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, wood fuze, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in.
Artillery 1530 Ball wood fuze 32pdr. 6.4in.

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 32 pounder, 6.4in. Caliber of the gun is 6.4in., round projectile diameter should measure 6.25 in. approximately, variations will be noted.

Artillery 1531 Ball wood fuze 32pdr. 6.4in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in., with wood sabot
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the 32 pounder smoothbore which was the main gun of the 1840's and 1850's coastline defenses. The heavy 32 pounder was set near the water level, and was designed to send a ball skipping rapidly across the water to strike a wooden ship at the water line. Fuze employed was a wood time fuze, Jones Fuzes pg. 2, fuze hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuze could easily be hammered into place, opening 7/8 in. The balls started out with a wood sabot and straps, the wood sabot was designed to position the ball in the bore with a flat surface to propel it, then the straps would break and the ball would fly freely. Few are recovered with the sabot, all fired examples would have been seperated from the sabot on firing and the wood generally will not survive the environment for 100+ years. Projectile measures 6.25in., weight 25lbs.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 49 or 50.

A0129...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in., with wood sabot
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the 32 pounder smoothbore which was the main gun of the 1840's and 1850's coastline defenses. The heavy 32 pounder was set near the water level, and was designed to send a ball skipping rapidly across the water to strike a wooden ship at the water line. Fuze employed was a wood time fuze, Jones Fuzes pg. 2, fuze hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuze could easily be hammered into place, opening 7/8 in. The balls started out with a wood sabot and straps, the wood sabot was designed to position the ball in the bore with a flat surface to propel it, then the straps would break and the ball would fly freely. Few are recovered with the sabot, all fired examples would have been seperated from the sabot on firing and the wood generally will not survive the environment for 100+ years. Projectile measures 6.25in., weight 25lbs. Wood fuze intact and will remove from shell, most of the wood sabot intact with fragment of the straps. Recovered: Fort Isle of Wight County Virginia by Mac Mason in the 1960's.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 49 or 50.

A2690...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in., with wood sabot
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the 32 pounder smoothbore which was the main gun of the 1840's and 1850's coastline defenses. The heavy 32 pounder was set near the water level, and was designed to send a ball skipping rapidly across the water to strike a wooden ship at the water line. Fuze employed was a wood time fuze, Jones Fuzes pg. 2, fuze hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuze could easily be hammered into place, opening 7/8 in. The balls started out with a wood sabot and straps, the wood sabot was designed to position the ball in the bore with a flat surface to propel it, then the straps would break and the ball would fly freely. Few are recovered with the sabot, all fired examples would have been seperated from the sabot on firing and the wood generally will not survive the environment for 100+ years. Projectile measures 6.25in., weight 25lbs. Wood fuze intact and will remove from shell, most of the wood sabot intact with fragment of the straps. Recovered: Fort Isle of Wight County Virginia by Mac Mason in the 1960's.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 49 or 50.


Artillery 1531 Ball wood fuze 32pdr. 6.4in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the 32 pounder smoothbore which was the main gun of the 1840's and 1850's coastline defenses. The heavy 32 pounder was set near the water level, and was designed to send a ball skipping rapidly across the water to strike a wooden ship at the water line. Fuze employed was a wood time fuze, Jones Fuzes pg. 2, fuze hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuze could easily be hammered into place, opening 7/8 in. Projectile measures 6.25in., weight 25lbs.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 49 or 50.

A2288...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the 32 pounder smoothbore which was the main gun of the 1840's and 1850's coastline defenses. The heavy 32 pounder was set near the water level, and was designed to send a ball skipping rapidly across the water to strike a wooden ship at the water line. Fuze employed was a wood time fuze, Jones Fuzes pg. 2, fuze hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuze could easily be hammered into place, opening 7/8 in. Projectile measures 6.25in., weight 25lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Shell disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 49 or 50.

A2417...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the 32 pounder smoothbore which was the main gun of the 1840's and 1850's coastline defenses. The heavy 32 pounder was set near the water level, and was designed to send a ball skipping rapidly across the water to strike a wooden ship at the water line. Fuze employed was a wood time fuze, Jones Fuzes pg. 2, fuze hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuze could easily be hammered into place, opening 7/8 in. Projectile measures 6.25in., weight 25lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Shell disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: barn find vicinity of Fort Donaldson, Tennessee.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 49 or 50.

A2418...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the 32 pounder smoothbore which was the main gun of the 1840's and 1850's coastline defenses. The heavy 32 pounder was set near the water level, and was designed to send a ball skipping rapidly across the water to strike a wooden ship at the water line. Fuze employed was a wood time fuze, Jones Fuzes pg. 2, fuze hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuze could easily be hammered into place, opening 7/8 in. Projectile measures 6.25in., weight 25lbs. Projectile measures 6.25in., weight 25lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Shell disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: barn find vicinity of Fort Donaldson, Tennessee.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 49 or 50.

A2614...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in.
The 32 pounder smoothbore gun was the primary weapon used in the series of coastal and river forts built from the 1830's to the Civil War. The heavy 32 pounder was set near the water level, and was designed to send a ball skipping rapidly across the water to strike a wooden ship at the water line. Fuze employed was a wood time fuze, Jones Fuzes pg. 2, fuze hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuze could easily be hammered into place, opening 7/8 in. Projectile measures 6.25in., weight 21lbs. Wood fuze missing. Shell disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 49 or 50.

A2857...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the 32 pounder smoothbore which was the main gun of the 1840's and 1850's coastline defenses. The heavy 32 pounder was set near the water level, and was designed to send a ball skipping rapidly across the water to strike a wooden ship at the water line. Fuze employed was a wood time fuze, Jones Fuzes pg. 2, fuze hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuze could easily be hammered into place, opening 7/8 in. Projectile measures 6.25in., weight 25lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Shell disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 49 or 50.


Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in., fragments

A0200.10. Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, smoothbore 32 pounder, 6.4in., fragments
Fragments of 32 pounder ball were all found at "west fort", Second Battle of Winchester. Both case shot and common shot fragments were found, as well as Bormann fuzed and wood fuzed. 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. Milroy's defenses of Winchester in 1863 were a system of three hill top batteries in triangle fashion, this was an elevated inland fort and not a river or harbor fort. Heavy 32 pounder guns had only typically been used in coastal forts, Milroy's hilltop fort was equipped with both 32 pounder heavy guns and 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.
Ridgeway collection, Old Court House Civil War Museum, Winchester, Virginia


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