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


Civil War Artillery

by Harry Ridgeway


Rifled artillery projectile, Dahlgren design, 3.4 in.
Artillery 3830 Dahlgren 3.4in.

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:
Rifled boat howitzer, 3.4in. Caliber of the gun is 3.4in.,tbd grooves, projectile diameter should measure 3.38 in. approximately, variations will be found.

Artillery 3831 Dahlgren blind shell 3.4in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Dahlgren design, Federal manufacture, blind shell with brass cap, lead cup sabot, rifled boat howitzer, 3.4 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the design of John Dahlgren. The pattern employed a lead cup sabot with a groove in the middle on which greased twine was affixed, this to lubricate. The bottom of the projectile was cast with five ribs onto which the lead cup sabot was affixed. In addition four raised ribs were placed on the side, which were slightly wider than the rifling grooves in the cannon and designed to guide the projectile through the bore, but without catching on the grooves. These projectiles were cast with a cavity, the casting sand was usually left in the core, unfinished hole was plugged with a small brass plug, giving it the effect of a light bolt. This was probably intended as a transitional measure to test the pattern, the shell could be drilled and fitted for fuzes at a later time. These "blind shells" never had an explosive charge, the black substance sometimes found inside is foundry sand from the mold for the core. Projectile measures: diameter 3.38in. length 7.25in., weight 12lb.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 385.

A0113...Rifled artillery projectile, Dahlgren design, Federal manufacture, blind shell with brass cap, lead cup sabot, rifled boat howitzer, 3.4 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the design of John Dahlgren. The pattern employed a lead cup sabot with a groove in the middle on which greased twine was affixed, this to lubricate. The bottom of the projectile was cast with five ribs onto which the lead cup sabot was affixed. In addition four raised ribs were placed on the side, which were slightly wider than the rifling grooves in the cannon and designed to guide the projectile through the bore, but without catching on the grooves. These projectiles were cast with a cavity, the casting sand was usually left in the core, unfinished hole was plugged with a small brass plug, giving it the effect of a light bolt. This was probably intended as a transitional measure to test the pattern, the shell could be drilled and fitted for fuzes at a later time. These "blind shells" never had an explosive charge, the black substance sometimes found inside is foundry sand from the mold for the core. Projectile measures: diameter 3.42in., length 7.5in. (excluding fuze), weight 11.2lbs. Sabot is fired and intact showing light rifling. Metal is solid. Projectile is disarmed: this casting does have a cavity but none were filled with a bursting charge. Recovered: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 385.

A1522...Rifled artillery projectile, Dahlgren design, Federal manufacture, blind shell with brass cap, lead cup sabot, rifled boat howitzer, 3.4 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the design of John Dahlgren. The pattern employed a lead cup sabot with a groove in the middle on which greased twine was affixed, this to lubricate. The bottom of the projectile was cast with five ribs onto which the lead cup sabot was affixed. In addition four raised ribs were placed on the side, which were slightly wider than the rifling grooves in the cannon and designed to guide the projectile through the bore, but without catching on the grooves. These projectiles were cast with a cavity, the casting sand was usually left in the core, unfinished hole was plugged with a small brass plug, giving it the effect of a light bolt. This was probably intended as a transitional measure to test the pattern, the shell could be drilled and fitted for fuzes at a later time. These "blind shells" never had an explosive charge, the black substance sometimes found inside is foundry sand from the mold for the core. Projectile measures: diameter 3.38in. length 7.25in., weight not determined. Sabot is fired and missing. Metal is solid. Projectile is disarmed: this casting does have a cavity but none were filled with a bursting charge. Recovered: not known, early pickup.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 385.

A2107...Rifled artillery projectile, Dahlgren design, Federal manufacture, blind shell with brass cap, lead cup sabot, rifled boat howitzer, 3.4 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the design of John Dahlgren. The pattern employed a lead cup sabot with a groove in the middle on which greased twine was affixed, this to lubricate. The bottom of the projectile was cast with five ribs onto which the lead cup sabot was affixed. In addition four raised ribs were placed on the side, which were slightly wider than the rifling grooves in the cannon and designed to guide the projectile through the bore, but without catching on the grooves. These projectiles were cast with a cavity, the casting sand was usually left in the core, unfinished hole was plugged with a small brass plug, giving it the effect of a light bolt. This was probably intended as a transitional measure to test the pattern, the shell could be drilled and fitted for fuzes at a later time. These "blind shells" never had an explosive charge, the black substance sometimes found inside is foundry sand from the mold for the core. Projectile measures: diameter 3.38in. length 7.25in., weight not determined. Sabot is fired and missing. Metal is solid. Projectile is disarmed: this casting does have a cavity but none were filled with a bursting charge. Recovered: by Mac Mason 1951, Projectile bears artwork by the renowned digger describing the discovery.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 385.

