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Artillery shell fragment recovered near the Dunker Church, Antietam Battlefield 1


Product Description

This is another nice piece being offered, it is fragment from a US/CS 12-pounder spherical shell, measuring 3 ½” x 2 ½”. The digger recovered this piece and several others many years ago from the area of the famous Dunker Church on the Antietam Battlefield, across from where the National Park Service Visitor Center stands today.

No doubt that some of these exploded shells were fired from the 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery. The order was given by Captain J. Albert Monroe to “drop trail and fire” on elements of General J.B. Kershaw’s South Carolina brigade of Walker’s division, who were now making their appearance on the field south of Dunker Church. In two of my books “Battle of Gettysburg – The Relics, Artifacts & Souvenirs” and “Civil War Artillery – A Pictorial Introduction”, I discuss Captain Monroe, along with some of his personal items which are in my private collection.

The South Carolinians came within 50 yards of their objective, but the massed Union forces and their artillery support poured a series of brutally accurate volleys into the Confederate assault formations.

Captain John A. Tompkins of Battery A of the 1st Rhode Island stated in his report that “During the greater portion of the time I was engaged, the battery was without support, and exposed on its right flank to an enfilading fire from the rebel infantry. I report having expended 83 rounds of canister, 68 rounds of solid shot, 427 rounds shell, and 454 rounds of case shot - I,050 rounds in all.”

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