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, bursting shell, Confederate copper time fuze, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.8in.
Artillery 1440 Ball Confederate copper fuze 24pdr. 5.82in.

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:
Coehorn mortar 24 pounder, 5.82in. Caliber of the gun is 5.82in., round projectile diameter should measure 5.68 in. approximately, variations will be noted.
Smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in. Caliber of the gun is 5.82in., round projectile diameter should measure 5.68 in. approximately, variations will be noted.


Artillery 1441 Ball Confederate copper fuze 24pdr. 5.82in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, "case shot", Confederate copper time fuze, lead side-plug, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.8in.
Ball is Confederate wartime manufacture for the light smoothbore "Napoleon" cannon using the copper time fuze designed to detonate in the air above the target, spreading fragments against troops in the open field. Those with side plugs were generally configured as case shot (approx 18lbs. with iron balls), those without side plugs are usually "common" (approx 12lbs.) and without balls. This shell is "case shot" and employed a side plug as a way to load iron balls into the shell. Conventional case shot shells were usually filled with soft matrix and lead balls, an auger would be used to drill through the lead balls and the matrix to create a void for the powder train. Because of a shortage of lead, the Confederates substituted iron balls. To drill through a mixture of matrix and iron balls would be difficult, so a sizing rod would be inserted through the fuze hole to reserve a void for the powder, the iron balls and matrix would be loaded through a side hole, once loaded the side hole would be plugged, the sizing rod would be removed, and the powder train would be filled. This one was sealed with a lead side-plug. Fuze employed was a Confederate copper time fuze, short pattern for spherical projectiles, with flange and spanner holes, the fuze hole is recessed to seat the flange flush with the curvature of the ball, (Jones pg. 38). Projectile measures: diameter 5.68in., weight 18lbs.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 49.

A0020...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, "case shot", Confederate copper time fuze, lead side-plug, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.8in.
Ball is Confederate wartime manufacture for the light smoothbore "Napoleon" cannon using the copper time fuze designed to detonate in the air above the target, spreading fragments against troops in the open field. Those with side plugs were generally configured as case shot (approx 18lbs. with iron balls), those without side plugs are usually "common" (approx 12lbs.) and without balls. This shell is "case shot" and employed a side plug as a way to load iron balls into the shell. Conventional case shot shells were usually filled with soft matrix and lead balls, an auger would be used to drill through the lead balls and the matrix to create a void for the powder train. Because of a shortage of lead, the Confederates substituted iron balls. To drill through a mixture of matrix and iron balls would be difficult, so a sizing rod would be inserted through the fuze hole to reserve a void for the powder, the iron balls and matrix would be loaded through a side hole, once loaded the side hole would be plugged, the sizing rod would be removed, and the powder train would be filled. This one was sealed with a lead side-plug. Fuze employed was a Confederate copper time fuze, short pattern for spherical projectiles, with flange and spanner holes, the fuze hole is recessed to seat the flange flush with the curvature of the ball, (Jones pg. 38). Projectile measures: diameter 5.68in., weight 11.5lbs, (empty without balls), balls 5.2lb, total 16.7 lb. Shell was found without a fuze, balls as shown all came out of this shell. Metal is strong, lead plug intact, fuze missing, balls is cleaned and coated inside and out and balls have been retained. Most of the balls have prominent casting sprue. Projectile is disarmed, all remnants of powder are removed. Recovered: Bermuda Hundred, Virginia (1864 site).
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 49.


Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in., fragments

A0200.09. Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in., fragments
Fragments of 24 pounder ball were all found at "west fort", Second Battle of Winchester. Both case shot and common shot fragments were found. This was a Federal battery, captured by the Confederates. The shells were fired on this fort by the Federal artillery from Milroy's main battery. It is interesting to note that the batteries are nearly a mile apart, which means these shells were fired from a flanking 24 pounder, not a mortar. Milroy's defenses of Winchester in 1863 was a system of three hill top batteries in triangle fashion, this was an elevated inland fort and not a river or harbor fort. Flanking 24 pounder guns had only typically been used in coastal forts, Milroy's hilltop fort was equipped with both 32 pounder heavy guns and these 24 pounder flanking guns, this was unconventional for the period. All of these fragments were recovered from "west fort", Second Battle of Winchester, by Harry Ridgeway and Margaurite Smith.
Ridgeway collection, Old Court House Civil War Museum, Winchester, Virginia


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