A2413...Rifled artillery projectile, Dahlgren design, Federal manufacture, blind shell with brass cap, lead cup sabot, rifled boat howitzer, 3.4 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the design of John Dahlgren. The pattern employed a lead cup sabot with a groove in the middle on which greased twine was affixed, this to lubricate. The bottom of the projectile was cast with five ribs onto which the lead cup sabot was affixed. In addition four raised ribs were placed on the side, which were slightly wider than the rifling grooves in the cannon and designed to guide the projectile through the bore, but without catching on the grooves. These projectiles were cast with a cavity, the casting sand was usually left in the core, unfinished hole was plugged with a small brass plug, giving it the effect of a light bolt. This was probably intended as a transitional measure to test the pattern, the shell could be drilled and fitted for fuzes at a later time. These "blind shells" never had an explosive charge, the black substance sometimes found inside is foundry sand from the mold for the core. Projectile measures: diameter 3.38in. length 7.25in.,weight not determined. Sabot is fired and missing. Metal is solid. Projectile is disarmed: this casting does have a cavity but none were filled with a bursting charge, and brass cap has been removed exposing empty interior. Recovered: North Carolina defenses, not confirmed.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 385.

A2755...Rifled artillery projectile, Dahlgren design, Federal manufacture, blind shell with brass cap, lead cup sabot, rifled boat howitzer, 3.4 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the design of John Dahlgren. The pattern employed a lead cup sabot with a groove in the middle on which greased twine was affixed, this to lubricate. The bottom of the projectile was cast with five ribs onto which the lead cup sabot was affixed. In addition four raised ribs were placed on the side, which were slightly wider than the rifling grooves in the cannon and designed to guide the projectile through the bore, but without catching on the grooves. These projectiles were cast with a cavity, the casting sand was usually left in the core, unfinished hole was plugged with a small brass plug, giving it the effect of a light bolt. This was probably intended as a transitional measure to test the pattern, the shell could be drilled and fitted for fuzes at a later time. These "blind shells" never had an explosive charge, the black substance sometimes found inside is foundry sand from the mold for the core. Projectile measures: diameter 3.38in. length 7.25in., weight 12lb. Sabot is not fired and intact. Metal is solid and smooth. Projectile is disarmed: this casting does have a cavity but none were filled with a bursting charge. Recovered: remains of a crate of unfired shells recovered around Richmond Virginia.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 385.


Artillery 3832 Dahlgren shell threaded fuze 3.4in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Dahlgren design, Federal manufacture, bursting shell, threaded for a fuze, lead cup sabot, rifled boat howitzer, 3.4 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the design of John Dahlgren. The pattern employed a lead cup sabot with a groove in the middle on which greased twine was affixed, this to lubricate. The bottom of the projectile was cast with five ribs onto which the lead cup sabot was affixed. In addition four raised ribs were placed on the side, which were slightly wider than the rifling grooves in the cannon and designed to guide the projectile through the bore, but without catching on the grooves. These projectiles were cast with a cavity, this pattern was drilled drilled and fitted for fuze, however none have been recovered with a fuze. Projectile measures: diameter 3.42in., length 7.25in. (excluding fuze), weight 11.4lbs.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 386.

A0114...Rifled artillery projectile, Dahlgren design, Federal manufacture, bursting shell, threaded for a fuze, lead cup sabot, rifled boat howitzer, 3.4 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the design of John Dahlgren. The pattern employed a lead cup sabot with a groove in the middle on which greased twine was affixed, this to lubricate. The bottom of the projectile was cast with five ribs onto which the lead cup sabot was affixed. In addition four raised ribs were placed on the side, which were slightly wider than the rifling grooves in the cannon and designed to guide the projectile through the bore, but without catching on the grooves. These projectiles were cast with a cavity, this pattern was drilled drilled and fitted for fuze, however none have been recovered with a fuze. Projectile measures: diameter 3.42in., length 7.25in. (excluding fuze), weight 11.4lbs. Sabot is not fired and intact. Threaded fuze not installed. Metal is solid, minor areas of pitting. Projectile is disarmed: open fuze hole exposes empty interior. solid iron casting never had a cavity or bursting charge. Recovered: surplus stocks.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 386.


Rifled artillery projectile, Dahlgren design, fragments.

A0911...Rifled artillery projectile, Dahlgren design, fired sabot, 3.4in.
This is fired sabot that separated from its shell, has 4 raised ribs which can be seen inside the sabot, as well as shape of the base cup, and exterior rifling. Recovered: not known.


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