March 11, 2021 at 6:30 pm
Thursday, March 11, Mark Hubbs will reacquaint us with the Minié bullet history and development.
A French army officer invented the bullet that would bear his name in 1849. The Minié bullet, a cylindrical bullet with a hollow base that expanded when fired, proved lethally accurate over relatively long distances, and was soon used to devastating effect by the British army against Russian forces during the Crimean War. After the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, both Union and Confederate soldiers used the “minnie” bullet (as they called it) in their muzzle-loading rifles.
Before the development of the Minié ball, muzzle-loading rifles were not used in combat situations because of how difficult they were to load. Because the ammunition used had to engage the spiral grooves, or rifling, inside the rifle barrel, it had to be equal in diameter to the barrel and shooters would have to jam the bullet into the rifle by force. In addition, the rifle tended to become even more difficult to load as gunpowder residue collected inside the barrel.
There is persistent urban legend that claims a girl standing near a Virginia battlefield in 1863 was impregnated by a stray Minié bullet that passed through the scrotum of a Union soldier before lodging in her abdomen. The origin of the (false) story was a gag article published in The American Medical Weekly in 1874 and is not considered the origin of Fake News.
Mark Hubbs is an eleven-year veteran of the US Army Infantry. Since leaving active duty in 1972 and retiring from the Army Reserve in 2001, he served as an historian and archaeologist for the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. His work took him to several far-flung islands in the Pacific where the relics, both above and below the surface of the corral sand, remain after fierce battles of World War II including Wake Island, Kwajalein Atoll and Midway Island. His children’s books have become best sellers in Britain.
He has chalked up nearly 28 years of membership in the Round Table. He cofounded the Round Table and for years was the Preservation Officer. Now we refer to him as a Gray Beard.