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Author Topic: Odd Side Plug Ball  (Read 195 times)

CarlS

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Odd Side Plug Ball
« on: November 25, 2019, 11:51:34 PM »
A couple years back I picked up a 9 inch caliber cannon ball that had been chopped in half.  I always believed it was an incendiary shell where the side plug was used to load the incendiary fluid.  But when RelicRunner asked me some questions I looked in the books to try and understand how they worked.  The Jack Bell book shows a complete incendiary shell and a frag both with a version of the water cap fuse.  My shell appears to have been a 9 inch Bormann shell with a missing fuse but still existing brass under plug.  Mine clearly did not take a water cap fuse.  It appears that it had a Bormann fuse that disintegrated and corrosion even rounded the fuse hole edges out some in the process.  Further looking and I came across a 9 inch Bormann shell with a side plug found at Fort Fisher in the 1993 D&G book.  The text indicates the side plug was for loading powder.  So after all of this I have a couple questions still:
1) Whey would they use a 1/2" side loading plug to fill with powder rather than the 1" wide under plug hole.  It would be much faster and easier to fill that big cavity with powder through the bigger hole.
2) The book indicates it is a rarity 8 but I don't recall seeing one before and would have guessed a 10.  Has anyone else seen more?  Are they more numerous than I think?
Any insight into this interesting projectile would be appreciated.  I'm soon to list it for sale and would like to add as much info as I can.
Best,
Carl

pipedreamer65

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Re: Odd Side Plug Ball
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2019, 08:44:19 AM »
To use the smaller hole to fill with powder makes no sense to me.  Course, it seems like a pretty small hole to insert a liquid or fluid as well unless it was injected mechanically.  I have no answer at all. 

As to your other comment, I concur that these type are extremely rare and probably should rate a 10 on the scale.

Dave the plumber

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Re: Odd Side Plug Ball
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2019, 07:02:47 AM »
Carl,   I looked through some of my shells and found 2 examples of the 9 inch ball with the small brass plug. I always assumed incendiary also. Both are Bormann fuzed also. One came from here at Ft Fisher, the other came from along the James River. I have no more information to add, except location of recovery.     Maybe to help break up the sand core after  casting and flush it out ??

CarlS

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Re: Odd Side Plug Ball
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2019, 01:21:07 PM »
Dave,

Thanks for checking and the input.  Good info.  I don't have any idea where this one was found but might be a good guess that it is from Fort Fisher.  I'll explain when I see you in Franklin this weekend.
Best,
Carl