The Civil War Relicman,
Harry Ridgeway.

Winchester, Virginia USA. 
Civil War artillery.

relicman.com.


Ridgeway Reference Archive, Civil War artillery.
Smoothbore balls 24 pounders (5.82 in.) Federal and Confederate.

This is the "Ridgeway Reference Archive", a research tool for educational purposes only, and is provided at no cost to the reader.   Some of the relics listed are retained in the author's collection, most reside in other collections and are not owned by the author.  None of the items listed in this section are for sale, please refer to relicman.com sales listings for items offered for sale.  This is a work in progress, I list items as I get to them, there are many patterns that are not listed yet, this list will be regularly updated as I get pictures and descriptions for more items.  I will also correct mistakes, so if you see any please tell me.
All  items listed are believed to be authentic to the Civil War or as otherwise described.   
Any excavated relics have been recovered from private property with owners permission.    
This information is available for research purposes, pictures may be used by permission only.
All artillery items listed  have been disarmed.

A standard weight for a solid cast iron spherical ball was set at 24 pounds, hence balls of this caliber were referred to as "24 pounder".  Weight of a solid shot is 24 pounds, hollow shot will weigh less.  "Common" shot was a contemporary term referring to a "standard" containing an explosive charge and no balls.  "Case shot" round referred to a hollow ball containing explosive charge and case shot balls.  Generally (but there are exceptions) the walls of the ball are thinner for case shot, thicker for "common" shot.  A ball filled with case shot will usually weigh more than a "common" round but this relationship can vary as the number of balls actually filled in a case shot can vary, the wall thickness can vary, and weight loss due to excessive corrosion can produce misleading results.  Usually the case shot ball is filled with small lead balls around .5 inch to .7 inch, but dimensions are usually uneven and sometimes other materials were used such as iron balls, bullets, iron nails or almost any other form of scrap.  "Canister" shot is not a round ball at all but refers to a cylindrical "can" filled with balls.  Often the term "canister" and "case shot" have been  used interchangeably but the correct use of the terms refers to distinctly different types of ordnance as indicated.

The bore for the 24 pounder is supposed to measure 5.82 inches, the ball itself will measure approximately 5.68 inches, the difference is the space needed to ram a ball through the muzzle into the chamber and is referred to as "windage".  A ball needed to fit very close to these measurements, otherwise it would be a disaster for the artillery battery.  If a ball is too large, it will simply not fit through the bore.  If a ball is small, too much energy will be lost firing it and it simply will not be effective as a weapon.  If a ball is not truly round it could jam the bore and that truly is bad news for a jammed gun could easily blow up on firing.  There are many balls out there that are not cannon balls, these are weights, balls used to grind coal or other minerals , ornaments, gate weights.  So one test of a cannon ball is that the measurement has to be pretty much right.  The best way to measure a ball is to use a seamstress tape measure (about $3 bucks at Wal-Mart) get a measurement of the circumference, divide by Pi (oh hell you thought you were done with high school math) and you have the diameter.  I will make it easy, pi is 3.141593, so if a ball measures much more or less than 17.85 inches in circumference, it ain't going to be a cannon ball no matter how much you want it to be so.  (17.85 inch circumference, divided by pi 3.141593 equals 5.68 in.  Results like 5.4in, 5.9in, and weights of 23.5lbs and 24.5lbs are all grinding balls, (euphemism for "junk") and they need to be taken to the recycling center and not sold as a cannon balls on ebay.  There are millions of these grinding balls out there, the mining industry has been using them for centuries and they can be any size.



Ball, solid shot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Ball was intended for the 24 pounder smoothbore, which was uncommon, not a very practical weapon for field use because of its excessive weight, most were used as flanking guns in the forts or as Coehorn mortars.  However the Confederates did use a 24 pounder field howitzer which would employ the solid 24 pounder ball.  Originally the ball used a wood cup sabot attached to the ball with straps, on firing the straps would break releasing the ball.  Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 24lbs.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 46.

A2049     Ball, solid shot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 24lbs.  Metal solid, numerous casting flaws, could be Confederate manufacture.  Ball is disarmed, solid casting no cavity or bursting charge.  Recovered: Port Hudson, Louisiana.

A2050     Ball, solid shot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 24lbs.  Metal solid.  Ball is disarmed, solid casting no cavity or bursting charge.    Recovered: Port Hudson, Louisiana.

A2306     Ball, solid shot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 24lbs.  Metal solid.  Ball is disarmed, solid casting no cavity or bursting charge.  Recovered: not known.

