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CONTENTS:

  • Cannon
  • Projectiles
  • Gimlets
  • Fuzes


  • Spherical CSA Cannonball; 2 1/2 Inch

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    This is a 2 1/2" sphericall ball with a visible equatorial mold seam typical to Confederate manufacture. Recovery site unknown.
     
    Flat-Nosed Hotchkiss, Type III, with 14-sec Wright Fuse.

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    A very stunning shell. The innumerated rim of the Wright 14-second time fuse is splendid! No central fuse plug. Cavity hollow (Disarmed). Sabot intact. Three nice "flame grooves" down sides for fire to pass shell & ignite time fuse on leaving cannon.
     
    Dated Lead Endcap for a Hotchkiss Cannister

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    This is the very thick and heavy lead end-cap for a 3" Union Hotchkiss cannister. It comes from the Shiloh battle theater. The patented Hotchkiss cannister was used extensively and had a devastating killing-effect at close range. In concept, the "cannister" is just that: an 8 inch-long tin can filled with many 3/4" iron balls. When blown from the mouth of a cannon at advancing enemy, the tin container broke open and sent a wave of high-velocity balls out like a huge deadly shotgun. Groups of men were simply wiped away in a sichening flash. When two cannister were loaded end-to-end and fired at once, it was called "giving the enemy double cannister." This is the end cap from such a projectile. Who knows how effective it was in dealing-out the death for which it was created.
     
    A Confederate Mullane Shell

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    This is a Confederate Mullance shell. One can see the casting line down the length of its body as well as the two raised bourrelets encircling it. It is "Virginia style" due to its notch in the basal bourrelet serving as a flame groove. A metal plate, serving as a sabot, would've been bolted to the three basal prongs A wooden drive-in fuse would've been used in this case. Once such shells are recovered, professionals can disarm them by opening the charge chamber and removing all the gunpowder. Thus, when sold on the modern retail marketplace, these MUST always be properly disarmed first.
     
    Long Body Union Schenkl from Chancellorsville

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    This is an example of the popular 3" Schenkl shell used by Union forces. It was designed and patented in 1861 by J.P. Schenkl and sold through contract to the Federal Government. The Brass percussion fuze in its tip was well-designed with a quite high success rate upon impact compared to other types of shell. The rear "ribbed" tail section was originally covered in a paper-mache like collar, called a sabot. It expanded into the "rifled" spirals within the cannon upon firing, giving a spin to the shell which made its path much more accurate. The sabot tore away upon leaving the weapon. An old collector has informed us of this relic's source by writing "Chancellorsville" upon it in white paint. Such shells had a hollow chamber in the nose filled with an explosive charge and many lead (or iron) balls to yield a much more deadly effect upon bursting.
     
    Exploded Parrot Fuse with Impact from case shots

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    This a fuze for the Union Parrot shell. It was screwed down into the threaded opening at the tip of a hollow shell and essentially acted as a path for an ignition spark to reach the gunpowder charge in the central bursting chamber. Detonation success rates for shells were quite variable from one type to another, ranging from 30% to 80%. However, this shell did explode, as the rounded dimples in the base of the fuze collar show. Upon explosion, the iron balls in the bursting chamber spread out into the surroundings, acting as deadly shrapnel. One direction that they are propelled is forward, hitting the bottom of the fuze and denting it. The fuze is most often thrown off as a separate piece of high-velocity debris. Sometimes the nose section of a shell stayed intact as a large "frag" or fragment, having the fuze still threaded in it. In the nervousness of battle, items were often dropped and not collected later. We sometimes find mint or undamaged fuzes grouped at the former positions of artillery battles. Shells were often taken away or tossed into creeks and woods. For years after the Civil War, Southern farmer would plow up live shells and parts, tossing them to the edge of their fields as bothersome junk. Occasionally, one would become disagreeable and blow up a farmer when his tractor prongs banged its fuze directly...
     
