THE BEST GUN IN THE WORLD: GEORGE WOODWARD MORSE AND THE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE MILITARY WORKS
288pp., 80 illus. 2017. George Woodward Morse was a machinist and firearms innovator, who settled in Louisiana in the 1840s. He invented a reliable breechloading firearm in the mid-1850s. Morse perfected the first metallic, center-fire, pre-primed cartridge, his most notable contribution to the development of modern firearms. The U.S. War Department tested Morse rifles and cartridges and contracted with the inventor to produce the weapons at Harpers Ferry Armory. However, when the war began, Morse, a slave-holding plantation owner, determined that he could sell more of his guns in the South.