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News: Here, in the dread tribunal of last resort, valor contended against valor. Here brave men struggled & died for the right as God gave them to see the right. - Adlai Stevenson

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General Discussion / Re: Gettysburg relic show
« Last post by Daveslem on Today at 04:01:40 AM »
Well, five years later but I'm obliged to respond. I purchased some relics and bullets years ago  from the aforementioned dealer and was duped. Most of the items were legitimately dug and written on by Mac Mason. Others were not. The lettering on some of the bullets were in Mac's style but were just a little off. These included Enfield bullets still currently being sold from Gettysburg and Petersburg. The lettering is just too thin. When I purchased the lot from the dealer he said it would include copies of two letters from Mac to Richard Ross, an old digging buddy. One was to contain a list of all the places he dug, including Gettysburg and Antietam. That was what I wanted to hear. Unfortunately, I only received one letter, which was legit and even listed a lockplate I was purchasing. I pursued this "other letter" for years from the dealer. Finally it was "in the mail". Not. It eventually broke down to my texts and calls being ignored.

Fast forward a few years and I make contact with Steve Henry and his wife, Joyce. Steve was one of Mac's digging partners for years. They answered some questions I had, mainly, "What did Mac use to write on his bullets and if he dug at Gettysburg or Antietam ". I was told Mac used a Speedball pen and ink and that, to their knowledge, never dug at Gettysburg or Antietam. Ian Workman, you were right! Luckily, it was only about ten bullets but it happened to a guy who thought he knew better, me. I own a few hundred of his items and thought I was smarter than the average bear. Live and learn.

My printer is down or I'd scan the letter I did receive. Maybe Mike can scan and post it. I think it's pretty cool.
3
Artillery / Re: CS 2.9" "Broun Body" Long Read Common Shell
« Last post by Woodenhead on June 27, 2017, 09:58:25 AM »
To all interested parties - this most engaging discussion brings up an important 'event' or development in the four year history of Read-Parrott shell production by the Richmond foundries - the decision to begin swadging their wrought iron sabots. In a March 31, 1864, letter to Col. Gorgas, Broun stated: "The 10 Pdr. Parrott (is made here) always with wrought iron and swaged sabot." (Girardey Papers, Citizens File). The Arsenal commander wrote this in response to a memorandum sent by Mallet operating the Laboratory in Macon. Mallet had suggested that copper should be used to fashion all 10 pdr. Read-Parrott sabots. They were already using copper in Georgia (see the 10pdr. from Atlanta area posted by emike - it was typical). Col. Broun explained his decision to stay with iron: "If the brass cup is turned too thin, it is liable to be deformed in transportation so as not to enter the gun. A quantity of ammunition was returned to the Arsenal by the Army of Northern Virginia for this reason." And so, until the last cannon barked at Appomattox, the Richmond Arsenal issued 10 pounders with iron sabots. All of the brass-sabot Read-Parrotts dug in VA were made in Georgia with a small quantity coming from Alabama.

This brings up a few interesting questions but here I want to focus on dating the switch from hand-fashioned and punched sabots exclusively limited to 1861-62, to actual swedged sabots which were introduced at the start of 1863. If you examine the base view of the 3 inch CS Navy Read-Parrott in my previous posting, you will notice an obvious flaw in its construction. This was not battle damage as similar construction problems are seen in a number of late 1862 S & P sabots. The first photo below is a base view of another 3 inch NAVY Read-Parrott where the metal is also separating. This projectile appears to be unfired.  Ordnance vouchers for Nov. 1862 reported Samson & Pae's production of 193 "3 inch Navy Parrott shells" followed by an additional 135 in December. The second pictures below shows what happened to many of those flawed sabots after they were fired. It was dug in the Chancellorsville/Fredericksburg theater. It is clear they did not have good quality rolled iron which they overlapped and hand-worked when shaping it in a traditional "former."

There must have been complaints or somebody smart associated with the Ordnance Bureau came up with the idea of swadging them, thereby sizing the sabot for the proper windage and impressing the three grooves all in one movement. On Feb. 27, 1863, the top Ordnance officer at the Richmond Arsenal requested: "Please furnish to Samson & Pae,... 2 feet cast steel, 3 inch round or square, for the purpose of making tools for manufacturing cups for Parrott projectiles." This was the beginning of "swadging" in Richmond and provides us collectors with a benchmark for readily dating any unmarked 10 pdr. CS Read-Parrotts. The difference is very noticeable. A good example can be seen with the sabot on the obvious S & P shell pictured below dug by a local boy at Gettysburg. Note the frequently seen letter "C" stamped in a shallow groove lathed on top of the mold seam at the shoulder - typical of contemporary S & P Read-Parrotts. It has a beautiful swadged iron sabot. What an improvement. One month later, Samson & Pae billed the Bureau for "2 forms & blocks for 10 & 20 pdr. Parrott shell cups" for the new "Ordnance Works" at Salisbury, NC. Again, a couple of months later, they billed for making a few more cup dies which I suspect went to Adolphus Rahm and a couple of other active foundries.   
4
Artillery / Re: CS 2.9" "Broun Body" Long Read Common Shell
« Last post by pipedreamer65 on June 27, 2017, 06:41:21 AM »
The upper bourrelet is admittedly difficult to see in a photograph, but readily apparent when looking at the shell in hand.  Here is another photo of the nose showing the upper bourrelet, but if you still cannot see it, you will have to just take my word for it that it is there.
Usually when I get a ball or shell that has been "filled", it has been filled with Bondo or once with sheetrock mud.


