Item: Excavated 12 pounder half case-shot for use with rare Wright time fuze.
Construction: Cast iron with sulphur matrix.
Fuzing: Wright time fuze (not present).
Approximate size: Weight: 4.6 pounds. Diameter: 4.5 inches.
Condition: Very good, excavated, with minimal surface pitting under a light clear coating. This case-shot has no repairs.
Recovered: Petersburg, VA
Comments: This excavated half section of a 12 pounder artillery projectile is an excellent example clearly showing the contents of a case-shot. Due to its use of the Wright time fuze which is no longer present, it is one of the scarcest versions of Civil War cannonballs that you can find. According to Pete George, co-author of "Field Artillery Projectiles of the American Civil War", these late-war case-shots have a current rating of 8+ on the 1-10 rarity scale. This particular case-shot was packed with bullets and sulphur which formed a deadly matrix. What is most impressive is the three dimensional way it displays. Not only are silhouettes of several bullets clearly visible along the cut surface, but there are additional bullets jutting out of the interior along the wall of the powder chamber which runs from the fuze opening down through the center of the case-shot. Shells filled with lead bullets would have created more carnage than one filled with just powder. This shell was specifically designed with a significantly larger fuze hole so that it would accept the Wright time fuze. According to Charles H. Jones' book "Artillery Fuses of the Civil War", "Wright's fuze was introduced late in the war, only a few field recoveries have been noted". Jones also states that this fuze was an improvement over the widely used Bormann fuze. This new design not only included a longer burning time while traveling through the air, from 5 seconds to 12 seconds, but also a safety feature that allowed the main powder charge to be withdrawn at any time without disturbing the fuze. Jones states, "This safety feature was included following an accident at the Washington Arsenal which cost several lives and did considerable property damage. A workman was trying to remove a Bormann fuze from a loaded shell, and in Wright's own words: "by the violent use of a cold chisel and hammer." This shell is a rare find and will be an excellent display piece or educational tool, as well as an excellent addition to any excavated Civil War artillery or general relic collection.
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