mr. Justice's name, as required by the Ordnance department, and can therefore be fully identified as those received under these orders.

Upon complaints of colonels of regiments and of department commanders, experienced officers, assistant inspectors Generals Jones and Buford, Colonel Doubleday, 4th New York artillery, and ordnance officers Lieutenants Hill and Harris, inspected with care and precision, at different times, the arms of the above-named regiments and others in the arsenal at Fort Monroe, and their reports before the commission concur in stating that they are unsafe and unserviceable, as well from special defects named as from the general character of the material and workmanship.

As these inspecting officers had no connexion with the regiments in whose hands the arms were, and as in two cases the arms were in store, not assigned to any regiment, the commission consider that the suggestion made by Mr. Justice that a desire for the new Springfield arms by the regiments caused a groundless prejudice against his arms, or produced the defects complained of by the bad treatment they received, cannot satisfactorily account for the defects reported.

The pressing demands upon the Frankford arsenal for arms made it necessary

[page 453]

to hurry, as much as possible, the issue of these as soon as delivered, and the constant occupation of Lieutenant Treadwell prevented him from making personally any examination. He assigned the duty, however, to the best workmen he could obtain, experienced armorers, and, considering that a minute inspection of the arms was not possible at the time, directed them to handle each gun, and see that it was serviceable and equal to the sample. These workmen report that, in their opinion, none were passed which were not at the time in such condition.

As the inspectors did not examine the interior of the barrels, take off the locks, or try the temper of the rods and bayonets, except to judge whether they were equal to sample, which is itself of very inferior quality in these particulars, and as many of the defects complained of may be ascribable to the use of green wood for stocks, which could not be detected in new work, the commission consider that, except as to difference of calibre, (reported to exist by several officers and not discovered by the inspectors,) the reports of the workmen who received the arms do not necessarily invalidate or conflict with those made by the officers several months later, so far as the workmen profess to have examined, a new stock of green wood, causing, in time, the rusting of the lock and barrel, and the loosening of the bands and mountings by shrinkage, and the bad work in letting in the lock; the soft side-screws and ramrods, whose screw-threads would be soon deformed by use; the flaws in the barrel, and the bad rifling, and the hammers of malleable iron could not be easily detected by the inspection made at the arsenal. But these defects of material and manufacture were all necessarily known to Mr. Justice, or to his employers [sic]; and as Mr. Justice claims to be an experienced gunmaker of twenty years practice, the ill effects of such upon the efficiency and durability of the gun in service could not fail to be known to him.

The case, therefore, as presented to the commission, shows:

1st. That Mr. Justice did not comply with his original agreement in time of delivery.

2d. That he made use of improper and unsuitable material, which could not possibly produce a "serviceable" arm, such as was promised by him.

3d. That the sample proposed and approved by Lieutenant Treadwell, upon whose recommendation the order was given, was a more valuable gun than the sample used as a standard for the inspection.

4th. That many of the arms delivered do not equal the sample used as a standard, but were manifestly inferior to it in many particulars, and different from it in style of finish and appearance.

The character of the chief defects, as shown by the reports, are as follows:

1st. Many of the barrels were defective from flaws, from bad boring, and from insufficient rifling; many are so thin as to burst with the ordinary charge, and in one case with a blank cartridge.

2d. Many of the stocks are made of green wood, which rusted and made unserviceable the locks, and by shrinkage, after exposure, left the bands loose and the barrel illy [sic] secured, so as to be unsafe and untrue in actual service. The sample shown to the commission is of seasoned wood, and has not so shrunk from the bands nor rusted the locks.

3d. Ramrods and bayonets are unserviceable, being too weak and soft for use.

4th. The rear sights are soldered on without screws, thus exposed to being mal-placed and imperfectly secured when first put on, and to be easily lost or loosened when the heat of the firing weakens the hold of the solder. The bevelled mortise and screw used in the sample is evidently better, and is always adopted in good arms.

Major Laidley, now commanding at the Frankford arsenal, inspected, by request of the commission, forty of these arms, new and just as received from Mr. Justice, and his report leaves no room to doubt that in the above particulars

[page 454]
most of these arms were so defective. He found three barrels with flaws of considerable size, several where the barrels were quite thin at the muzzle, (which is also the case in the sample,) the rifling in almost all cases very slight, the hammer, in his opinion, made of malleable iron in one case, (possibly in more,) ramrods and bayonets but slightly tempered, easily taking a set, and two rods breaking in the text, showing flaws and defects from unskilful forging.

Colonel Ramsey, commanding Washington arsenal, has likewise inspected, at the request of the commission, many of those turned in to him and replaced by other more reliable arms, and reports that he finds five varieties as to general finish, two of the musket and three of the short rifle; several different patterns of locks, that the rifling varies in number of grooves from three to six; that many barrels are filed down at the breech to adapt them to the breech pins; sights differ in pattern, and all are badly attached; ramrods vary in size and quality, some are tempered and some soft; and bayonets all without clasps.

The commission consider it proved that Mr. Justice has not fulfilled his obligation to furnish a "serviceable arm" to the government, but has been paid at the rate of $20 a gun for arms not suitable in workmanship or material for the public service, and (judging) from the character of arms purchased at $20, and from the prices paid usually for inferior arms during the period of the delivery of these, that a price of $15 is an ample, if not excessive, equivalent for such arms.

In accordance with the principles set forth in Mason's case, (No. 72,) orders such as these given to Mr. Justice cannot be regarded in the light of contracts; but the legal principle that articles accepted and retained by the government should be paid for at their fair market value at the time they are so received must be the guide in establishing a proper price to be paid to Mr. Justice.

JUNE 25, 1862.

It appears by report from the chief of ordnance, dated June 24, just received by the commission, that 2,174 rifle muskets, calibre .69, and 2,469 rifles with sword bayonets, calibre .58, have been received at the Frankford arsenal upon the orders now before us; and of the 2,469 rifles with sword bayonets so received no complaints of inferiority have been made, except of one kind without bands, the number of which cannot now be accurately obtained. The commission decide that no deduction be made except on the first-named class of arms, and direct that the payments heretofore made to Mr. Justice for arms delivered at the Frankford arsenal be considered as "on account;" and that, in a closing settlement of his accounts, $15 per gun only be allowed for 2,174 rifle muskets, and $20 per gun for 2,469 rifles with sword bayonets, furnished under the above orders, as per statement signed by Mr. Justice, and hereto attached.

We are, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servants,

Major of Ordnance, Assistant to Commission.
[To] Brigadier General J. W. RIPLEY, Chief of Ordnance.

[page 455]

Rifles and rifled muskets accepted by Lieutenant T. J. Treadwell at Bridesburg.
1861.  1861. 
August 27 . . . . 166 September 14 . . . .35
September 14 . . 225 October 10 . . . . .206
October 10 . . . 242 October 25 . . . . .171
October 25 . . . 300 November 18 . . . .241
November 18 . . . 331 November 30 . . . .192
November 30 . . . 142 December 19 . . . .95
December 19 . . . 147 December 31 . . . .252
December 31 . . . 343    
1862. 1862.
January 18 . . . 182 January 18 . . . . .247
January 31 . . . 41  January 31 . . . . .263
March 20 . . . . 350 March 20 . . . . . .472
 _____  _____
 2,469  2,174
Total a mount accepted . . . . . 4,643 guns.
Total number delivered . . . . .5,035
Total number rejected . . . . .392
Accepted . . . . 4,643

[this ends the report of case no. 95]
['Sabre bayonet rifles', North American 17 September 1862 page 2]


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