LOL!  AGREED! 
5
Artillery / Re: CS 2.9" "Broun Body" Long Read Common Shell
« Last post by Woodenhead on June 26, 2017, 09:13:55 PM »
Thanks for that detailed response, Pete. Here is another 10 pounder Read-Parrott with an air bubble in the bottom which was the top of the pour. The maker's (Samson & Pae) were aware of the problem and hit it with a chisel first to check. The same was true of your (Pete's) 10 pounder Read-Parrott dug at Salem Church with the "C" stamped. Maybe that was the case with the 3 inch Mullane pictured earlier in this blog but it looked like an incomplete casting. This 10 pounder I show here with an "H" stamped on the shoulder was actually a 3 inch Read-Parrott made by S & P during Nov.-Dec. 1862 for the 3 inch Navy Parrotts borrowed by the Army. It is well documented. Remember Tucker William dug one at Banks Ford.

The second shell pictured below is what I thought a Broun-Parrott looked like. Two bourrelets, large and small. The only 1864 Broun shell with one bourrelet I am familiar with was their 3 inch replacement of the Read. From the close-up of emike's nose, it looks like the bourrelet is a build-up around the mold seam. Overall, it still looks like a 2.9 inch Read-Parrott to me.
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Artillery / Re: CS 2.9" "Broun Body" Long Read Common Shell
« Last post by redbob on June 26, 2017, 10:00:25 AM »
The upper bourrelet is admittedly difficult to see in a photograph, but readily apparent when looking at the shell in hand.  Here is another photo of the nose showing the upper bourrelet, but if you still cannot see it, you will have to just take my word for it that it is there.
Usually when I get a ball or shell that has been "filled", it has been filled with Bondo or once with sheetrock mud.
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Artillery / Re: CS 2.9" "Broun Body" Long Read Common Shell
« Last post by emike123 on June 26, 2017, 09:16:34 AM »
The upper bourrelet is admittedly difficult to see in a photograph, but readily apparent when looking at the shell in hand.  Here is another photo of the nose showing the upper bourrelet, but if you still cannot see it, you will have to just take my word for it that it is there.

8
Artillery / Re: CS 2.9" "Broun Body" Long Read Common Shell
« Last post by pipedreamer65 on June 26, 2017, 06:58:55 AM »
Yes, I have a solid shot with a casting flaw (hole) in it.  It has been patched with a blob of lead....
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Artillery / Re: CS 2.9" "Broun Body" Long Read Common Shell
« Last post by Pete George on June 26, 2017, 12:11:06 AM »
Emike, thanks for answering. Even when viewing the enlarged version of your shell photo, I could see no trace of a bourrelet at all.  But I did notice your shell appears to have the same sabot as the 2.9" Broun-Body Read.

About the casting flaw bubble next to its fuzehole:
Pardon me please, but I have to say your guess "that in flight a thin iron cover over the bubble melted away exposing this large hole next to the fuse hole" is impossible.  Iron melts at something like 2,500 or 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit.

  Which brings me to my answer about the alleged wide-open casting flaw airbubbles getting passed by a Confederate Ordnance Inspector.  Nope... the bubbles were covered by a thin shell of iron. They were not externally visible. When the fired projectile strikes the ground, the impact crushes the thin iron which covers the bubble, exposing what was until then a non-visible casting flaw.  Or, in the case of Mike O'Donnell's Mullane/Tennessee-Sabot shell, firing blast crushes the thin iron covering the airbubble(s).

  Extra-close inspection will reveal the broken edge of the thin shell. For anyone desiring proof... in my own collection I have a 3-inch Hotchkiss basecup, which has a 1.5"-wide-by-.5-inch-deep Frisbee-shaped airbubble at the center of the basecup's rounded exterior.  That surely would not have been passed by a US Ordnance Inspector. The broken edge of the covering iron "shell" is clearly visible.

  I've also owned an 18-Pounder Solid-Shot (a RevWar one) which had a ping-pong-ball-sized casting airbubble that got exposed when the ball struck the ground. Again, the broken edge of the covering iron "shell" can be seen. (Some of you who've visited my house in the past may have viewed that ball in-person.)

  I've also got a 2.9" Read shell's exploded base, with a big "Frisbee" airbubble where the lathe dimple used to be.  The shell could not have been lathed if the bubble was visible there when the shell was connected to the lathe. In other words, if the airbubble was visible, the lathe dimple would be in the bottom of the airbubble.  But the lathe dimple is absent.

  We know that when casting-flaw air bubbles were visible, and thought to be large enough to potentially cause a problem when exposed to firing-blast, the hole was patched with lead.  I'm sure some of you guys have seen examples of that.

  For additional proof, if any is still desired, see the photo of a sawed-in-half 3" Hotchkiss Percussion shell in the Melton-&-Pawl booklet, on the left side of page 13. For those of you who don't have the booklet, go to civilwarartillery.com and select "Field Projectiles" and then "Cross Sections," then scroll down to the sawed-in-half 3" Hotchkiss Percussion shell. The photo clearly shows a HUGE and ENTIRELY INTERNAL oblong-shaped airbubble across nearly the entire bottom of the nose section... which passed Inspection because the airbubble is covered by a thin shell of iron.

Regards,
Pete
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Artillery / Re: CS 2.9" "Broun Body" Long Read Common Shell
« Last post by emike123 on June 25, 2017, 02:58:34 PM »
Yes
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