    Gettysburg Union Hotchkiss Shell

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    This is a fantastic US Hotchkiss artillery shell, type 2 with flame grooves, recovered along the Hagerstown Pike, near the Gettysburg Battlefield on private land during the early 1970s. It is all there, except for the lead sabot. Though the nose section is fractured open to reveal the bursting (load) chamber, it was all found in the same hole! The split side fits perfectly back into place. The brass fuze adaptor is even still screwed in, except for the very top, which blew off. Despite a fine surface pitting which has been cleaned by electrolysis and given a light polyurethane coat, one can still read the Hotchkiss patent information on the base piece! It is a solid, beautiful item from a known Gettysburg location. Few are left to be found on GB private lands. (THe rest will rust away...) This was most-likely fired by Union gunners along Cemetery Ridge, at CS forces along Seminary Ridge.
     
    Confederate Vent Pick

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    This is a hand-forged iron vent pick from the Civil war. It's twisted closure indicates a Confederate States item. It could be used to clean out the vent hole at the rear of the cannon tube where the fuze was inserted. But also, it could be rammed-down into the powder bag inside the cannon to expose the powder for the eventual spark from the fuze. Very nice plumb color. No rust or pitting. 16 3/4 inches long.
     
    Skeleton of a Tin of Caps!!!

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    The tin can that originally held these brass musket caps has long-sincve rusted away in the ground, leaving the adhered caps forever frozen in the shape of that tin. From private land in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area.
     
    Sideloaded Confederate Read-Parrott Shell

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    This beautifully preserved shell was recovered from the Battle of Shiloh Pittsburg Landing) site. It has a bent but intact (deeply rifled) brass sabot, and a zinc primer in the nose. It has been cleaned, labeled, and coated. It measures 8 7/8" long, and has a LEAD PLUGGED SIDE LOADING HOLE, a common Confederate technique of manufacture. HISTORY: General Grant’s Army of West Tennessee (numbering over 58,000 union troops) was encamped around the wilderness church at Shiloh, Tennessee. On the morning of April 6,1862, General Johnston advanced his Army of the Mississippi (numbering 43,938 confederate troops) in a surprise attack on the Union forces. The battle raged on for two days, leaving 23,746 men killed, wounded, or missing.
     
    1862 Dated Federal Hotchkiss Cannister

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    It is amazing that things like this actually survived in the ground for over 100 years! This is a Federal 3" Hotchkiss cannister found in Spanish Fort, Alabama area, one of the 1865 engagements of the late war. This is made of tinned sheet iron, filled with tiers of large lead balls packed in sawdust. The powder charge first went into the cannon as a bag and then the cannister was put into the tube. (Giving "double cannister" meant two of these were loaded end to end, such as against Picket's charge.) Therefore, these contain no explosive charge. They simply blow apart when leaving the cannon, acting like a horrific giant shotgun. Enemy were said "to explode like ripe tomatoes" when hit by its effect!!! The lead end cap of this bears the Hotchkiss patent "HOTCHKISS 3 IN. JAN'Y 7 1862 PATENT". This piece is solid, strong and intact except for one corroded through area that fortunately has acted as a "window" to see the stacked balls and sawdust still inside. Has been coated by a clear poly preservative which adds to its integrity.
     
    Artillery Fuse Wrench

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    This is a Civil War vintage artilleryman's fuse wrench, the two prongs being inserted into the spanner holes of a metal fuse adaptor in order to turn it in or out of the threading in a shell. The top "grip" incorporates both a small hammer end and a screwdriver for setting the center safety caps of fuse adaptors which use inner sliding anvil strikers. This is an extremely close fit to the holes in the Union Parrott adaptors, but could also be custom CSA since looks hand-forged. See rear of new CW fuse book by Charles Jones for similar examples from major collections.
     
    A Union Bormann Fuse Cutter

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    This is a handheld fuse cutter which was used to cut open the internal sparking chamber of the lead Bormann Time fuse. Depending upon where the opening was made, the internal gunpowder trail would be longer or shorter, modifying the ultimate detonation time. These are difficult to obtain, becoming obsolete soon after the Civil War.
     
