Original U.S. Civil War type Armstrong Inert 12-Pounder Studded Shell Long Pattern


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Original Item: The most advanced artillery in use during the American Civil War had rifled bores, which gave greatly increased range and accuracy. Since the war occurred just as rifling was being developed for artillery, a host of different rifling schemes were tried. Among the most famous and interesting was the British Armstrong studded shell, which was designed for muzzle-loading cannon that had been modified by cutting three deep rifling grooves into the bore. The Confederate States turned to Britain for weapons when the war broke out, and the South eventually fielded at least one battery of Armstrong 12-pounder rifled muzzle loaders (RMLs) at the Battle of Richmond. However, the ever-tightening Union Blockade prevented the extensive distribution of this revolutionary weapon. The battery of 12-pounder Armstrong RMLs was reported captured on May 31, 1865, by the Chief Ordnance Officer of the Union Army of the Potomac.

Although a lot of the South’s detailed ordnance records were lost, some text references to the Confederate Armstrong 12-pounders have survived, and so have some projectiles. One Union officer, General Henry Larcom Abbot, found some 12-pounder Armstrong projectiles outside Richmond in 1865 and later donated his collection to the West Point Museum, where his shells are today. His collection included two types of shell, one about…

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