Ridgeway Civil War Research Center,
A virtual examination of artifacts of the American Civil War


Civil War Artillery
by Harry Ridgeway

Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in.
Artillery 1110 Ball solid shot 6pdr 3.67in.

This is the "Ridgeway Civil War Research Center...", a research tool for educational purposes only, and is provided at no cost to the reader. Some of the relics listed are retained in the author's collection, most reside in other collections and are not owned by the author. None of the items listed in this section are for sale, please refer to relicman.com sales listings for items offered for sale. This is a work in progress, I list items as I get to them, there are many patterns that are not listed yet, this list will be regularly updated as I get pictures and descriptions for more items. I will also correct mistakes, so if you see any please tell me. All items listed are believed to be authentic to the Civil War or as otherwise described. Any excavated relics have been recovered from private property with owners permission. This information is available for research purposes, pictures may be used by permission only.
All projectiles listed have been disarmed.

Most information on this page is from:
Field Artillery Projectiles of the American Civil War, 1993 Edition. by Thomas S. Dickey and Peter C. George.
Civil War Heavy Explosive Ordnance, A Guide to Large Artillery Prjectiles, Torpedoes, and Mines, by Jack Bell.
Artillery Fuses of the Civil War, by Charles H. Jones.
Pictures are by the author, unless otherwise indicated.

Weapons used:
Smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67in. Caliber of the gun is 3.67in., round projectile diameter should measure 3.58 in. approximately, variations will be noted.

A standard weight for a solid cast iron spherical ball was set at 6 pounds, hence balls of this caliber were referred to as "6 pounder". Weight of a solid shot is 6 pounds, hollow shot will weigh less. "Common" shot was a contemporary term referring to a "standard" containing an explosive charge and no balls. "Case shot" round referred to a hollow ball containing explosive charge and case shot balls. Generally (but there are exceptions) the walls of the ball are thinner for case shot, thicker for "common" shot. A ball filled with case shot will usually weigh more than a "common" round but this relationship can vary as the number of balls actually filled in a case shot can vary, the wall thickness can vary, and weight loss due to excessive corrosion can produce misleading results. Usually the case shot ball is filled with small lead balls around .5 inch to .7 inch, but dimensions are usually uneven and sometimes other materials were used such as iron balls, bullets, iron nails or almost any other form of scrap. "Canister" shot is not a round ball at all but refers to a cylindrical "can" filled with balls. Often the term "canister" and "case shot" have been used interchangeably but the correct use of the terms refers to distinctly different types of ordnance as indicated.

The bore for the 6 pounder is supposed to measure 3.67 inches, the ball itself will measure approximately 3.58 inches, the difference is the space needed to ram a ball through the muzzle into the chamber and is referred to as "windage". A ball needed to fit very close to these measurements, otherwise it would be a disaster for the artillery battery. If a ball is too large, it will simply not fit through the bore. If a ball is small, too much energy will be lost firing it and it simply will not be effective as a weapon. If a ball is not truly round it could jam the bore and that truly is bad news for a jammed gun could easily burst on firing. There are many balls out there that are not cannon balls, these are weights, balls used to grind coal or other minerals , ornaments, gate weights, and the worst are 6 pound athletic shot-puts. So one test of a cannon ball is that the measurement has to be pretty much right. The best way to measure a ball is to use a seamstress tape measure (about $3 bucks at Wal-Mart) get a measurement of the circumference, divide by Pi (oh hell you thought you were done with high school math) and you have the diameter. I will make it easy, pi is 3.141593, so if a ball measures much more or less than 11.25 inches in circumference, it isn't going to be a cannon ball no matter how much you want it to be, so 11.25in. circumference, divided by pi, 3.141593, equals 3.58in. Results like 3.4in., 3.7in., and weights of 5.75lbs. and 6.25lbs. are all grinding balls, (euphemism for "junk") and they need to be taken to the recycling center and not sold as a cannon balls on ebay. There are millions of these grinding balls out there, the mining industry has been using them for centuries and they can be any size.


Artillery 1111 Ball solid shot 6pdr 3.67in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in., with wood sabot.
Projectile was intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders generally available. The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them but primary use was southern. There is no certain way to tell if southern manufactured or northern manufactured, both have mold seams. The solid ball could be used against troops in the field but was most effective when directed against enemy cannon or equipment. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. The wood sabot and straps remain on this example, the straps were fastened with square headed nails. Projectile measures: diameter 3.58in., weight 6lbs.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 28.

A1662...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in., with wood sabot.
A1662.jpg (20820 bytes) A1662B.jpg (19178 bytes) A1662C.jpg (23618 bytes) Projectile was intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders generally available. The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them but primary use was southern. There is no certain way to tell if southern manufactured or northern manufactured, both have mold seams. The solid ball could be used against troops in the field but was most effective when directed against enemy cannon or equipment. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. The wood sabot and straps remain on this example, the straps were fastened with square headed nails. Projectile measures: diameter 3.58in., weight 6lbs. Ball is mounted on wood sabot, held with iron straps. Metal solid, original sabot and straps intact. Projectile is disarmed, casting is solid iron. Recovered: Oconee River at Milledgeville, Georgia.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 28.

