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  • 24-pounder cannon
  • Cold Harbor Battlefield

Artillery 24-pounder shell fragment with lead balls, Cold Harbor


Product Description

This is another great piece being offered, it is a shell fragment with canister balls from a 24-pounder caseshot shell. The fragment measures approximately 4” x 3” and the lead balls remain inside the matrix. Matrix was a medium of sulphur, asphaltum-pitch, or tree rosin added to the interior of a case-shot projectile for the purpose of stabilizing the case-shot balls.  It was recovered many years ago from the Cold Harbor, VA battlefield.

Shortly after the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia, both armies were again on the battlefield of Cold Harbor, forming a seven-mile front that extended from Bethesda Church to the Chickahominy River. At dawn June 3, 1864, the Union II and XVIII Corps, followed later by the IX Corps, attacked the entrenched Confederates, only to be slaughtered at all points. General Grant would later comment in his memoirs, that this was the only attack he wished he had never ordered. This was a devastating loss for the Union, with 13,000 casualties compared to the 2,500 suffered by the Confederates.

I had this piece for over 25 years and when I first acquired it the balls and matrix were still attached to the shell. Over time much of the matrix turned to powder and the balls separated from the shell (see first picture). I cleaned it up and sprayed a varnish over the balls that were still embedded to try and keep it together. There are stories from Union soldiers telling how Confederate Artillery was waiting for them and opened up with canister and caseshot.

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$7.50 (Fixed shipping cost)