Transfer to Arsenal Duty
Upon completion of the Oak Island battery and other defensive preparations on the Cape Fear River, Captain Bolles was transferred to the Fayetteville (North Carolina) Arsenal in early 1862 for ordnance and engineering duty where one of his first tasks would be fabricating unusual projectiles for cannons. Though the British government had presented the Confederate authorities with a battery of six new Whitworth breech-loading rifled cannon, no supply of ammunition arrived with them. At Fayetteville, Bolles led the development of unique projectile bolts for these new weapons which were very effective in keeping enemy blockading ships far off the coast of North Carolina, and thus assisting the blockade runners in slipping past them. The Fayetteville Arsenal received the machinery and rifling equipment from the Harpers Ferry (Virginia) Arsenal after it was evacuated by Confederate forces, and it became a vital weapons and ammunition source for the Confederacy. Bolles would also help the Arsenal attain full production level in the Spring of 1862 for Minie balls and the famed .58 caliber "Fayetteville Arsenal Rifle" which was being manufactured on the relocated machinery, a total of 10,000 rifles were produced before the Arsenal was totally destroyed by enemy forces in March 1865.
This story and accompanying photograph is credited to the Cape Fear Historical Institute.