A1781...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in., with wood sabot.
Projectile was intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders generally available. The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them but primary use was southern. There is no certain way to tell if southern manufactured or northern manufactured, both have mold seams. The solid ball could be used against troops in the field but was most effective when directed against enemy cannon or equipment. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. The wood sabot and straps remain on this example, the straps were fastened with square headed nails. Projectile measures: diameter 3.58in., weight 6lbs. Ball is mounted on wood sabot, held with iron straps. Metal solid, original wood sabot recovered, is partial but stable. Projectile is disarmed, casting is solid iron. Recovered: Oconee River at Milledgeville, Georgia.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 28.

A2622...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in., with wood sabot.
Projectile was intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders generally available. The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them but primary use was southern. There is no certain way to tell if southern manufactured or northern manufactured, both have mold seams. The solid ball could be used against troops in the field but was most effective when directed against enemy cannon or equipment. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. The wood sabot and straps remain on this example, the straps were fastened with square headed nails. Projectile measures: diameter 3.58in., weight 6lbs. Ball is mounted on wood sabot, held with iron straps. Metal solid, original sabot and straps recovered,, stable but fragile. Projectile is disarmed, casting is solid iron. Recovered: Oconee River at Milledgeville, Georgia.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 28.


Artillery 1112 Ball solid shot 6pdr 3.67in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in.
Projectile was intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders generally available. The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them but primary use was southern. There is no certain way to tell if southern manufactured or northern manufactured, both have mold seams. The solid ball could be used against troops in the field but was most effective when directed against enemy cannon or equipment. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. Projectile measures: diameter 3.58in., weight 6lbs.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 28.

A0003...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in.
Projectile was intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders generally available. The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them but primary use was southern. There is no certain way to tell if southern manufactured or northern manufactured, both have mold seams. The solid ball could be used against troops in the field but was most effective when directed against enemy cannon or equipment. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. Projectile measures: diameter 3.58in., weight 6lbs. Projectile is disarmed, casting is solid iron. Recovered: Third Battle of Winchester, by Steve Baker.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 28.
Ridgeway collection, Old Court House Civil War Museum, Winchester, Virginia

A1658...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in.
A1658.jpg (23722 bytes) A1658B.jpg (22009 bytes) Projectile was intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders generally available. The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them but primary use was southern. There is no certain way to tell if southern manufactured or northern manufactured, both have mold seams. The solid ball could be used against troops in the field but was most effective when directed against enemy cannon or equipment. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. Projectile measures: diameter 3.58in., weight 6lbs. Projectile is disarmed, casting is solid iron. Recovered: shell bears Mac Mason artwork: "Fired from Jackson's Guns into Smiths troops, White Oak Swamp Recovered April 21, 1667". Ball also shows a prominent casting sprue.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 28.

A2110...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in.
Projectile was intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders generally available. The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them but primary use was southern. There is no certain way to tell if southern manufactured or northern manufactured, both have mold seams. The solid ball could be used against troops in the field but was most effective when directed against enemy cannon or equipment. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. Projectile measures: diameter 3.58in., weight 6lbs. Projectile is disarmed, casting is solid iron. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 28.

A2559...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in.
Projectile was intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders generally available. The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them but primary use was southern. There is no certain way to tell if southern manufactured or northern manufactured, both have mold seams. The solid ball could be used against troops in the field but was most effective when directed against enemy cannon or equipment. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. Projectile measures: diameter 3.58in., weight 6lbs. Projectile is disarmed, casting is solid iron. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 28.

A2791...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in.
Projectile was intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders generally available. The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them but primary use was southern. There is no certain way to tell if southern manufactured or northern manufactured, both have mold seams. The solid ball could be used against troops in the field but was most effective when directed against enemy cannon or equipment. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. Projectile measures: diameter 3.58in., weight 6lbs. Projectile is disarmed, casting is solid iron. Recovered: Walker/Lupton property just north of Clearbrook, Virginia. There were two houses on the property, one was called Fairfield and the other Willow Spring. Virginia Lupton Riley was born at Willow Spring. It is likely that the Civil War items were found on this property, having passed from her aunt, Carrie Lupton Bond, who lived at Fairfield until sometime in the 1960’s
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 28.
Old Court House Civil War Museum, Winchester, Virginia.

A3025...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, smoothbore 6 pounder, 3.67 in.
Projectile was intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders generally available. The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them but primary use was southern. There is no certain way to tell if southern manufactured or northern manufactured, both have mold seams. The solid ball could be used against troops in the field but was most effective when directed against enemy cannon or equipment. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. Projectile measures: diameter 3.58in., weight 6lbs. Projectile is disarmed, solid shot never had a cavity or bursting charge. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 28.


Artillery 1115 Ball solid shot, broad arrow, 6pdr 3.67in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, British manufacture, broad arrow, approximately 6 lbs.
Ball dates to French and Indian War or American Revolution. The broad arrow is well known as a British mark.

A0004...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, solid shot, British manufacture, broad arrow, approximately 6 lbs.
Ball dates to French and Indian War or American Revolution. The broad arrow is well known as a British mark. This was found in Red Bud run which was central to the Third Battle of Winchester, fought in 1864. This ball could have been lost from an earlier period. Alternately it is known that the Confederates were short on supplies and did try to utilize scaps during the 1864 battle, other balls of odd sizes were found. Recovered: Third Battle of Winchester, by Steve Baker.
Ridgeway collection, Old Court House Civil War Museum, Winchester, Virginia


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