From the Richmond Dispatch, 7/13/1861 , p. 1
The Manufacture of Cartridges, &c. - The preparation of all implements for the destruction of human life involves a certain degree of peril, which, however, is generally readily obviated by timely precautions, else they would not be made at all. We find that we were led by an over-cautious friend, a few days since, to perpetuate, an injustice towards the Confederate officers having in charge the cartridge manufactory, located in Thomas' tobacco factory, near the banks of James River , east of the Petersburg Depot. On a visit thither, our informant thought he had discovered powder scattered on the floor, over which hundreds walked with iron nails in their shoes, rendering the liability great for a blow up at any moment. The fact stated by him was produced by an ocular delusion. He could not have seen that which is not allowed to exist. A visit to the building has convinced us that an explosion there is an impossibility unless by spontaneous combustion, and that exigency no human foresight could provide against. The utmost care is taken to prevent accidents, and the stringent regulations governing such places are rigidly enforced by the officers in charge. No more powder is kept in the building than suffices for immediate use, and when put in the desired shape it is directly removed thence to the magazine provided for its reception. While we should deeply regret, by a misstatement of facts, to put any of our citizens in peril of life or limb, we can but feel equal regret if we had, by mistake, so represented the state of things existing at the cartridge manufactory as to have caused injury to the public service - at this time especially. Parties who have worked at the factory (and who certainly are good witnesses) assure us that the greatest pains are likely to occur under the present system of management.