A2604     Ball, solid shot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 24lbs.  Metal solid.  Ball is disarmed, solid casting no cavity or bursting charge.  Recovered: North Carolina defenses.


A2673     Ball, solid shot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 24lbs.  Metal solid.  Ball is disarmed, solid casting no cavity or bursting charge.  Recovered: Spanish Fort, Blakely, Alabama.


Ball, shell, "common" (standard), Federal Bormann time fuse with wrench double slot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Ball was intended for the 24 pounder smoothbore, which was uncommon, not a very practical weapon for field use because of its excessive weight, most were used as flanking guns in the forts or as Coehorn mortars Ball was equipped with the Bormann time fuse designed to detonate in the air above the target, spreading fragments 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.  Some of these shells were configured as case shot (approx 20 to 23lbs. with balls ), or as "common" (approx 16 to 18lbs. without balls).  This ball is "common" or standard round, explosive charge only without balls.  Shell employed a Federal Bormann time fuse, 3/4 second starting time, double slot, (Jones pg. 23 upper right).  Shell measures: diameter 4.52in., weight 16 to 18lbs.  
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 47.

A2290     Ball, shell, "common" (standard), Federal Bormann time fuse with wrench double slot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Shell measures: diameter 4.52in., weight 16lbs.  Metal solid, Bormann fuse intact, punched and burned.  Shell disarmed, drill hole through the bottom.  Recovered: not known.


Ball, shell, "case shot", Federal Bormann time fuse with wrench double slot, lead balls packed with sulfur matrix, iron under plug, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Ball was intended for the 24 pounder smoothbore, which was uncommon, not a very practical weapon for field use because of its excessive weight, most were used as flanking guns in the forts or as Coehorn mortarsBall was equipped with the Bormann time fuse designed to detonate in the air above the target, spreading fragments 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.  Some of these shells were configured as case shot (approx 20 to 23lbs. with balls ), or as "common" (approx 16 to 18lbs. without balls).  This ball is "case shot", explosive charge with lead balls packed in yellow or sulfur matrix, with iron underplug.  Shell employed a Federal Bormann time fuse, 3/4 second starting time, double slot, (Jones pg. 23).  Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 20 to 23lbs.  
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 47.

A2054     Ball, shell, "case shot", Federal Bormann time fuse with wrench double slot, lead balls packed with sulfur matrix, iron under plug, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 22lbs. Cut shell, view of sulfur matrix and lead case shot balls.  Metal solid, Bormann fuse intact, punched and burned.  Shell disarmed, drill hole through the bottom and cut shell exposes the interior.  Recovered: Port Hudson, Louisiana.


Ball, shell, "common" (standard), Confederate Bormann time fuse with wrench single slot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Ball was intended for the 24 pounder smoothbore, which was uncommon, not a very practical weapon for field use because of its excessive weight, most were used as flanking guns in the forts or as Coehorn mortarsBall was equipped with the Bormann time fuse designed to detonate in the air above the target, spreading fragments 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.  Some of these shells were configured as case shot (approx 20 to 23lbs. with balls ), or as "common" (approx 16 to 18lbs. without balls).  This ball is "common" (standard), explosive charge only without balls.  Shell is equipped with a Confederate manufactured Bormann time fuse, .5 second starting notch, single wrench slot, threads omitted from the top of the fuse, theoretically enabling the fuse to be hand tightened, (Jones pg. 22 and 26).  Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16 to 18lbs. 
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 47.

A1694    Ball, shell, "common" (standard), Confederate Bormann time fuse with wrench single slot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
A1694.jpg (31900 bytes) A1694B.jpg (30196 bytes) A1694C.jpg (42441 bytes) A1694D.jpg (30919 bytes) Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 17lb.  Metal solid, Bormann fuse intact, punched, some numbers are readable.  Shell disarmed, drill hole through the bottom.  Recovered: Augusta, Georgia river cache.

A2471     Ball, shell, "common" (standard), Confederate Bormann time fuse with wrench single slot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16lbs.  Metal solid, Bormann fuse intact, punched, most numbers are readable.  Shell disarmed, drill hole through the bottom.  Recovered: Drewerys Bluff, Virginia.


Ball, shell, "case shot", Confederate Bormann time fuse with wrench single slot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Ball was intended for the
24 pounder smoothbore, which was uncommon, not a very practical weapon for field use because of its excessive weight, most were used as flanking guns in the forts or as Coehorn mortarsBall was equipped with the Bormann time fuse designed to detonate in the air above the target, spreading fragments 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.  Some of these shells were configured as case shot (approx 20 to 23lbs. with balls ), or as "common" (approx 16 to 18lbs. without balls).  This ball is "case shot", explosive charge with balls.  Shell is equipped with a Confederate manufactured Bormann time fuse, .5 second starting notch, single wrench slot, threads omitted from the top of the fuse, theoretically enabling the fuse to be hand tightened, (Jones pg. 22 and 26).  Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 20 to 23lbs. 
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 47.