    12 Pound Union Bormann Shell with a rare intact Wood Sabot

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    This is a twelve-pounder (designated by #12)Bormann-design shell. A "shell" is a hollow projectile that bursts apart from an inner explosive charge, often containg smaller lead or iron bells inside to spread out into the immediate vicinity as shrapnel. A timed fuze would often determine how far the shell would travel from the mouth of the cannon before the explosion would occur. Thus, an artilleryman would strive to cause the shell-burst directly over the enemy. "Solid-shot" or true cannonballs were used less and less during the Civil War. They could only damage or knock down what they directly hit, while the shell could spread its devastation to an area. As you can see in this case, round shells often were strapped to a wooden seat or "sabot" which helped to concentrate force and guide the projectile from the tube of the cannon. Some past collector has painted the number "31" onto the shell. It is unclear what this means, but such old markings are best left on Civil War relics to carry forward the idea that they have been subjects of collecting fascination throughout many successive generations. Once the ball left the cannon, the tin straps broke away and its wooden sabot fell behind. The shell would explode when the powder-train in its fuze reached a critical port-hole down into the main charge chamber.Sadly, the exact source of this preserved shell-sabot unit is a now a mystery. Some relics were souvenirs taken home by soldiers, others were "field pickups" collected by curious civilians soon after battles and the rest were war-surplus items sold years after the war to old soldiers.
     
    Iron Naval Fuse Spanner Wrench

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    The brass, zinc and copper fuze plugs used in the threaded openings of hollow shells often had spanner holes for tightening them down with wrenches. After the fuze plugs were screwed in most of the way by hand, the spanner wrench tightened them the rest of the way. This is a naval wrench made of iron and having a 1 1/16" separation to the prongs. No makers marks. But it is shown on Page 147 of Charles Jones' recent book on Civil War artillery fuses. These tools tend to be very rare.
     
    US Marked Engineers Hand Hatchet

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    This Union Engineer's Type Hatchet was brought home from the war by Edgar S. Gergason, Co. B. 20th Conn. according to family members. It has a deeply impressed "U.S." on the butt of the blade and an oak handle. These were the type of tools used by Union Engineers to construct barricades and buttresses upon Culp's Hill between the first and second day of Gettysburg, making assault by Confederate troops largely impossible.
     
    Wood Drive-In Fuze Holder for a CSA Shell

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    These wood drive-in fuze-holders were locally manufactured in the South for use in their hollow shells. While the North had brass, zinc and copper fuze-holders which were precision machined to screw-into their threaded shell openings, the South did not have that luxury. These large, tapered wooden dowels were hammered down into the opening of a hollow shell. A paper time-fuze was then placed down the center shaft, carrying flame from the charge-ignition slowly down into the bursting chamber. Hopefully, it went off when over the enemy. But in this case, a rope wick was shoved down the flame shaft, showing the desperastion of the Confederate Artillerymen as their standard paper fuzes and supplies ran out.
     
    Artillery Fuze Saw

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    This saw was issued for cutting wooden fuze plugs to their proper timed-length before firing a shell in battle. It has been illustrated in 1849 book "Artillery For the United States Land Servives" by Alfred Mordecai, and again by Charles Jones in his 2001 book 'Artillery Fuses of the Civil War'. It is marked "US" on its fancy wooden handle, and impressed "Beardshaw Sheffield" on the spine of the blade. A neat item used before precision-machined brass, zinc and copper fuze adaptors came on the scene. The Union and Confederate Navies still used large wooden fuzes during the Civil War, as did many CSA ground batteries for their time-ignited shells.
     
    12 Pound Bormann with Fuze, Underplug & Internal Balls

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    This is a dug or field-collected Union Bormann 12-Pounder with all the visual effects! The Bormann fuze is nearly intact with excellent details and numbers. It can still be threaded out from the shell to show the lower threaded seat! You can then unscrew this in order to look down into the charge or bursting chamber of the shell. Within the ball are the iron balls sitting nestled still... The powder has been washed out so that this is safe & inert now. When shells like this burst at the time set in the Bormann fuze, they would hurl off these small inner fballs as well as outer shell fragments in many direction like a shower of death! War is not kind to the enemy...
     
