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Civil War Artillery 1” canister ball from the MOLLUS Museum, Philadelphia


Product Description

This is another nice piece being offered, it is a Civil War 1” Artillery canister ball. Canister shot, as the examples show, consisted of a cylindrical metal container, typically filled with round iron balls. Normally they were packed with sawdust to add more solidity to the mass and to prevent the balls from crowding each other when the round was fired.

When fired, the canister disintegrates and its projectiles spread out in a conical formation, causing a wide swath of destruction. It was particularly effective against massed troops at close range, usually less than 100 yards. This ball with its inventory number was recently de-accessed from the Military Order of The Loyal Legion of the United States Museum in Philadelphia, PA (MOLLUS), and I was fortunate to obtain a few pieces.

The “MOLLUS” museum is one of the oldest Civil War museums in the country founded in 1886. The museum was the repository for a world-class collection of artifacts housed since 1922 in a Philadelphia townhouse. Almost all of the museums’ collection was donated by members of the Loyal Legion who were also veterans of the war, and this ball has been in that collection for many years. A large number of the battlefield relics in the museum came from the Battle of Gettysburg.

The museum closed in 2008. Many of their holdings made their way to other institutions, but there were also some pieces which went up for auction, as did this ball and a few others. The museum meticulously labeled the pieces in their collection with a number within a white painted mark. This canister ball is #86.1.21. Artifacts from this museum are limited and very desirable – they are true pieces of history.

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$4.50 (Fixed shipping cost)