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

Civil War Artillery

by Harry Ridgeway

Research Center: Artillery4353-Hotchkiss
Rifled artillery projectile, Hotchkiss design, Federal manufacture, bursting shell, pattern without flame grooves, rounded nose, "case shot" iron balls packed in sawdust, iron separator bolt, lead band sabot, Hotchkiss lead time fuze, rifled 6 pounder gun, 3in.
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 "common" or standard rounds, explosive charge only, or "case shot", filled with balls. This is "case shot", with a time fuze it was designed to be used against troops by spreading large volume of fragments and balls over the open field of fighting. Iron balls were packed in sawdust only. The nose is rounded to accomodate the extra load of balls and the casting in the nose is thin to encourage breakage forward in the nose. There are two chambers in the nose, all of the powder is in the lower chamber, all of the balls are in the upper chamber, there is an iron seperator bolt in the middle, with a hole and a narrow metal channel to allow the flame to pass from the fuze to detonate the powder in the lower chamber. On detonation, the exploding powder in the base was expected to push the seperator bolt and the balls forward and out the weak top section of the nose. The nose was cast as one part, the bottom is solid, the separator bolt apparently was precast and imbedded in the core, then positioned after casting once the core was removed, it is larger than the fuze opening. This early design did not have flame grooves, these were added in later patterns so that flame from firing would pass through the sabot and ignite the fuze. Fuze employed was a Hotchkiss lead time fuze, with spanner holes, early pattern did not have a flange, Jones pg. 86. Hotchkiss patent date was cast, not stamped, into the base, "HOTCHKISS PATENT OCTOBER 9, 1855 / MAY 14, 1861", and is typically very weak and may have been omitted entirely as the molds wore down or were replaced. Projectile measures: diameter 3.6in., length 7.0in. (excluding fuze), weight 13.9lbs.
Research Center: Artillery4353-Hotchkiss, Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 177.

Details click: http://relicman.com/artillery/Artillery4353-Hotchkiss.html.


Projectile measures: diameter 3.6in., length 7.0in. (excluding fuze), weight 13.9lbs. Sabot shows 7 lands & grooves, fired from rifled six pounder. Hotchkiss lead time fuze intact. Projectile is disarmed, drill hole through the paper section of the time fuze. Recovered: Vicksburg, Mississippi campaign.

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. This information is available for research purposes, pictures may be used by permission only.
All excavated artifacts have been recovered from private property with owner's permission.
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.

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