Discussion Case Shot

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2019
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Nice material. One note about canister is that Brother Hunt believed that the canister round prescribed by the Ordnance Dep't for most of the war contained too few projectiles - that may be one reason why he warned that the "tendency" to use canister was "too great". As for dumb questions, I've asked more than my share. (That may be a result of my experience trying to maneuver a replica Light 6 pounder of 18th century British design with its $^^#**& bracket carriage. Not sure how those matrosses could deal with that)
By dumb question, I man one that was not asked… i.e. dictionary definition silent, not spoken.


1st Lieutenant
Aug 3, 2019
To make the whole canister question more confusing is that the the canister shot in a 12# Field Gun was bigger than the shot in a 12# howitzer. 1.49" vs. 1.08", why? Who knows. :help:
An excellent question that I once tried to research but got nowhere. I do know that in the 18th century the shot in "tin case" (canister) got larger and fewer in number over time. During that period the howitzers were confined as a rule to shell. The US had no true artillery system until 1838, although steps in that direction were taken during the 1820's. The 1841 Ordnance Manual has the dimensions you list.


Jul 15, 2021
I know - I was just 'fessing up to having asked some dumb ones in my time. 😎
Around Vicksburg 12 pounder and some six pounder case was the most common spherical shell. Some of you might be interested in how case shot was made. It usually had the borman fuse, lead balls being poured into the cavity. The shell was then filled with tar which served as a matrix which held the balls in place. A drill was inserted into the fuse hole and then bored out the tar and lead through the middle. Then the bursting charge was poured into the cavity of the shell and then the boreman fuse was screwed in. This is the typical way a 12 pound case shot was made.
Strangely at Champion Hill several case shells have been found that didn’t contain the regular round case shot but instead had a oblong/bullet shaped projectiles that contained powder. I assume these were firing at batteries in hopes of exploding the limbers. Mistakenly these mini projectiles were thought to be incendiary bullets but they are not. They are incendiary from case shot
I always like a little light hearted stuff… let me tell you about a civil war projectile.
Among the many things my beloved Vicksburg has are hills and bubba’s. occasionally a civil war shell from a gunboat or yankee siege artillery is unearthed. It had been the practice of the city fathers to panic and call for the shells destruction by the bomb squad; the nearest being from camp Shelby over a hundred miles away. My relic hunting buddy and I turned to go up Speed Street and noticed this bubba in a metal safety helmet and what appeared to be a church fan with the word STOP on it. He was busy, telling people to STOP…there was a live bomb and if it exploded would blow up half of Vicksburg. My friend and I were coming up behind the fella and he didn’t see us right away. We saw the 30 pounder projectile with the chill nose solid shot lying by the sidewalk. The excited bubba was telling us to get away before we blew up half the town whereupon my friend gets out of the pickup, walks over picks up the 30 pounder and for effect tosses it in the back of the pickup. The bubba screamed and took off down the hill running and hollering…his aluminum safety hat spinning down the street as it heads downhill. We were tired of these so called bomb squads blowing up these harmless projectiles or throwing them in the river😂😂


Aug 30, 2021
Good shot of what canister looks like