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


Civil War Artillery
by Harry Ridgeway

Rifled artillery projectile, James design, 4.62in.
Artillery 4530 James 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.

Weapons used:
Rifled 12 pounder gun, 4.62in. Caliber of the gun is 4.62in., grooves, not determined, projectile diameter should measure 4.52 in. approximately, variations will be found.

Artillery 4531 James bolt hot shot 4.62in.
James, " hot shot" , open base with slots, lead and tin sleeve sabot, 12 pounder rifle, 4.62in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the invention of Charles James. This was intended to fire a "hot shot" or heated round, the iron base was designed to keep the hot ball separated from the powder, presumably the heated ball would cause more damage at the target. Top of the base is rounded to seat a round ball. This caliber is unusual, it is not sure if this was intended for a "rifled" 12 pounder or if this was to be fired from a conventional 12 pounder smooth bore, either way it apparently did not work very well and production was limited to a few test rounds. Shell without ball measures: diameter 4.25in., length 3.125in., weight 7.4lb.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 191, for 3.8in diameter this is 12 pounder.

A2940 James, "hot shot", open base with slots, lead and tin sleeve sabot, 12 pounder rifle, 4.62in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the invention of Charles James. This was intended to fire a "hot shot" or heated round, the iron base was designed to keep the hot ball separated from the powder, presumably the heated ball would cause more damage at the target. Top of the base is rounded to seat a round ball. This caliber is unusual, it is not sure if this was intended for a "rifled" 12 pounder or if this was to be fired from a conventional 12 pounder smooth bore, either way it apparently did not work very well and production was limited to a few test rounds. Shell without ball measures: diameter 4.25in., length 3.125in., weight 7.4lb. Fired shell, sleeve sabot and ball separated on firing, ball in the picture is for illustration only, it was not used with this base. Metal solid with some pitting. Recovered: Shiloh, Tennessee.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 191, 3.8in diameter this is 12 pounder.


Artillery 4532 James shell 4.62in.
Rifled artillery projectile, James design, Federal manufacture, bursting shell, "common" (standard), open base with slots, lead and tin sleeve sabot, James percussion fuze, rifled heavy 12 pounder gun 4.62in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the invention of Charles James. The pattern utilized a hollow caged cavity (called a "birdcage") covered by a thin sleeve of lead, tin, and canvass, the thin sabot would expand into the rifling, and then be discharged after the projectile left the bore. This meant that there would always be flying metal debris from the sabot, which could be a problem for forward troops. Four small holes were drilled into the base, these are thought to have been vent holes, however they are often lead filled. Shell is common shot (does not contain balls) and with percussion fuze was was designed to be used against opposing cannon by striking the equipment. Fuze employed was the James brass anvil percussion fuze, "West Point" two part fuze, Jones pg. 30. This was an early development for a rifled heavy 12 pounder gun, efforts to develop this weapon system were abandoned early on. Projectile measures: diameter 4.53in., length 8.5in. (excluding fuze), weight 21.7lbs.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 258.

A0153...Rifled artillery projectile, James design, Federal manufacture, bursting shell, "common" (standard), open base with slots, lead and tin sleeve sabot, James percussion fuze, rifled heavy 12 pounder gun 4.62in.
Projectile was manufactured in the Federal arsenals following the invention of Charles James. The pattern utilized a hollow caged cavity (called a "birdcage") covered by a thin sleeve of lead, tin, and canvass, the thin sabot would expand into the rifling, and then be discharged after the projectile left the bore. This meant that there would always be flying metal debris from the sabot, which could be a problem for forward troops. Four small holes were drilled into the base, these are thought to have been vent holes, however they are often lead filled. Shell is common shot (does not contain balls) and with percussion fuze was was designed to be used against opposing cannon by striking the equipment. Fuze employed was the James brass anvil percussion fuze, "West Point" two part fuze, Jones pg. 30. This was an early development for a rifled heavy 12 pounder gun, efforts to develop this weapon system were abandoned early on. Projectile measures: diameter 4.53in., length 8.5in. (excluding fuze), weight 21.7lbs. Lead sleeve sabot un-fired. Brass safety pin clearly shows on side. West Point percussion fuze missing, slider for percussion fuze was recovered, it was shoved into the throat. Projectile is disarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: Shiloh, Tennessee.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 258., actual example published.


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