John, Thinking about your first comment, that perhaps this was "used for firing a cannon or something" and my friend's reference to a "fuse-lighter" started me thinking: Blockade runners frequently clung to darkness to conceal entry and exit. Army signalmen were placed aboard to communicate with shore military. Due to wind and water, the usual visual signals with flag or turpentine-burning torch were difficult to execute. A "flash-light" system devised by one signal officer represented the left-right waves of flag or torch by selectively exposing lights (often in a narrow sleeve to avoid enemy sighting), a fore-runner to "blinker."
In addition, signalmen were furnished simple rockets, of the "Fourth of July" type -- stick-launched and stabilized.
These could be "fired" in a simple, pre-arranged code. Blockade runners (and "Carolina" specifically?) did not carry guns for fighting, so "cannon-firing" would not seem to justify presence of this thing aboard ship.
But I wonder...while it might seem overkill, thinking of the elements confronting the signalman, I wonder if this might have been used much as a modern flint lighter simply to light the fuse of a rocket in rain, wind or wave? (It could be capped, with percussion cap, applied to the fuse of the rocket (inserting into the barrel), and fired, the explosion of the cap alone lighting the fuse and setting off the rocket. Would that be too far-fetched? Any supporting evidence known to you?
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