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, 4.5 in.
Artillery 4380 Hotchkiss 4.5in.

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:
Ordnance seige rifle, 4.5in. Caliber of the gun is 4.5in., 9 grooves, projectile diameter should measure 4.45in. approximately, variations will be noted.


Artillery 4381 Hotchkiss bolt rounded nose with flame grooves 4.5in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Hotchkiss design, Federal manufacture, solid bolt, pattern with flame grooves and rounded nose, lead band sabot, siege rifle, 4.5 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. Shell is solid casting, or "bolt" and was designed to be used against opposing cannon by striking the equipment. Nose of this pattern is rounded, this is experimental round tested at West Point and apparently rejected. Projectile measures: diameter 4.4in., length 9in., weight 29lbs.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 245.

A1643...

Projectile measures: diameter 4.4in., length and weight not determined, nose only. Lead sabot is fired showing 9 lands and grooves, apparently both the gun and the shell were experimental as no guns of this caliber are known with this configuration. Iron base separated on firing and is missing. Metal solid, sabot intact, base cup missing. Projectile is disarmed, casting is solid iron. Recovered: West Point New York test range.


Artillery 4382 Hotchkiss bolt pointed nose 4.5in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Hotchkiss design, Federal manufacture, solid bolt, pattern without flame grooves and pointed nose, lead band sabot, siege rifle, 4.5 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. Shell is solid casting, or "bolt" and was designed to be used against opposing cannon by striking the equipment. Nose of this pattern is pointed, this is experimental round tested at West Point and apparently rejected.. Projectile measures: diameter 4.4in., length 10in., weight 31lbs.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 244.

A0895...

Projectile measures: diameter 4.4in., length and weight not determined, nose only. Nose section only, lead band sabot and base separated on firing. Projectile is disarmed, casting is solid iron. Recovered: West Point New York test range.


Artillery 4383 Hotchkiss shell 4.5in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Hotchkiss design, Federal manufacture, bursting shell, pattern without flame grooves, pointed nose "common" (standard), lead band sabot, wood time fuze, siege rifle, 4.5 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. Bottom is marked: "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 4.13in., length 10in. (excluding fuze), weight 26lbs.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 242.

A0150...

Projectile measures: diameter 4.13in., length 10in. (excluding fuze), weight 26lbs., not verified. Lead band sabot separated on firing and is missing. Wood time fuze is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: Petersburg, Virginia.


Artillery 4384 Hotchkiss shell with flame grooves 4.5in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Hotchkiss design, Federal manufacture, bursting shell, pattern with flame grooves, pointed nose "common" (standard), lead band sabot, threaded fuze, siege rifle, 4.5 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. Flame grooves, these were added on this model. Fuze employed was a threaded fuze, most likely a time fuze. Bottom is marked: "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 4.13in., length 10in. (excluding fuze), weight 26lbs.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 242.

A3130...

Projectile measures: diameter 4.13in., length 10in. (excluding fuze), weight 26lbs. Threaded fuze is missing, sabot is missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: not known.


Artillery 4385 Hotchkiss shell case shot 4.5in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Hotchkiss design, Federal manufacture, bursting shell, pattern with flame grooves, rounded nose "case shot" iron balls, lead band sabot, Hotchkiss lead time fuze, siege rifle, 4.5 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 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 lead and the balls are iron. Three flame grooves were 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. Projectile is equipped with Hotchkiss lead or zinc time fuze, early pattern without flange Jones pg. 86. Bottom is marked: "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 4.45in., length 10.5in. (excluding fuze), weight 30lbs.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 247.

A0151...

Projectile measures: diameter 4.45in., length 10.5in. (excluding fuze), weight 30lbs. Sabot is not fired and intact, cut on side is from farmers plow. Time fuze is missing, fuze hole is threaded. Projectile is disarmed: open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: Richmond, Petersburg, Virginia campaign.

A2861...

Projectile measures: diameter 4.45in., length 10.5in. (excluding fuze), weight 22lbs. without sabot or fuze. Lead band sabot separated on firing. Metal solid with pitting, lead sabot missing, fuze missing. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Shell was recovered at Tredegar in the 1960's. Sabot is missing. This could have been a Federal shell being analyzed at Tredegar or the variations in sizing could indicate that this was a Confederate copy of the Federal design, although if so it would apparently have been a prototype or trial pattern as there are no other known examples of this shell with Confederate attribution. At this point is is interpreted to be a Federal Hotchkiss with variation.


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