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Thread: Is it a Revolutionary War cannonball?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1

    Default Is it a Revolutionary War cannonball?

    I was given what appears a cannonball, however after some on-line research I am puzzled. I understand it was dug up in a once active Revolutionary War area in CT. It is slightly dimpled, erratically, is 2.01 pounds, diameter is 2.625, it has a slight flattening - slightly smaller than a quarter which appears to be where an impact occurred. There is a slight seam line seen. It appears this ball is too small to be a 3 pounder, and too large to be two pounder, canister or grapeshot, so I understand. I'm not sure what other type of weapon would have fired such a ball. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Richmond VA
    Posts
    484

    Default

    Bama wrote:
    > It is slightly dimpled, erratically, is 2.01 pounds, diameter is 2.625, it has a slight flattening - slightly smaller
    > than a quarter which appears to be where an impact occurred. There is a slight seam line seen.
    > It appears this ball is too small to be a 3 pounder, and too large to be two pounder, canister or grapeshot,

    Actually, it is the correct diameter to be a 24-pounder Grapeshot ball. The data in the 1861 Ordnance Manual covers cannon ball sizes from the Revolutionary War all the way up to 1861. Check the Grapeshot size-&-weight chart at: www.civilwarartillery.com/shottables.htm

    However, despite your ball's correct diameter, you mentioned other characteristics (a flat spot, and some erratic dimpling) which usually tend to disqualify an iron ball from being any type of cannon ball. There is no such thing a "flattened" area (from impact) on iron cannonballs -- because the cast-iron they are made from tends to shatter rather than get flattened by impact.

    Also, you say your ball's precisely-measured weight is 2.01 pounds. But the Ordnance Manual says a 2.62-inch ball weighs 2.4 pounds (2 lb. 6.4 ounces). In other words, your ball should weigh 20% more than it does. When an iron ball's weight is THAT seriosuly "off" from the Ordnance Manual's specifications, there is good reason to suspect it is not a cannon ball.

    BUT... all of that having been said... well-lit, well-focused, close-up photographs would be very helpful. No offense intended, but in artifact authentification, there is no adequate substitute for SEEING rather than relying on a written description.

    Regards,
    Pete
    "Caution-note: People's interpretations of the Evidence may vary."

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