    Wood Drive-In Mortar Shell Fuze

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    This is a large wooden fuze that was used in huge round mortar shells. It is marked off in time units along the putside. These could often be adjusted of cut-down by use of an artilleryman's saw. When the spark from the blast burned down the center channel, then it would meet and ignite the powder in the center shell chamber, causing an internal blast that would exploe the shell. This would cause direct blast effect but would also throw fragments in many directions. A shell imbedded in fortifications or rolling along the ground could also explode in this manner after landing.
     
    A Cross-Sectioned Borrman Shell

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    Sometimes the internal construction of an item is much more interesting than what we see on the surface. This round Borrmann shell has been cut in half and mounted upon a wooden plaque to demonstrate the internal construction of a typical Civil War cannon shell. Within the matrix of the central cavity lie many steel (or lead) balls that are flung in various directions as deadly shrapnel over rows and masses of enemy troops. The empty cavity at its very center once contained the gunpowder which would explode when the time-fuze fire-trail burned down to meet it. It was the decision of the cannoneer or artilleryman to choose the exact burning time of the fuze in order for the field-burst to occur over the enemy's position.
     
    Rare Sawyer Candlestick Fuze

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    This is a very rare "candlestick" fuze for the Sawyer shell. It is in excellent condition and very hard to find. Innovation of both shell design and the fuzes was rapid during the Civil War, ranging from hollowed wooden cones up through these ingenious and progressive prototypes such as the Sawyer. Some ideas woirked others did not. But like anything, you can not succeed without trying...
     
    Brass Friction Primer to Spark a Cannon

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    This is an unused brass "friction primer" as employed by the Union Army during the Civil War. This tube was pushed down into the rear vent hole of a cannon. The hook on the end of a long lanyard cord was put through the loop. The artilleryman stood back and upon the command to fire, he pulled the cord. The spark caused by the friction ignited a fulminate of mercury charge inside the tube. These sparks spread down into the cannon tube where a black gunpowder charge waited behind the shell. KABOOM! The used primer was then pulled from the vent hole and a new one placed for the next discharge of the field piece. Such brass primers are frequently found on Civil War battlefields.
     
    Union James Shell with intact burlap sabot

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    The James Shell was a Union projectile often used in the Mississippi Theater of Action. Upon being hurled from the mouth of the cannon, it's thin burlap type collar or "sabot" was flung away and an underlying spiral open-work "birdcage" was exposed. The James used a special percussion or impact-driven "anvil-type" fuze. They are not common shells. Thus, intact examples such as this one are highly-prized by modern collectors. Many of the field-dug examples come from the Vicksburg area.
     
    Stand of Grape Shot

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    Grape shot were small solid iron balls, bigger than the cannister shot which were used against infantry. They were often stacked in a "stand" as seen here, being held in a tight helix by a spiral outer ring of iron. Iron plates were tightly bolted at either end. This cylindrical assembly could then be pushed into the tube of a cannon and fired. The force of the cannon's blast would hurl the grape, ring and plates toward the enemy. In the Civil War, these grape shot were commonly used by the Navy to take down masts and riggings during sea battles between opposing ships. This is a rare intact example.
     
    Construction of Deadly Cannister Shot

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    Cannister were designed turn cannons into giant shotguns. They essentially were tin cans full of numerous iron or lead balls which would disperse once fired from the muzzle of the artillery piece. The intention was to cut a horribly deadly swath of destruction through a mass on oncoming infantry or cavalry. In this picture, a rear wooden base (or sabot) has been removed from a Civil War cannister in order to show the inner contents of its tin tube. A number of iron balls sit nestled in a packing of sawdust. At times, "double cannister" or two cans put into the cannon end-to-end were used during the more fierce and frantic moments of intense battle.
     
    Cannonball from under Grandma's House

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    Left behind weapons and artifacts peppered the South at the close of the Civil War. Many were tossed in trash pits or huge rusting heaps besides the farmlands where men fought and died. For years afterwards, curious relic hunters and old soldiers walked the lands, looking for abandoned items from clashes and shirmishes. Some finds were kept on mantels while others were sold as military souvenirs to tourists. But other items lay quietly for many decades under the red clay of Southern soil... just waiting. This solid shot 3-inch cannonball has an interesting tale to tell. Or so says the typed letter that came along with it: It was discovered in the ground when a house was built in Unionville, North Carolina about a century ago... but was immediately tossed back under the foundation. The grandaughter of the woman who lived there eventually retrieved it, creating the letter which attests to its origins. In fact, some minor cavalry skirmishing took place in that area with an artillery battery attached to the passing Union forces. It is quite interesting when the exact history of Civil War relics is kept linked to them in the form of old notes, tags or letters of attestation. This item was briefly part of a display at "The War Between The States Museum" in Florence, S.C.
     
