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US/CS 12-pounder Cannonball, recovered: Battle of Trevilian Station, VA


Product Description

This is another nice piece being offered, it is a 12-pounder solid-shot cannonball, used by both sides during the Civil War. It has a diameter of 4.50 inches, weighs 11.8 pounds. This would have been fired from a 12-pounder smoothbore cannon. It still has a visible mold seam, usually associated with Confederate-use. It was recovered: at the Battle of Trevilian Station, VA.

In early June 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant ordered General Philip Sheridan, his cavalry commander, to embark on a raid westward from Grant’s army near Cold Harbor. Sheridan’s tasks were to draw Confederate attention away from Grant’s upcoming movement south, destroy railroads connecting the Shenandoah Valley with the Confederate armies, and join up with General David Hunter in Charlottesville.

On June 11, near Trevilian Station, Sheridan clashed with Confederate cavalry under Generals Wade Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee. General George Custer briefly captured Hampton’s supply train. Confederate brigades soon surrounded Custer’s men, and only the arrival of other troopers saved Custer and allowed the capture of Trevilian Station.

The next morning, after damaging several miles of railroad, the Union cavalry made several assaults against a fortified Confederate line, but each attack was repulsed. Ultimately, Sheridan was forced to withdraw. He had succeeded in drawing attention away from Grant but failed to substantially interrupt supply lines or join up with General Hunter.

According to Peter George, co-author of "Field Artillery Projectiles of the American Civil War", "12 pounder solid shots were the iconic Civil War cannonball, however, there were many more explosive cannonballs fired during the war than solid shots. This 12-pounder solid shot was acquired directly from the family of E.V. Smith, he was a lifelong Virginia relic hunter.

 This ball is in excellent condition, having a mostly smooth surface, and as I mentioned, part of the mold seam is still visible. In my book “Civil War Artillery – A Pictorial Introduction”, I go into more detail on these cannonballs and the guns that fired them.

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