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1870 ORDNANCE MEMORANDA NO. 8  – METALLIC AMMUNITION FOR THE SPRINGFIELD BREECH-LOADING RIFLE-MUSKET – IDENTIFIED TO AN ORDNANCE OFFICER ASSIGNED TO THE BENICIA ARSENAL:  A scarce and desirable early Indian War period publication, this is an original printing of ORDNANCE MEMORANDA NO. 8  – METALLIC AMMUNITION FOR THE SPRINGFIELD BREECH-LOADING RIFLE-MUSKET, printed in Washington D.C., by the Government Printing Office in 1870.  This particular manual is inscribed in ink on the front fly leaf as the personal property of First Lieutenant George W. McKee, assigned to the Benecia Arsenal in California, on November 1, 1870.   

According to the Historical Register and Dictionary of the U.S. Army, Volume 1, by Heitman (page 671), First Lieutenant George Wilson McKee was born in Kentucky,   graduated from the US Military Academy in the class of 1858, and entered the Ordnance Department in 1863.  Promoted through the ranks up to the rank of major, McKee died in 1891 having served at number of the large arsenals and at the National Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts.     

McKee or his heirs apparently donated this memoranda to the Carnegie Library in Allegheny, Pennsylvania and there are several library ink stamp and embossed labels throughout the pages, to include an inked inscription on the first page with McKee’s name and the acquisition information.   

Ordnance Memoranda No. 8 deals with the development and manufacturing process of producing the .50 caliber Government cartridge as was used in the Model 1868 and Model 1870 arms.  Cartridges for the rifle-musket (and carbine), blank cartridges, and cartridges for the .50 caliber and 1 inch Gatling guns are covered in detail, with the text covering the development, process of manufacture, preparation and assembly of each of the components, as well as the machinery necessary to perform each task.  The text is 68 pages long, and includes numerous illustrative plates showing the cartridges at the various stages of manufacture and the machinery in detail, and charts providing ballistic and dimensional data. 

Not only a significant Ordnance publication, but an attractive piece as well, this volume, measures 11 ˝” by 9”, and is embossed on both the front and back red cloth covers with the Ordnance Department seal.  The spine and the outer corners of the front and back covers are bound in leather and the title is embossed in three sections on the spine in gold leaf.  The binding is tight with no loss of integrity and no damage to the pages, and the covers and spine are scuffed, but intact and overall clean.   

These original Ordnance Department publications have never been common, and this is a particularly desirable edition that belongs in an advanced Springfield or Ordnance Department collection and would be an excellent addition to a display of Model 1870 Trial arms.  SOLD


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