Bronze field guns were the most widely used artillery pieces of the mid-nineteenth century and many survived the Civil War. Unfortunately, the majority of these historical objects were lost in scrap drives during World Wars One and Two, but surviving specimens may still be found unexpectedly in small traffic circles and isolated veterans' cemeteries. Large collections may be seen at Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg National Military Parks, as well as West Point and the Washington Navy Yard. Live firing of these weapons is becoming an increasingly popular hobby.
The projectiles shown here are not of the same caliber as this specific gun, but they illustrate a very successful pattern developed by General Charles T. James of Rhode Island, and patented in 1856. The James projectiles were also made in much larger calibers than those shown here. It was these larger types which were instrumental in breaching the walls of the Confederate-held Fort Pulaski, Georgia, on April 10, 1862. This action was one of the first in which rifled artillery was used at long range against a fortification. The result was a resounding success for the rifle and its explosive shell.
James shell of 3.8-inch (96.5mm) caliber of the pattern used in the accompanying field piece. Note the ridges and slots in the base to take the rifling
James solid metal shot, 3.8-inch caliber, of the pattern used in the accompanying field piece. Note canvas cover surrounding the base and the lead-filled rifling slots as seen on item 1
3 Model 1841 6-pounder bronze-cast smoothbore James, rifled to 3.67-inch (93mm) caliber
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