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US/CS 12-pounder solid-shot cannonball, recovered Yorktown, VA Battlefield


Product Description

This is another nice artillery piece being offered, it is a Civil War 12-pounder US/CS cannon ball. The ball has a diameter of 4 1/2" and weighs 12 pounds, 11 ounces. It was the most common solid shot projectile of any caliber used during the Civil War by both Federal and Confederate forces. The ball would be secured to a wooden cup sabot by two crossed iron straps nailed to the wooden cup (see example).

The cartridge bag or powder bag was tied to the groove cut into the base of the sabot. After attachment of the powder charge, the round was referred to as fixed ammunition. The 12-pounder Napoleon smoothbore cannon (see pictures) firing a 12-pound solid shot with 2.5 pounds of service charge at five degrees elevation had a range of 1,680 yards. This ball was recovered from the Yorktown, Virginia Battlefield

Frustrated in his attempt to outflank the Confederate defenders along the Warwick River at Lee’s Mill on April 5, 1862, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan decided instead to besiege the Rebel lines. He ordered gun emplacements built between the James and York Rivers outside of Yorktown and brought up heavy artillery. On April 16, at Dam No. 1 on the Warwick, Union infantry probed the Confederate defenses, now under the command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, and were pushed back.

McClellan was convinced he was outnumbered and that any attack would be futile. For two weeks, he planned a massive artillery bombardment preparatory for an infantry assault to take place early on May 4. Before McClellan’s big guns could fire, Johnston anticipated the assault and slipped away from his Yorktown defenses and moved to Williamsburg, where McClellan attacked him on May 5.

The ball is in nice condition with no chipping or flaking. There is another ball like this one embedded in a brick wall of a house in Yorktown (see pictures). It has been coated for preservation and is now very smooth. I go into more detail about these type of artillery rounds in my book “Civil War Artillery – A Pictorial Introduction” (see pictures).

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$15.00 (Fixed shipping cost)