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, thick walled, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Artillery 1720 Ball Columbiad shell 8in.

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 Columbiad gun, 8in. Caliber of the gun is 8.0in., round projectile diameter should measure 7.88in. approximately, variations will be noted.

The big 8 in balls generally fall into two categories, Columbiads or mortars. The mortar was a lighter gun, designed to send a lighter ball on a very high trajectory over the embankment and into a dug in trench. The walls on these mortars is going to be relative thin, usually around 1.0 inch to 1.5 inch. Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This s were heavy Navy smoothbores, and were used in siege operations against land forts or other ships, the balls will be heavier, the walls are generally 2 inch thickness or greater.


Artillery 1721 Ball Columbiad shell 8in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole , Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A1706...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole , Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Metal solid, fuze intact. Shell disarmed, drill hole through the bottom, not photographed. Recovered: USS Cairo, which was sunk December 12, 1862 in the Yazoo River, Mississippi. Shell was presumably recovered in the 1960's when the first attempt was made to raise this ship.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2179...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole , Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Seacoast fuze intact, with damage. Projectile is disarmed, drill hole through the bottom. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.


Artillery 1722 Ball Columbiad shell 8in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A0731...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 49lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: surplus stocks.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2181...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. This is large fragment, which is more than half, includes the fuze hole and tongue holes and illustrates the thickness of the walls. Recovered: not known, believed to have been the remains of a DOS detonation.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2227...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: Fort Wagner, South Carolina.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2284...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: surplus stocks.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2391...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: surplus stocks.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2446...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in.,weight 47lbs (weight is lighter due to metal loss). Metal solid with heavy pitting, original wood fuze intact. Projectile is disarmed, drill hole through the paper section of time fuze. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2719...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2768...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 48lbs. Wood fuze intact, and remains of straps and fragments of sabot. Projectile is disarmed, drill hole through the bottom. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2816...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2918...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, with lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: surplus stocks.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.


Artillery 1723 Ball Columbiad shell 8in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, without lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A0689...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, without lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Wood fuze is partial. This unfired round shows evidence of the sabot strapping around the fuze hole. Projectile is disarmed, drill hole through the paper section of the time fuze. Recovered: North Carolina defenses, by Dickie Wolf.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2285...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, without lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: surplus stocks.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2817...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, without lifting ears, wood fuze or drive in seacoast watercap fuze, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal or Confederate arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, approximately 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell. Fuze employed was a drive in seacoast watercap fuze, opening 1.35in. at surface, shell is cast for a smooth tapered fuze hole capable of receiving any type of drive in fuze including a wood fuze, Jones pg. 6. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Very rough metal. Recovered: North Carolina defenses.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.


Artillery 1724 Ball Columbiad shell 8in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, no lifting ears, non-threaded fuze with small opening, likely Confederate, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell, this pattern does not have ears. Cast for a non-threaded wood fuze or seacoast drive in fuze, opening .95 to 1.05in. at surface, the small opening may be indication of Confederate manufacture. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2198...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, no lifting ears, non-threaded fuze with small opening, likely Confederate, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell, this pattern does not have ears. Cast for a non-threaded wood fuze or seacoast drive in fuze, opening .95 to 1.05in. at surface, the small opening may be indication of Confederate manufacture. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.

A2283...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, thick walled, no lifting ears, non-threaded fuze with small opening, likely Confederate, Columbiad smoothbore, 8 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the Columbiad seige gun. This was a heavy smoothbore and the firing subjected the balls to considerable stress, consequently the walls are thick, 2.3in. at the fuze hole, and the shell is heavier than a mortar. Lifting ears can be on either type of shell, this pattern does not have ears. Cast for a non-threaded wood fuze or seacoast drive in fuze, opening .95 to 1.05in. at surface, the small opening may be indication of Confederate manufacture. Projectile measures: diameter 7.9in., weight 50lbs. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 54.


Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, 8 in., fragments.

A0476.1. Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, 8 in., fragments.
Shell fragment 8 in. ball Note remains of threaded fuze hole, this fragment is 1.75 in. thick Recovered: Richmond VA.
Fragment weighs 5lb.


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