A2749     Ball, shell, "case shot", Confederate Bormann time fuse with wrench single slot, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 23lbs.  Metal solid, Bormann fuse intact, punched, some numbers readable.  Shell disarmed, drill hole through the bottom.  Recovered: not known. 


Ball, shell, "common" (standard), Bormann time fuse, iron underplug, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Ball was intended for the 24 pounder smoothbore, which was uncommon, not a very practical weapon for field use because of its excessive weight, most were used as flanking guns in the forts or as Coehorn mortarsBall was equipped with the Bormann time fuse designed to detonate in the air above the target, spreading fragments 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.  Some of these shells were configured as case shot (approx 20 to 23lbs. with balls ), or as "common" (approx 16 to 18lbs. without balls).  This ball is "common" or standard round, explosive charge only without balls.  Shell was threaded for a Bormann time fuse, which is missing, exposing iron underplug.  Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16lbs., fuse missing.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 47.

A2615     Ball, shell, "common" (standard), Bormann time fuse, iron underplug, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16lbs.  Metal solid, Bormann fuse missing, iron underplug visible.  Shell disarmed, drill hole through the underplug.  Recovered: not known.


Ball, shell, "common" (standard), Bormann time fuse, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Ball was intended for the 24 pounder smoothbore, which was uncommon, not a very practical weapon for field use because of its excessive weight, most were used as flanking guns in the forts or as Coehorn mortarsBall was equipped with the Bormann time fuse designed to detonate in the air above the target, spreading fragments against troops in the open field.  Some of these shells were configured as case shot (approx 20 to 23lbs. with balls ), or as "common" (approx 16 to 18lbs. without balls).  This ball is "common" (standard), explosive charge only without balls, Bormann time fuse, has been removed exposing the interior of the shell, which has relatively thick walls.  Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight tbd., empty.  
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 47.

A1693     Ball, shell, "common" (standard), Bormann time fuse, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight not determined., empty.  Metal solid, Bormann fuse was not installed.  Shell disarmed, open fuse hole exposes empty interior.  Recovered: surplus stocks.


Ball, shell, "common" (standard), wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Ball with the small wood fuse hole was intended for the Coehorn mortar, a relatively light cannon that could be lifted and placed into position by a couple of strong men behind a trench line, it was effective against troops in the opposing trench line.  However it could alternately be used for the longer range cannons.  Fuse employed was a wood time fuse, fuse hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuse could easily be hammered into place, Jones Fuses pg. 2.  Shell was cast for a smaller opening, (.875in. versus 1.125in.) may have originally distinguished the mortar from the howitzer cannon, but the difference is slight and apparently either would do if needed.  Those with rounded cavity and thick walls likely did not carry balls and are "common" rounds (standard).  Relatively thick casting, shell is apparently a "common" shot.  Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16lbs. (empty).
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 51.

A1699     Ball, shell, "common" (standard), wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
A1699.jpg (28840 bytes) A1699B.jpg (33563 bytes) A1699C.jpg (22441 bytes) Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 17lbs.  Metal solid, wood fuse intact, straps intact.  Shell disarmed, drill hole through paper section of the time fuse.  Recovered: City Point, Virginia ammunition explosion.

A2177     Ball, shell, "common" (standard), wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 17lbs. (empty).  Metal solid, wood fuse missing.  Shell disarmed, open fuse hole exposes interior.  Recovered: not known.

A2322     Ball, shell, "common" (standard), wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
 Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 15.6lbs. (empty).  Metal solid, wood fuse intact.  Shell disarmed, drill hole through paper section of the time fuse.  Recovered: not known.

A2323     Ball, shell, "common" (standard), wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16lbs. (empty).  Metal solid, wood fuse missing.  Shell disarmed, open fuse hole exposes interior.  Recovered: not known.

A2683     Ball, shell, "common" (standard), wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16lbs. (empty).  Metal solid, wood fuse missing.  Shell disarmed, open fuse hole exposes interior.  Recovered: Petersburg, Virginia.


