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Thread: ***Fuse and frag**

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Northern Virginia USA
    Posts
    29

    Default ***Fuse and frag**

    Happy New Year...

    My buddies and I have been searching a known encamplement/battle area in Virginia where we live. Yesterday I dug two of my first "firsts"; a fuse to something, all I know it is a fuse approximately 2 inches in length and exactly an inch across at it's widest base, with a big hole in the middle with two small holes on eather side. It has screw threads (12 to be axct). It appears to be brass or other metal. Also dug part of a shell, but do not know what kind.

    Anyone know what this is, and even if it is period to the CW? Thanks

    Best-

    Wayne
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Jan 14 Virginia saves 001.jpg  

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

    Default

    Congratulations, you've dug your first Confederate timefuze-adapter. It is called an adapter because the 1/2-inch hole down through its center held a paper timefuze (which resembled a short cigarette, and functioned just like a firecracker's fuze). The paper timefuze got ignited by flame from the propellant powder-charge when the cannon was fired.

    Even though the timefuze-adapter doesn't "do" anything except hold the actual fuze, everybody calls the adapter a fuze.

    These "threaded" metal Confederate timefuze-adapters do not show up on battlefields until the Spring of 1863. Prior to that year, Confederate timefuze-adapters were made of wood (and had no threading). The majority of the "threaded" metal Confederate timefuze-adapters were made of copper, because brass was a somewhat scarce metal in the wartime South.

    The approximately 2-inches-long one you found was used only in cylindrical-bodied (bullet-shaped) shells, for rifled cannons. Although There was also a shorter version, about 1.4 inches long, made for use in spherical shells (cannonballs). The majority of the "long" version you found were used in Read shells, so diggers tend to call it a Read fuze ...but it was also used in Mullane shells, Broun shells, and Brooke shells. That being said, the statistical adds greatly favor your fuze having come from an exploded Read shell.

    You also asked about the iron artillery shell fragment you found. Its size, shape, and thickness tell me it is from a 12-pounder caliber Case-Shot roundshell (cannonball). The term "Case-Shot" means a shell which contained antipersonnel balls. (Shells which contain nothing but gunpowder were called "Common-Shell".)

    Because your cannonball fragment does not include any part of the shell's fuze-hole, I cannot tell you whether it is a US or CS shell fragment. That being said, if you found it somewhere "near" where you found the Confederate fuze, your cannonball frag is probably also from a Confederate-made shell.

    Again, congratulations on your two "firsts." Please hunt that location closely. There's almost certainly more to be found there ...and perhaps even a whole shell or three.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Northern Virginia USA
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Thank you Pete for your keen civil war insight!

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