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, 9in.
Artillery 1850 Ball wood fuze 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 1851 Ball wood fuze 9in.
Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, Confederate modified, 9in.
The Confederates were not known to have had any 9 inch guns and the Federals would not have any reason to use these shells in their Naval Dahlgren guns without the watercap fuze. However a number of these wood fuzed 9 inch balls have been recovered from the trenches at Port Hudson, all missing the fuzes, too many to simply dismiss these as foreign or early. Research suggests that the Confederates may have either captured a supply of Federal Dahlgren shells, removed the watercap fuze, or manufactured this pattern cast for a wood fuze, the wood fuze could be ignited by hand, and then used them as a sort of very heavy hand grenade or modified land mine by rolling them over the parapets against the attaching troops at Port Hudson using a wooden slide. Cast or modified for a wood fuze. Shell measures: diameter 8.9in., weight 70lbs.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 61, (wood fuzed).

A2057...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, Confederate modified, 9in.
The Confederates were not known to have had any 9 inch guns and the Federals would not have any reason to use these shells in their Naval Dahlgren guns without the watercap fuze. However a number of these wood fuzed 9 inch balls have been recovered from the trenches at Port Hudson, all missing the fuzes. Research suggests that the Confederates may have either captured a supply of Federal Dahlgren shells, removed the watercap fuze, or manufactured this pattern cast for a wood fuze, the wood fuze could be ignited by hand, and then used them as a sort of very heavy hand grenade or modified land mine by rolling them over the parapets against the attaching troops at Port Hudson using a wooden slide. Cast or modified for a wood fuze. Shell measures: diameter 8.9in., weight 70lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: Port Hudson, Louisiana.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 61, (wood fuzed).

A1707...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, Confederate modified, 9in.
A1707.jpg (28610 bytes) The Confederates were not known to have had any 9 inch guns and the Federals would not have any reason to use these shells in their Naval Dahlgren guns without the watercap fuze. However a number of these wood fuzed 9 inch balls have been recovered from the trenches at Port Hudson, all missing the fuzes. Research suggests that the Confederates may have either captured a supply of Federal Dahlgren shells, removed the watercap fuze, or manufactured this pattern cast for a wood fuze, the wood fuze could be ignited by hand, and then used them as a sort of very heavy hand grenade or modified land mine by rolling them over the parapets against the attaching troops at Port Hudson using a wooden slide. Cast or modified for a wood fuze. Shell measures: diameter 8.9in., weight 70lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: Port Hudson, Louisiana.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 61, (wood fuzed).

A2145...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, Confederate modified, 9in.
The Confederates were not known to have had any 9 inch guns and the Federals would not have any reason to use these shells in their Naval Dahlgren guns without the watercap fuze. However a number of these wood fuzed 9 inch balls have been recovered from the trenches at Port Hudson, all missing the fuzes. Research suggests that the Confederates may have either captured a supply of Federal Dahlgren shells, removed the watercap fuze, or manufactured this pattern cast for a wood fuze, the wood fuze could be ignited by hand, and then used them as a sort of very heavy hand grenade or modified land mine by rolling them over the parapets against the attaching troops at Port Hudson using a wooden slide. Cast or modified for a wood fuze. Shell measures: diameter 8.9in., weight 70lbs. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: Port Hudson, Louisiana.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 61, (wood fuzed).

A2375...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, wood fuze, Confederate modified, 9in.
The Confederates were not known to have had any 9 inch guns and the Federals would not have any reason to use these shells in their Naval Dahlgren guns without the watercap fuze. However a number of these wood fuzed 9 inch balls have been recovered from the trenches at Port Hudson, all missing the fuzes. Research suggests that the Confederates may have either captured a supply of Federal Dahlgren shells, removed the watercap fuze, or manufactured this pattern cast for a wood fuze, the wood fuze could be ignited by hand, and then used them as a sort of very heavy hand grenade or modified land mine by rolling them over the parapets against the attaching troops at Port Hudson using a wooden slide. Cast or modified for a wood fuze. Shell measures: diameter 8.9in., weight 70lbs. Wood fuze is missing, there appears to be a shipping plug. Projectile is disarmed, drill hole through the bottom, powder was found inside this shell. Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 61, (wood fuzed).


Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, Federal Dahlgren, 9 in., fragments

A0440...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, Federal Dahlgren, 9 in., fragments
Fragment, base from 9 in. ball Fragment shows flat bottom characteristic of these shells. I am not sure why they were designed this way as the result was a weak point around the bottom and most of them blew a relatively round piece like this. Recovered: Richmond, Petersburg, Virginia campaign.
Fragment weighs 11lb.

A0468.2...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, Federal Dahlgren, 9 in., fragments
Shell fragment, base from 9 in. ball This is bottom section of 9 in. ball. Although rounded it is thicker than the rest of the ball, hence the break followed around this section. Recovered: Fort Fisher, North Carolina
Fragment weighs 12lb.

A0468.4...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, Federal Dahlgren, 9 in., fragments
Shell fragment 9 in. ball Note remains of threaded fuze hole, this fragment is 1.75 in. thick Recovered: Fort Fisher, North Carolina.
Fragment weighs 7lbs.

A2818...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, Federal Dahlgren, 9 in., fragments
This fragment is from the bottom, bottom inside was cast flat, often the bottom will fragment around this flat area, at the point of relative weakness with the rest of the ball. Fragment weighs approx 11lbs. Recovered: North Carolina defenses.

A2819...Smoothbore artillery projectile, spherical ball, bursting shell, Federal Dahlgren, 9 in., fragments
This fragment is from the bottom, bottom inside was cast flat, often the bottom will fragment around this flat area, at the point of relative weakness with the rest of the ball. Fragment weighs approx 10lbs. Recovered: North Carolina defenses.


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