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Military History/Revolutionary War Ordinance


I was told that I have a piece of grape or canister shot from Fort Ticonderoga.   It is corroded have spent some time in the ground.  The subject shot is exactly 1 1/4-inch diameter cast iron with the mold seam being quite evident  The "top and "bottom" of the ball are flattened.  The two flattened ends are both 3/4 inches wide.  I assume one of the flattened ends is the sprue. I know the Americans used 6 and 12 pound guns in the one actual battle at the fort.

My question is do I have an actual battle relic and from which size gun (6 or 12 pound) was it fired from? The 1850 and 1860 US Ordinance manuals give 1.14-inches for the 6 pound gun.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me

Not sure at what tables you were looking.  Shot was sized by weight.  There is no way a 1.14 inch ball would weigh six pounds.

A 6 lb solid shot was 3.58 inches in diameter.  A one pounder cannon shot a 1.95 inch ball.

Musket balls were used in Case shot, a thin metal container filled with smaller projectiles.
Iron balls were used in Canister.  The iron balls were afixed to a wooden base called a sabot and covered with canvass or other covering.  They were stacked arond a central dowel and the way they were stacked gave them the look of a bunch of grapes, hence the name "grape shot".

Grape shot was more of a naval projectile since it was good out to longer range due to the weight of the larger balls.  For this reason Grape or Canister were reserved for larger bore weapons.

The largest cannon captured at Ft. Ticonderoga were 24 lbers.  The largest balls used for stands of grape for this weapon were 2.60 to 2.64.

The balls used in a six pounder canister would be 1.14 to 1.17 inches.  So it appears that you might have a canister ball from a 6 lb gun.  What provenance do you have for the ball?  That would be the clincher.

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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.

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