Ridgeway Civil War Research Center,
A virtual examination of artifacts of the American Civil War


Civil War Artillery

by Harry Ridgeway


Artillery projectile, canister, 3.67 in.
Artillery 2540 canister 3.67in.

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.


Artillery 2541 canister 3.67in.
Artillery projectile, canister, pattern with thin iron can, iron top and bottom, iron balls, wood cup sabot, 3.67 in.
The canister was the artillerist's weapon of last resort. Once the enemy got close to the battery, the gunners would load these rounds, and the flimsy can would burst on firing sending the contents in scatter fashion against the troops charging the cannon. The fire was devastating against the troops but the enemy would be so close that options to reload and shoot would have been limited. The can was constructed of sheet iron, shaped into a cylinder, fitted around iron plates top and bottom, sides were brazed, a lip was left at the top and the bottom. A wood sabot was cut on a lathe, grooves were cut to tie the powder bag, the lower lip of the can was nailed to the wood sabot. The can was filled with balls, usually iron, packed in sawdust, once filled, the can upper lip was then folded around the top plate. Based on the diameter of this projectile, it is believed that this was intended for any 3.67in. cannon, either a smoothbore 6 pounder, rifled 6 pounder, or rifled 20 pounder. The canister was intended to burst immediately on firing, consequently the presence or absence of rifling would not have been important, and as a weapon of last resort, rounds could have been double or triple loaded without adversely stressing the cannon. Projectile measures: diameter 3.6in., overall length with sabot 6.75 in., canister only length 5.0in., weight 7.0lb.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 54.

A1393...Artillery projectile, canister, pattern with thin iron can, iron top and bottom, iron balls, wood cup sabot, 3.67 in.
The canister was the artillerist's weapon of last resort. Once the enemy got close to the battery, the gunners would load these rounds, and the flimsy can would burst on firing sending the contents in scatter fashion against the troops charging the cannon. The fire was devastating against the troops but the enemy would be so close that options to reload and shoot would have been limited. The can was constructed of sheet iron, shaped into a cylinder, fitted around iron plates top and bottom, sides were brazed, a lip was left at the top and the bottom. A wood sabot was cut on a lathe, grooves were cut to tie the powder bag, the lower lip of the can was nailed to the wood sabot. The can was filled with balls, usually iron, packed in sawdust, once filled, the can upper lip was then folded around the top plate. Based on the diameter of this projectile, it is believed that this was intended for any 3.67in. cannon, either a smoothbore 6 pounder, rifled 6 pounder, or rifled 20 pounder. The canister was intended to burst immediately on firing, consequently the presence or absence of rifling would not have been important, and as a weapon of last resort, rounds could have been double or triple loaded without adversely stressing the cannon. Projectile measures: diameter 3.6in., overall length with sabot 6.75 in., canister only length 5.0in., weight 7.0lb. Nondug canister, fully intact. Projectile is disarmed, contents are packed in sawdust, there never was an explosive charge. Recovered: surplus stocks.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 54.
Ridgeway collection, Old Court House Civil War Museum, Winchester, Virginia


Artillery 2542 canister 3.67in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Sawyer design, Federal manufacture, canister, pattern with stiff iron can, thin iron top, balls, no sabot, holes in the bottom, 6 pounder, 3.67 in.
The canister was the artillerist's weapon of last resort. Once the enemy got close to the battery, the gunners would load these rounds, and the flimsy can would burst on firing sending the contents in scatter fashion against the troops charging the cannon. The fire was devastating against the troops but the enemy would be so close that options to reload and shoot would have been limited. The can was filled with balls, packed in sawdust, a thin iron plate was fitted on the top. The can was rigid and did not have a sabot, three large holes were placed in the bottom, energy from firing would push through the bottom and force the balls and lid out the top. This 3.67 in size would fit either a smoothbore 6 pounder, rifled 6 pounder or one of the rifled 20 pounders. Projectile measures: diameter 3.63in., length 5.5in. (approx), weight not meaningful, canister balls are missing.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 63.

A0594...Rifled artillery projectile, Sawyer design, Federal manufacture, canister, pattern with stiff iron can, thin iron top, balls, no sabot, holes in the bottom, 6 pounder, 3.67 in.
The canister was the artillerist's weapon of last resort. Once the enemy got close to the battery, the gunners would load these rounds, and the flimsy can would burst on firing sending the contents in scatter fashion against the troops charging the cannon. The fire was devastating against the troops but the enemy would be so close that options to reload and shoot would have been limited. The can was filled with balls, packed in sawdust, a thin iron plate was fitted on the top. The can was rigid and did not have a sabot, three large holes were placed in the bottom, energy from firing would push through the bottom and force the balls and lid out the top. This 3.67 in size would fit either a smoothbore 6 pounder, rifled 6 pounder or one of the rifled 20 pounders. Projectile measures: diameter 3.63in., length 5.5in. (approx), weight not meaningful, canister balls are missing. Projectile is fired and shows distortion from firing. Projectile is disarmed, casing is empty. Recovered: Port Hudson, Louisiana.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 63.


Artillery projectile, canister, 3.67 in., fragments

A1719...Artillery projectile, canister, 3.67 in., top and bottom plates.

Top and bottom plates from canister. Plates measure: diameter 3.5 in. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A1720...Artillery projectile, canister, 3.67 in., canister reconstructed.
The canister was the artillerist's weapon of last resort. Once the enemy got close to the battery, the gunners would load these rounds, and the flimsy can would burst on firing sending the contents in scatter fashion against the troops charging the cannon. The fire was devastating against the troops but the enemy would be so close that options to reload and shoot would have been limited. This can has been reconstructed from scattered parts, top and bottom plate are iron, balls inside have been glued together to simulate their position inside the can which was scattered, rusted or lost. Projectile measures: diameter 3.5 in., canister only length 4.5in. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A2784...Artillery projectile, canister, 3.67 in., canister reconstructed.
The canister was the artillerist's weapon of last resort. Once the enemy got close to the battery, the gunners would load these rounds, and the flimsy can would burst on firing sending the contents in scatter fashion against the troops charging the cannon. The fire was devastating against the troops but the enemy would be so close that options to reload and shoot would have been limited. This can has been reconstructed from scattered parts, top and bottom plate are iron, balls inside have been glued together to simulate their position inside the can which was scattered, rusted or lost. Projectile measures: diameter 3.5 in., canister only length 4.5in. Recovered: not known.

A2931...Artillery projectile, canister, 3.67 in., canister reconstructed.
The canister was the artillerist's weapon of last resort. Once the enemy got close to the battery, the gunners would load these rounds, and the flimsy can would burst on firing sending the contents in scatter fashion against the troops charging the cannon. The fire was devastating against the troops but the enemy would be so close that options to reload and shoot would have been limited. This can has been reconstructed from scattered parts, top and bottom plate are iron, balls inside have been glued together to simulate their position inside the can which was scattered, rusted or lost. Projectile measures: diameter 3.5 in., canister only length 4.5in. Recovered: not known..


Canister and grape stand, misc

A0198.. Iron balls, "case shot", "canister", and "grape" shot various different sizes.
Generally small balls were used for "case shot" shells and the larger balls for cans. Recovered: Harry Ridgeway Frederick County, Virginia.
Ridgeway collection, Old Court House Civil War Museum, Winchester, Virginia


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