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, Bormann under-plug substituted for fuze, Dahlgren smoothbore, 9 in.
Artillery 1830 Ball Dahlgren Bormann underplug substitute 9in.

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:
Dahlgren smoothbore gun, 9in. Caliber of the gun is 9.0in., (Navy), round projectile diameter should measure 8.9in. approximately, variations will be noted.

The 9 inch balls were generally intended for the Navy Dahlgren guns. Early versions of the monitor class ships employed 9 inch guns in the turret, but these later were upgraded to 11 and 15 inch. The 9 inch balls are most frequently seen in the early war battles, they were rendered obsolete by the end of the war. Wood fuzed shells are found at Civil War sites, likely these are Confederate substitutes

A 9 inch ball will measure 8.85 after deducting for windage.


Artillery 1831 Ball Dahlgren Bormann underplug substitute 9in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, Bormann under-plug substituted for fuze, Dahlgren smoothbore, 9 in.
Ball was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the Navy for the heavy Dahlgren gun. This was a heavy smoothbore gun designed for the monitor class of Federal river gunships, this was one of two guns mounted in the turret. Projectile was originally threaded for a Federal Navy watercap fuze. Apparently some were converted to bolts, the powder was removed or not loaded, and these Bormann underplugs were used to plug the fuze hole, thus converting this hollow ball to a bolt. During the siege of Fort Fisher, the commander ordered his ships to limit fire to bolts while the landing party approached, and this pattern of "bolts" may have been used then. Projectile measures diameter 8.9 in., weight 75 lbs.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 69.

A1708...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, Bormann under-plug substituted for fuze, Dahlgren smoothbore, 9 in.
Ball was manufactured in the Federal arsenals for the Navy for the heavy Dahlgren gun. This was a heavy smoothbore gun designed for the monitor class of Federal river gunships, this was one of two guns mounted in the turret. Projectile was originally threaded for a Federal Navy watercap fuze. Apparently some were converted to bolts, the powder was removed or not loaded, and these Bormann underplugs were used to plug the fuze hole, thus converting this hollow ball to a bolt. During the siege of Fort Fisher, the commander ordered his ships to limit fire to bolts while the landing party approached, and this pattern of "bolts" may have been used then. Projectile measures diameter 8.9 in., weight 75 lbs. Bormann underplug fuze is intact. Projectile is disarmed by drill hole through the bottom. Note that upon drilling it was noted that this ball is empty, apparently the powder was removed when this underplug was installed. Recovered: surplus stocks.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance, pg. 69.


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