Fired Confederate 3 Inch Bourelleted Read Shell

Item: Fired Confederate 3 Inch Bourelleted Read Shell
Construction: Cast iron with copper fuze plug/adaptor and copper ring sabot.
Fuzing: Paper time fuze.
Approximate size: Weight: 7.4 pounds.  Diameter: 2.94 inches.  Length: 7-1/4 inches.
Condition: Good, fired, excavated. Its fuze plug and sabot are present. Its iron body has minimal surface pitting however, there is significant base chipping just above the copper sabot which is typical for this type of Read shell. Remnants of its lathe chock is found on one side just below the shell nose. The sabot has seven lands and grooves as a result of being fired from a captured US 3-inch ordnance rifle. The shell has been cleaned, lightly clear coated and professionally deactivated. There are no repairs. 
Recovered: Cumberland Church area, Cumberland County, VA.
Comments:  According to Peter George, co-author of "Field Artillery Projectiles of the American Civil War", the Confederates preferred using the captured US 3-inch ordnance rifle primarily due to their quality of construction and accuracy, not to mention that they had captured a Yankee gun! Mr. George writes:

"Above all other reasons… the CS cannoneers knew the yankee-made 3” Ordnance Rifle, being made of wrought-iron instead of cast-iron, was far less likely to burst during firing than the CS-made rifled cannons (all of which were cast iron – or brass – because the Rebs weren’t industrially capable of making wrought-iron cannons). There is no record of even a single 3” Ordnance Rifle bursting in combat. (Compare that with the Parrott Rifle’s terrible record.)"

"Next-most-important, it had a reputation for being highly accurate. Yankee gunners who used it claimed they could put three shells into a bushel-basket at the range of a half-mile. That wasn’t stretching the truth by much. Decades ago in Georgia, I dug five fired dud 3” Hotchkiss shells in a 20-foot circle. (Remember, the civil war artillery “average” was 1 out of 4 fired failed to explode… which means 20 Hotchkiss shells were fired at that 20-foot circle, five being duds, all 5 landing within it.)"

This Read shell was acquired directly from the local Virginia digger. Interestingly, the engagement at Cumberland Church is considered to be the last battle victory for the Confederacy prior to Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

This artillery shell will be an excellent addition to any excavated Civil War artillery, battlefield, or general relic collection.

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