What is this? Help with Identifying a Shell

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Jan 29, 2014
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Southern Louisiana
We have a shell in the family that was recovered from the walls of Whitehall Plantation in Louisiana. Whitehall belonged to Bennett Baron Simmes and is across the Atchafalaya River from Simmesport LA. This shell was fired by federal boats on the river in October of 1863.

This shell is not in my possession at the moment ad the below photos are the best that I have of it at this time. I have not been successful in identifying this specific shell. I though it was some type of Schenkl Shell, but have not been able to find any similar photo or drawing that matches this one. Based on the last time I saw it I believe it is a 3" shell.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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Sergeant
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Location
Southern Louisiana
A 3.4 Dahlgren Blind Shell?

I wondered about that, but I have never seen a photo of one with the exposed base of the shell. The top portion certainly looks similar.
 

redbob

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You might also find this reference of interest:

View attachment 317415
This setup was evidently being used to test a percussion fuze as the shell had no powder in it. The percussion cap was seated on a nipple on the striker, when the round impacted, the striker would force the percussion cap forward against the anvil (the very top portion of the fuze) where it would fire and the blast would travel through the striker into the fuzes powder train and into the main powder chamber exploding the round.
 
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redbob

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A "Blind Shell" is a shell with a hollow cavity that is not intended to be fitted with a fuze. Several Dahlgrens that I have seen all have what appears to be a brass plug in the nose and a brass pin in the side near the nose (evidently to hold the plug in) and those that have been opened appear to have nothing more dangerous in them than foundry sand. Note: DO NOT TAKE THIS AS FACT until you have learned otherwise. Also, while some fired rounds (they were intended for the Dahlgren 12 {3.4"} and 20{4"} pound Rifled Boat Howitzers) have thrown their sabots, many have not.
 
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Due to my limited knowledge on this I need some additional answers. The shell I have has no fuse and two holes in the side. I always assumed the powder was removed through the holes and the fuse removed as this shell failed to explode on contact. Please elaborate on the "blind shell" what is the purpose for this? My shell is also missing the sabot obviously.
 

ucvrelics

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I don't why they would have drilled as there was no powder in them but did contain sand so I guess someone thought it was powder,These projectiles were cast with a cavity, the casting sand was usually left in the core, unfinished hole was plugged with a small brass plug, giving it the effect of a light bolt. This was probably intended as a transitional measure to test the pattern, the shell could be drilled and fitted for fuzes at a later time. These "blind shells" never had an explosive charge, the black substance sometimes found inside is foundry sand from the mold for the core.
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redbob

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This setup was evidently being used to test a percussion fuze as the shell had no powder in it. The percussion cap was seated on a nipple on the striker, when the round impacted, the striker would force the percussion cap forward against the anvil (the very top portion of the fuze) where it would fire and the blast would travel through the striker into the fuzes powder train and into the main powder chamber exploding the round.
Here are some additional pictures of this shell's fuze parts: Photos by author
163.JPG
161.JPG
 

rebracer

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Southern Louisiana
So again at the expense of sounding ignorant, I still dont quite understand the concept of the "blind shell", was this a sort of practice shell?

My shell has a threaded opening at the tip, if it was a blind shell, there still would have been a plug threaded in the opening correct?

This is why I always thought it was a shell that did not explode and was de-armed.
 
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