Ball, shell, "common" (standard), wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar with lifting ears, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Ball with the small wood fuse hole was intended for the Coehorn mortar, a relatively light cannon that could be lifted and placed into position by a couple of strong men behind a trench line, it was effective against troops in the opposing trench line.  This ball was cast with lifting ears, this to facilitate positioning  the ball in the barrel with the fuse facing opposite the powder charge.  Fuse employed was a wood time fuse, fuse hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuse could easily be hammered into place, Jones Fuses pg. 2.  Shell was cast for a smaller opening, (.875in. versus 1.125in.).  Those with rounded cavity and thick walls likely did not carry balls and are "common" rounds (standard).  Relatively thick casting, shell is apparently a "common" shot.  Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16lbs. (empty).
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 44.

A2616     Ball, shell, "common" (standard), wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar with lifting ears, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16lbs. (empty).  Metal solid, wood fuse missing.  Shell disarmed, open fuse hole exposes interior.  Recovered: not known. Recovered:  Petersburg, Virginia.


Ball, shell, "common" (standard), wood time fuse with 1.125in. opening, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Ball with the larger fuse hole, was intended for the longer range cannons, however it could alternately be used for the Coehorn mortar Fuse employed was a wood time fuse, fuse hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuse could easily be hammered into place, Jones Fuses pg. 2.  Shell was cast for a smaller opening, (.875in. versus 1.125in.) may have originally distinguished the mortar from the howitzer cannon, but the difference is slight and apparently either would do if needed.  Those with rounded cavity and thick walls likely did not carry balls and are "common" rounds (standard).  Relatively thick casting, shell is apparently a "common" shot.  Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16lbs. (empty).
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 51.

A2726     Ball, shell, "common" (standard), wood time fuse with 1.125in. opening, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82 in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16.4lbs. (empty).  Metal solid, wood fuse missing.  Shell disarmed, open fuse hole exposes interior.  Recovered: not known.


Ball, shell, polygonal cavity diamond pattern, wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Ball with polygonal cavity and the small wood fuse hole was intended for the Coehorn mortar, a relatively light cannon that could be lifted and placed into position by a couple of strong men behind a trench line, it was effective against troops in the opposing trench line.  Fuse employed was a wood time fuse, fuse hole is smooth and tapered, the simple to make fuse could easily be hammered into place, Jones Fuses pg. 2.  Shell was cast for a smaller opening, (.875in. versus 1.125in.) may have originally distinguished the mortar from the howitzer cannon, but the difference is slight and apparently either would do if needed.  By segmenting the interior into polygonal forms, points of weakness would be created to facilitate more uniform fragmentation.  This pattern was cast using the four sided diamond shape, (Dickey & George Fig C-4 pg. 527), wall is very thick.  Often the core would drift off center during casting, the resultant off-center cavity would tend to negate the benefits of the segmented interior.  Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 18lbs.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 48.

A1697     Ball, shell, polygonal cavity diamond pattern, wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 18.5lbs., empty.  Cut shell shows diagonal polygonal interior  Metal solid, wood fuse missing.  Shell disarmed, cut shell exposes interior.  Recovered: La Fourche Rail Crossing outside Tipado, Louisiana, found Nov 1974.

A2329     Ball, shell, polygonal cavity diamond pattern, wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 18.5lbs., empty.  Cut shell shows diagonal polygonal interior  Metal solid, wood fuse missing.  Shell disarmed, cut shell exposes interior.  Recovered: Spanish Fort, Mobile Alabama.

A2827     Ball, shell, polygonal cavity diamond pattern, wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 18lbs.  Metal solid, wood fuse missing.  Shell disarmed, open fuse hole exposes interior.  Recovered: Spanish Fort, Mobile Alabama.

A2828     Ball, shell, polygonal cavity diamond pattern, wood time fuse with .875in. opening, Coehorn mortar, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 18lbs.  Metal solid, wood fuse missing.  Shell disarmed, open fuse hole exposes interior.  Recovered: Spanish Fort, Mobile Alabama.


Ball, shell, seacoast watercap fuse, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Ball was intended for the 24 pounder smoothbore, which was uncommon, not a very practical weapon for field use because of its excessive weight, most were used as flanking guns in the forts or as Coehorn mortars Ball was equipped with a seacoast fuse for coastal defenses.  It is rare to find this fuse in this caliber as most were used as flanking guns which normally would not require a water resistant fuse.  Shell employed a drive in seacoast watercap fuse, small size, diameter .9 in. (Jones pg. 7).  Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16lbs.
Ref: Dickey & George, Field Artillery (1993 Edition), pg. 48.

A2289     Ball, shell, seacoast watercap fuse, smoothbore 24 pounder, 5.82in.
Shell measures: diameter 5.7in., weight 16lbs.  Metal solid with pitting, seacoast fuse intact.  Shell disarmed, drill hole through the bottom.  Recovered:  Port Hudson, Louisiana.