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, 6.4in.
Artillery 4550 James 6.4in.

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 32 pounder gun, 6.4in. Caliber of the gun is 6.4in., 7 grooves, projectile diameter should measure 6.3in. approximately, variations will be found.


Artillery 4551 James bolt 6.4in.
Rifled artillery projectile, James design, Federal manufacture, solid bolt, open base with slots, lead and tin sleeve sabot, rifled 32 pounder, 6.4in.
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 always be flying metal debris 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 solid casting, or "bolt" and was designed to be used against opposing cannon by striking the equipment. These heavy James shells were supplied to the batteries at Fort Sumter at the start of the war, and were used in campaigns around Charleston in the early part of the war. Projectile measures: diameter 6.3in., length 11.5in., weight not determined.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 260., bolt not listed.

A0707...Rifled artillery projectile, James design, Federal manufacture, solid bolt, open base with slots, lead and tin sleeve sabot, rifled 32 pounder, 6.4in.
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 always be flying metal debris 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 solid casting, or "bolt" and was designed to be used against opposing cannon by striking the equipment. These heavy James shells were supplied to the batteries at Fort Sumter at the start of the war, and were used in campaigns around Charleston in the early part of the war. Projectile measures: diameter 6.3in., length 11.5in., weight not determined. Fired projectile, top section only recovered, sabot and base separated on firing. Projectile is disarmed, casting is solid iron. Recovered: Savannah, Georgia.
Ref: Bell, Heavy Ordnance, pg. 260.


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