You are here:

Military History/Possible Revolutionary War Gtape Shot


I was given a 2.2-inch diameter, roughly 1.4 lb, cast iron ball.  You can see the line from the edge of the mold and the "sprue".  Also, the ball is not 100% perfectly round.

The ball was obtained from a curio shop near Trenton, NJ circa 1950. I suspect it may be from one of the American 5.5-inch howitzers known to have fire grape in the first battle of Trenton, NJ on 12/26/1776.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.


You could indeed have what you think you have. The following table shows the shot diameter for standard smoothbore artillery which changed little from the Revolutionary times to the Civil war.

You can see that no solid shot is near that size but indeed, in the second table, it shows the diameter of a grape shot to be 2.2 inches for a stand of grape fired from a 18 lber 5.3 inch bore cannon.  In your case you say a howitzer which would have near the same bore, just a much shorter stumpy barrel.

Without good provenance, you pretty much have to just claim it for what you think it is.  You might do some additional research to see if you can find any other examples of existing shot or ammunition from the period attributed to G Washington's arm at the time and see if they are similar. Without iron clad documentation about where the ball was dug and by whom you just have a nice piece with a somewhat convincing story to tell about it.

Military History

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Keith H. Patton


I can answer questions pertaining to weapons and tactics, personalities, battles, and strategies in european and U.S. history.


I was a history major, and had done extensive research in the subject area. I have designed and tested numerous computer games for various
historical periods.

B.A History M.S. Science
I have had the opportunity to live abroad and walk numerous battlefields both in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific.

©2017 All rights reserved.