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View Full Version : Whitworth shell fuse;anyone have one?



J.A.Morrow
04-26-2006, 02:58 PM
I was just wondering if anyone has a Whitworth cannon shell fuse they could post?
They are pretty "elusive"...
Thanks.
John A. Morrow

ripley rebel
04-26-2006, 03:12 PM
John,
How common are the whitworth bullets and do you have any you could post?

J.A.Morrow
04-26-2006, 04:52 PM
John,
How common are the whitworth bullets and do you have any you could post?


They're not at all common since so few Whitworth rifles were actually used in the war.
These Whitworth rifles were only awarded to the very finest marksmen in the Confederate armies and lists were kept of superior marksmen who received the individual rifles from fallen casualties.This insured that very capable marksmen only carried them.
One known war-used Whitworth(now on exhibit in the Tennessee State Museum,Nashville)belonged to a former marksman Frank Schell,a Tennesseean.Frank was wounded at least 13 times during the war.!He survived,gave is gun to his former commander Gen.A.P.Stewart,who donated it to the Museum.If that gun could only talk!
If a certain buddy of mine is willing to help me post some pics of these impacted bullets I'll be happy to post them.
I'm an old guy & computer stuff "escapes me"so will need some assistance posting images.I don't have a camera so be patient...
What makes these bullets interesting to me,personally,is that they have a higher probability of hitting an enemy than any other individual bullet.
A fine weapon,aimed and fired at an individual target-by a fine hand-picked marksman...
That makes a very deadly combination.

ripley rebel
04-26-2006, 05:29 PM
John,
Thanks and I will keep a watch on this topic. Shiloh relics did have a whitworth for sale, but I can't see paying 325 dollars for it. I don't know if that is a reasonable price or not but too much for me. I still enjoy looking at them.

PCGeorge
04-26-2006, 05:46 PM
John A. Morrow wrote:
>I was just wondering if anyone has a Whitworth cannon shell fuse they could post?
>They are pretty "elusive"...

Hi John. Do you mean a British-made or a CS-made fuze for Whitworth shells?

British-made fuze for Whitworth shells:
So far as I'm aware, none have ever been dug from an American battlefield.

Tom Dickey had a Percussion one in a non-dug 3-pounder Whitworth shell. That fuze is shown in a diagram on page 465 (figure VII-26) in the Fuzes section of the 1993 Edition of the Dickey-&-George book. It used Armstrong's mechanism-design. Chuck Jones' fuze-book has a photo of it on page 116.

CS-made fuzes for Whitworth shells:
Apparently the Confederates decided to save scarce money by making their own fuzes for Whitworth shells instead of buying the (very) expensive British fuzes.

As you know, Whitworth explosive shells are far scarcer than bolts (solid-shots). Almost all the Whitworth shells that have been dug with a fuze have had a CS time-adapter. A few others have contained a CS Army-Model Archer percussion fuze.

A few words about CS time-fuzes fund in Whitworths:
I personally dug a "groundburst" long-model 2.75" Whitworth shell near Richmond. It's CS time-fuze plug was made of brass, instead of the usual copper. Also notable is the fact that the diameter of its body was 1.1 inches - to fit the British-made shell's fuzehole. For a photo, see page 45 of the Chuck Jones fuze-book.

That being said... CS-MADE Whitworth explosive shells seem to have employed the Confederate's "standard" 1.0-inch diameter fuzehole. To view a one-of-a-kind CS timefuze for a CS-made Whitworth shell, see the lower half of page 45 in the Jones fuze-book.

It may also interest you to know that a CS-made Whitworth shell dug at the same Virginia battlesite as that one-of-a-kind fuze had a "6-pointed star" segmented cavity. I'm certain of it because I was there when it was being dug. It was a groundburst, and I saw the star-segment frags come out of the ground.

Regards,
Pete [PCGeorge]

J.A.Morrow
04-27-2006, 11:07 AM
Thank you Pete!
That very informative information you just posted would make a fine article for print.That's more information than I've been able to glean from many weeks of computer-searching this particular subject.
Great stuff!
I'm a novice about shells,in general,so really appreciate your expertise.
Since studying the Whitworth rifle for years is the only subject I know a little about-the progression to Whitworth shells is probably a natural process.
The information about the shell fusesyou posted is priceless!
Thanks again.You are very generous with your expertise and I certainly appreciate it.
Best,
John A.