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Very Rare Half-Shell of a 12-pdr. Artillery Ball which had the Wright Fuse, dug Petersburg Battlefield


Product Description

This is another great piece from a Civil War Artillery collection I have just acquired, it is 1/2 of one of the scarcest versions of Civil War cannonballs that you can find. It is the version known to collectors as the Wright time fuse. It is basically a Borman pattern case-shot cannonball with a unique style fuse that would have been at the top but is now missing. Being cut in half, you can see the lead balls.

Wright's time fuse allowed for a longer burning time compared to the standard Borman fuse. It increased from 5 to 12 seconds. On page 28 of Jones's book on Civil War fuzes, he tells of Wright's invention that was patented on December 6th, 1864. He also states that "only a few field recoveries have been noted" (see pictures). Being this was a late war invention, most recoveries are from the Petersburg, Virginia Battlefield.

Marching from Cold Harbor, Meade's Army of the Potomac crossed the James River on transports and a 2,200-foot-long pontoon bridge at Windmill Point. General Butler with the XVIII Corps crossed the Appomattox River and attacked the Petersburg defenses on June 15, 1864. The 5,400 defenders of Petersburg under command of General P.G.T. Beauregard were driven from their first line of entrenchments back to Harrison Creek. On June 16, the II Corps captured another section of the Confederate line and gained more ground.

Beauregard brought in troops from Bermuda Hundred to defend the city and Lee rushed reinforcements to Petersburg from the Army of Northern Virginia. Three Union Corps attacked on June 18 but were repulsed with heavy casualties. By now the Confederate works were heavily manned and the greatest opportunity to capture Petersburg without a siege was lost. The long siege of Petersburg began and continued until April 1865.

In the 1993 edition of the artillery book by Dickey & George, they list this pattern of cannonball as a 10 out of 10 in rarity – that is as rare as they come. What is special with this ball, it allows you to see the lethal lead balls which was devastating to the enemy when exploded. that the ball was open in the center. This is a great piece for any artillery collection.

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$12.50 (Fixed shipping cost)