    Front Sight for a Civil War Cannon.

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    This is a great piece of Civil War artillery history. It is an original front blade-style sight for a Civil War cannon. This one stands 3-1/2 inches tall and is about ˝ of an inch across. The side of the sight is marked “8.IN.S.C.H.”. This marking was to quickly identify the style cannon that it would fit on; an 8 inch bore diameter sea coast howitzer cannon.
     
    Confederate Read Shell fromStones River, Tenn.

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    This is a dug Confederate shell from the area of Stones River, TN. One can see how the effects of decades left underground has eaten away at sections of its surface. Eventually, all iron relics that remain under the soil will spall and corrode away to flakes. The brass fuze and end piece (sabot) will survive much longer. Once discovered, old iron shells can be restored by the process of electrolysis through which the surface can be cleansed back to the still solid metal surfaces residing below. That done, we are left with a stable surface which can afterward be coated with clear polymers in order to prevent future rust. (This comes from private land with permission)
     
    A Rare Union Cannon

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    One of the outstanding examples of the high quality tools, gauges, instruments and implements manufactured by the US Army Ordnance Department, this is an excellent specimen of the Civil War era US Army Artillery Gunner's Level. Plainly marked at the top of the level, the Ordnance Department stamp reads “U.S. / WATERVLIET / ARSENAL / 1863" and above that is stamped the Federal Eagle. A fairly scarce artilleryman’s implement, these are believed to have been issued at a rate of one for every six guns or cannons. Employed when setting or positioning the guns, the level was used to determine the high point of the gun's base ring. That high point was then marked on the gun with chalk for use in aiming the gun. Manufactured at the Watervliet Arsenal in 1863 and so marked, this Gunner’s Level measures approximately 6.25” high and across, is fabricated of heavy brass plate and is complete with both feet, the slinging steel pointer and the spirit level. The horizontal spirit level is firmly attached with four old screws and is defect free; the leveling bubble showing plainly in the glass viewer. The pointer slides easily in the brass keepers. Showing very little wear, this Gunner’s Level is undamaged and retains a beautiful aged patina and shows no sign of cleaning or polishing.
     
    Confederate Polygonal Shell Fragment with Wood Fuze

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    This is the dome fragment of a hollow Confederate cannonball designed with polygonal ribs inside that would aid in its bursting into regular shaped fragments. Rather than merely splitting in two like prior round shells with smooth central cavities, this design would burst into a honeycomb effect of pieces, thus causing more destruction to clustered enemy forces. Pieces from such a "polygonal cavity" shell demonstrate a geometric shape as seen here. The remnant of a Confederate drive-in fuze holder is seen in the opening as well. From Central Virginia near Richmond. Private land with permission.
     
    Heavy Iron Cannister Plate Culps Hill Gettysburg

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    This is a very thick iron end plate from a 12-Pounder cannister which was recovered north-northeast of Culp's Hill in Gettysburg from private land in past. It is just over 4 inches across and more than 1/4" thick. You can see the indentations of the exploding cannister balls which bent pock marks into it as fired! A very cool, rare relic. Comes with digger label
     
    Schenkl Shell found Bloody Lane Antietam 1887

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    This is a very nice Union Schenkl shell that was found "by J. B. Cone on Sept. 1, 1887 along Bloody Lane at Antietam. He was likelt there for a reunion, since the battle was fought in September 1862. Shell now disarmed through fuze opening. Old tags like this are really cool links to past soldiers and collectors.
     
    A rare Frankford Arsenal Brass Range Gauge

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    This is a rare range-finding gauge for an artilleryman. It is marked Frankford Arsenal (Philadelphia). These are quite uncommon.