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  • Left is CS, right is US (CS shell not included)
  • "Civil War Artillery - A Pictorial Introduction"

Rare - 6-pounder ball with Bormann fuse, Shiloh


Product Description

This is a rare artillery shell being offered, it is a 6-pounder case-shot ball with a Bormann fuse from the Shiloh Battlefield. These projectiles were intended for the smoothbore 6 pounder gun which had been the primary field howitzer in use before the Civil War but was outclassed by the new 12 pounders as they became available.

The arsenals were stocked with them, most were manufactured before the war and both sides used them, but primary use was southern. The exploding balls were equipped with time fuzes designed to detonate in the air above the target, spreading fragments or balls against troops in the open field. Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball. This ball has a fantastic Bormann time fuse that is very clear, and you can see where it was punched at the 4 second mark.

In my book “Civil War Artillery – A Pictorial Introduction”, I show a Confederate Bormann six-pounder, and that one was also recovered at Shiloh (see pictures). I put the two together for comparison. On these projectiles, a plain shell weighs about 4 pounds and case-shot over 5 pounds. This one is over 5 pounds, indicating it still has the lead or iron balls inside.

The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was fought April 6 - 7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and was encamped principally at Pittsburg Landing on the west bank of the river, where Confederate forces under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard launched a surprise attack on Grant's army. The Confederates achieved considerable success on the first day but were ultimately defeated on the second day.

At the early battle of Shiloh, there were quite a few 6-pounder smooth-bore guns being used, which is why many of these shells were recovered from that area. The value of these shells depends mainly on the condition of the fuse. I’ve seen numerous examples where the markings are totally gone. This one is a real beauty and would be difficult to upgrade.

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$12.50 (Fixed shipping cost)