ARMAMENTS: The Munitions Trade

Of all the problems facing the American war effort, the most immediate is the desperate shortage of arms and ammunition. "Our want of powder is inconceivable," General Washington complained last winter. "A daily waste and no supply administers a gloomy prospect."

Britain banned the export of all arms to America two years ago, and the powder in Continental muskets now comes mostly from France, which has closed its eyes to the activities of both European and American gunrunners. So far, however, supply has not even begun to keep up with demand, and American...