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


Civil War Artillery

by Harry Ridgeway


Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 4.62 in.
Artillery 2570 canister 4.62in.


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.


Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, pattern with thin iron can, iron top and bottom, iron balls, wood cup sabot, smoothbore 12 pounder, 4.62 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 12 pounder cannon 4.62in. The canister was intended to burst immediately on firing, and as a weapon of last resort, rounds could have been double or triple loaded without adversely stressing the cannon. Projectile measures: diameter 4.5in., canister length 5.5in. canister with partial sabot approx 10in., canister weight 10.8lb.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 57.

A0804...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, pattern with thin iron can, iron top and bottom, iron balls, wood cup sabot, smoothbore 12 pounder, 4.62 in.., Confederate manufacture
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 12 pounder cannon 4.62in. The canister was intended to burst immediately on firing, and as a weapon of last resort, rounds could have been double or triple loaded without adversely stressing the cannon. Projectile measures: diameter 4.5in., canister length 5.5in. canister with partial sabot approx 10in., canister weight 10.8lb. The top plate was fitted with a handle, which is indicative of Confederate manufacture, and this can was also found on a Confederate battery, it is unfired. Canister is unfired, was found under water, can and wood sabot are whole and complete, but very fragile. Projectile is disarmed, can was filled with balls and sawdust, there never was an explosive charge. Recovered: Peed Dee River, near Cheraw, South Carolina.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 57.


Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in., fragments

A0197...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
These canister plates were placed at the top and bottom of the can to hold the balls together. Thickness varies. Generally the thin plates are top plates and the thick ones were used on the bottom. One of these plates shows distortion from firing, the impression of the rounded canister balls is clearly visible. This occurs when canister were double or triple loaded into the cannon. This plate which is thick would have been the bottom plate of the bottom round, the maximum force from firing would force the first plate into the balls. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, by Harry Ridgeway.
Ridgeway collection, Old Court House Civil War Museum, Winchester, Virginia

A0583...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in., reconstructed cannister
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. Recovered: Spotsylvania Virginia.

A0879...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
Top and bottom plates came from 12 pounder canister round. This particular round (thin top plate, thicker bottom plate) came from detonation of an ammunition depot at City Point Va. The explosion distorted the thin top plate, but not the bottom plate. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: City Point Virginia.

A0881...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
Top and bottom plates came from 12 pounder canister round. This round may be Confederate manufactured based on the clip planchet left on the bottom plate. The thick plate is from the bottom, thin plate is from the top. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: central Virginia.

A0882...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
This is the bottom plate (thick) from a canister round, and it shows extreme distortion from firing. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: central Virginia.

A1019...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
This is the bottom plate (thick) from a canister round, and it shows extreme distortion from firing. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: central Virginia.

A1021...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
This is the bottom plate (thick) from a canister round, and it shows extreme distortion from firing. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: central Virginia.

A1022...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
This is the bottom plate (thick) from a canister round, and it shows extreme distortion from firing. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: central Virginia.

A1716...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
Top and bottom plates from canister. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A1717...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
Top and bottom plates from canister. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A1795...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in., reconstructed cannister
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 4.5 in., length 5.5 in. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A1809...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
Thin top plate from a canister. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A1810...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
Thin top plate from a canister. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A1811...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
Thin top plate from a canister. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A1812...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
Plate from canister. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A1813...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
Thin top plate from a canister. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A1814.. Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in. canister plates
Thin top plate from a canister. This plate received extreme pressure from firing and rolled. Plates measure 4.4in. to 4.5in. the can fitted over the plates, the can fit loosely into the cannon, so the plates will typically measure small. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A2783...Smoothbore artillery projectile, canister, 12 pounder, 4.62 in., reconstructed cannister
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 4.5in., length 8 in. including the sabot, 5.5in, 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


and now a word from our sponsor.....

Civil War Relicman, Harry Ridgeway,
Civil War artillery, Relicman sales catalog
.
Click here for artillery for sale.

artillery sales catalog.