James Shell (with slotted fuse plug)
Charles Tillinghast James
Used almost exclusively by Union forces, only a few James shells have been recovered from the greater Charleston area, but were used extensively during the bombardment of Fort Pulaski in Savannah, GA. Before firing, a lead or tin band enclosed the lower ribs (or “bird cage”) at the shell’s base to ensure a tight fit within the bore. The ribs then expanded upon discharge and engaged the cannon’s rifling. While not a widely used shell during the Civil War, James shells did not necessarily require a unique gun to fire them. Assorted field pieces could be retrofitted to fire James rounds with only mild alterations. Soldiers often gave these changed artillery pieces the generic name, “James Rifles.” This particular shell measures 12.9-inches high, 7 inches diameter and weighs 60 pounds.
Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share! #WeaponryWednes