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


Civil War Artillery

by Harry Ridgeway


Rifled artillery projectile, Hotchkiss design, 4.2 in.
Artillery 4370 Hotchkiss 4.2in.

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:
Parrott 30 pounder rifle, 4.2in. Caliber of the gun is 4.2in., 5 grooves, projectile diameter should measure 4.1 in. approximately, variations will be found.


Artillery 4371 Hotchkiss shell wood fuze 4.2in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Hotchkiss design, Federal manufacture, bursting shell, pattern without flame grooves, pointed nose "common" (standard) , lead band sabot, wood time fuze, Parrott 30 pounder rifle, 4.2 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the invention of Andrew Hotchkiss. The pattern consisted of three parts, a nose section containing the explosive charge, a cast iron cup fitted on the bottom, and lead band sabot cast around the middle, on firing the cup would compress the lead band sabot expanding it into the rifling. Some of these shells were configured as case shot , filled with balls, or as "common", with out balls. This shell is a "common" shell, (standard), it does not contain balls, and with a time fuze it was designed to be used against either troops in the open field or enemy cannon. The nose section is pointed, containing an open cavity for the explosive charge only, without a separator bolt. Nose section contains a plugged hole centered on the bottom, presumably this hole was used to secure the core on casting, then a plug was installed to seal the bottom. Shell does not have flame grooves, these were added on later models. Fuze employed was a wood time fuze, fuze hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuze could easily be hammered into place, Jones Fuzes pg. 2. Hotchkiss patent date was cast, not stamped, into the base, "HOTCHKISS PATENT OCTOBER 9, 1855", and is typically weak, and may have been omitted altogether as molds wore down or were replaced. Projectile measures: diameter 4.13in., length 10in. (excluding fuze), weight 26lbs.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 242.

A0303...

Projectile measures: diameter 4.13in., length 10in. (excluding fuze), weight 26lbs. Lead band sabot shows weak rifling and is partially rolled up but fully present. Wood fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi Mississippi.

A1642...

Projectile measures: diameter 4.13in., length and weight not determined. Nose section only sabot and base cup separated on firing. Wood fuze missing, bottom plug is visible. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: Vicksburg Mississippi.


Artillery 4372 Hotchkiss shell percussion fuze 4.2in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Hotchkiss design, Federal manufacture, bursting shell, pattern without flame grooves, pointed nose "common" (standard) , lead band sabot, Hotchkiss brass percussion fuze, Parrott 30 pounder rifle, 4.2 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the invention of Andrew Hotchkiss. The pattern consisted of three parts, a nose section containing the explosive charge, a cast iron cup fitted on the bottom, and lead band sabot cast around the middle, on firing the cup would compress the lead band sabot expanding it into the rifling. Some of these shells were configured as case shot , filled with balls, or as "common", without> balls. This shell is a "common" shell, (standard), it does not contain balls, and with a percussion fuze it was designed to detonate after striking enemy cannon or equipment. The nose section is pointed, containing an open cavity for the explosive charge only, without a separator bolt. Nose section contains a plugged hole centered on the bottom, presumably this hole was used to secure the core on casting, then a plug was installed to seal the bottom. Shell does not have flame grooves, these were not needed when a percussion fuze was used. Fuze employed was a Hotchkiss percussion fuze, cap secured by a single slot tightening groove, with flange, Jones pg 94. Hotchkiss patent date was cast, not stamped, into the base, two dates, "HOTCHKISS PATENT OCTOBER 9, 1855 / MAY 14, 1861", and is typically weak, and may have been omitted altogether as molds wore down or were replaced. Projectile measures: diameter 4.1in., length 10in., excluding fuze, weight 27lbs.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 242.

A1641...

Projectile measures: diameter 4.1in., length 10in., excluding fuze, weight 27.2lb. Lead band sabot is un-fired. Hotchkiss percussion fuze intact and removable. Projectile is disarmed, removable fuze exposes empty cavity. Recovered: Vicksburg Mississippi.


Artillery 4373 Hotchkiss case shot 4.2in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Hotchkiss design, Federal manufacture, bursting shell, pattern with flame grooves, rounded nose "case shot" lead balls , lead band sabot, Hotchkiss brass time fuze,Parrott 30 pounder rifle, 4.2 in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the invention of Andrew Hotchkiss. The pattern consisted of three parts, a nose section containing the explosive charge, a cast iron cup fitted on the bottom, and lead band sabot cast around the middle, on firing the cup would compress the lead band sabot expanding it into the rifling. Some of these shells were configured as case shot, filled with balls, or as "common", standard, without balls. This shell is "case shot", explosive charge with lead balls, and with a time fuze was designed to detonate above the heads of troops in the open field. This pattern features a rounded nose designed to pack additional "case shot" balls, the fuze is brass and the balls are lead. Three flame grooves added so that flame from firing would pass through the sabot and ignite the fuze. On case shot shells, there is no bottom plug, but there is a small internal pin apparently holding the separator bolt in place. Fuze employed was a Hotchkiss brass time fuze, with slots and a flange, Jones pg. 87. Projectile measures: diameter 4.1in., length 9in., weight 17lbs. , nose section only.
Ref: Bell , Heavy Ordnance, pg. 242.

A2882...

Projectile measures: diameter 4.1in., length 9in., weight 17lbs., nose section only. Nose section only, sabot and base were separated on firing. Metal is solid with pitting, sabot and cup base missing, brass time fuze intact. Projectile is disarmed, drill hole through the paper section of the time fuze. Recovered: not known.


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