Original U.S. Civil War Hotchkiss 3-inch Shell with Lead Band Sabot for M1861 Ordnance Rifle – Excavated in Fredericksburg Virginia
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Original Item: The most advanced artillery in use during the American Civil War had rifled bores, which gave greatly increased range and accuracy. Since the war occurred just as rifling was being developed for artillery, a host of different rifling schemes were tried. One of these was the Model 1861 3 Inch Ordnance rifled muzzle loader, usually called the ” 3-in. Ordnance Rifle.”
The 3 inch Ordnance gun was made of hammer-welded, formed, machined iron. It was popular because of its accuracy and reliability, at least those examples built in Federal shops. There were several different shells available for this gun, and one of the common makers used by the Union Army was the Hotchkiss company, founded by Benjamin B. Hotchkiss of Connecticut.
This example was excavated in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1969. The length of the shell is approximately 7 inches, and it still has some of the original lead band “sabot” that was used to engage the rifling of the Ordnance Rifle. This type of shell used a Hotchkiss brass fuse plug, which would have a paper timed fuse inserted before firing. After the Civil War concluded, Hotchkiss moved to France, and set up the well known Hotchkiss et Cie. This is a great chance to own an original U.S. Civil War Union projectile!