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


Civil War Artillery
by Harry Ridgeway

Rifled artillery projectile, Whitworth design, 3.75 in.
Artillery 5920 Whitworth 3.75in.

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:
Whitworth rifle, 3.75in. Caliber of the gun is 3.75in., six sided projectile diameter should measure 3.69in. approximately, measurenent approximately in the center across two flat sides.

Artillery 5921 Whitworth 3.75in.
Rifled artillery projectile, Whitworth design, English manufacture, bursting shell, hexagonal spiral rifling with no sabot, fuze type not determined, Whitworth rifle, 3.75 in.
Projectile was English manufactured following the invention of Sir Joseph Whitworth. The weapon employed a breechloading gun with hexagonal rifled twist that was more extreme than other conventional rifling systems. The result was that projectiles fired from a Whitworth rifle would achive greater spiral and greater range, however the shells had to be long and narrow and consequently could not carry a meaningful explosive charge in smaller calibers. This model did have a bursting chamber and a detachable nose, with a fuze. However all known examples came from surplus stocks with the fuzes cut out, so we do not know what type of fuze was actually employed. This weapon system never was accepted by the English government and so all production was exported, most of it to the Civil War in America. However the cannons were difficult to manufacture and the shells and guns required more prescion machining than was typically practiced at the time, so few actually made it into the field, This caliber was known to have been in use at Sabine Pass Texas. Projectile measures: diameter of flat surfaces, 3.7in. length 14.75in. weight 29 lbs.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance pg. 446.

A2332...Rifled artillery projectile, Whitworth design, English manufacture, bursting shell, hexagonal spiral rifling with no sabot, fuze type not determined, Whitworth rifle, 3.75 in.
Projectile was English manufactured following the invention of Sir Joseph Whitworth. The weapon employed a breechloading gun with hexagonal rifled twist that was more extreme than other conventional rifling systems. The result was that projectiles fired from a Whitworth rifle would achive greater spiral and greater range, however the shells had to be long and narrow and consequently could not carry a meaningful explosive charge in smaller calibers. This model did have a bursting chamber and a detachable nose, with a fuze. However all known examples came from surplus stocks with the fuzes cut out, so we do not know what type of fuze was actually employed. This weapon system never was accepted by the English government and so all production was exported, most of it to the Civil War in America. However the cannons were difficult to manufacture and the shells and guns required more prescion machining than was typically practiced at the time, so few actually made it into the field, This caliber was known to have been in use at Sabine Pass Texas. Projectile measures: diameter of flat surfaces, 3.7in. length 14.75in. weight 29 lbs. Threaded fuse is missing. Projectile is diarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: not known.
Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance pg. 446.

A2403...Rifled artillery projectile, Whitworth design, English manufacture, bursting shell, hexagonal spiral rifling with no sabot, fuze type not determined, Whitworth rifle, 3.75 in.
Projectile was English manufactured following the invention of Sir Joseph Whitworth. The weapon employed a breechloading gun with hexagonal rifled twist that was more extreme than other conventional rifling systems. The result was that projectiles fired from a Whitworth rifle would achive greater spiral and greater range, however the shells had to be long and narrow and consequently could not carry a meaningful explosive charge in smaller calibers. This model did have a bursting chamber and a detachable nose, with a fuze. However all known examples came from surplus stocks with the fuzes cut out, so we do not know what type of fuze was actually employed. This weapon system never was accepted by the English government and so all production was exported, most of it to the Civil War in America. However the cannons were difficult to manufacture and the shells and guns required more prescion machining than was typically practiced at the time, so few actually made it into the field, This caliber was known to have been in use at Sabine Pass Texas. Projectile measures: diameter of flat surfaces, 3.7in. length 14.75in. weight 29 lbs. Threaded fuse is missing. Projectile is diarmed, open fuze hole exposes empty interior. Recovered: not known.
Recovered: not known.
Ref: Bell Heavy Ordnance pg. 446.


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