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Original U.S. Civl War Borman 12lb Cannon Ball - Dug Near Battle of Kennesaw Mountain Site

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a 12lb cannon ball that originally was fitted we believe with a Federal 5 1/4 second Bormann fuze. The fuze was removed but the inlet with visible threading still remains. This example was excavated in Cobb County, Georgia over 50 years ago! The ball measures approximately 4.62 inches in diameter with a 14 inch circumference. Overall condition is very good with fantastic eye appeal.

The Bormann fuze is named after its inventor, Belgian Army Captain Charles G. Bormann.  The Bormann time fuze was employed by the United Stated Ordnance Department as early as 1852.  The time fuze is contained in a tin and lead disk.  This disk has time markings indicated in seconds and quarter-seconds graduated up to 5 1/4 seconds.  The artillerist used a metal punch to pierce the thin metal at the desired time marking.  This exposed a section in the horseshoe-shaped horizontal mealed powder train, which is covered by a thin sheet of tin.  When the cannon discharged, the flame from the explosion ignited this powder train.  It would burn in a uniform rate in both directions, but one end would terminate in a dead-end just beyond the 5 1/4 second mark (Confederate copies are 5 1/2 seconds). The other end would continue to burn past the zero-mark, where it would travel through a channel  to a small powder booster or magazine.  This powder then exploded, sending the flame through a hole in the fuze underplug to the powder chamber of the projectile.  The purpose of the brass or iron fuze underplug was to form a solid base of support for the soft metal fuze, which could have easily been damaged during firing.

The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was fought on June 27, 1864, during the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War. It was the most significant frontal assault launched by Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman against the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, ending in a tactical defeat for the Union forces. Strategically, however, the battle failed to deliver the result that the Confederacy desperately needed—namely a halt to Sherman's advance on Atlanta.

Sherman's 1864 campaign against Atlanta, Georgia, was initially characterized by a series of flanking maneuvers against Johnston, each of which compelled the Confederate army to withdraw from heavily fortified positions with minimal casualties on either side. After two months and 70 miles (110 km) of such maneuvering, Sherman's path was blocked by imposing fortifications on Kennesaw Mountain, near Marietta, Georgia, and the Union general chose to change his tactics and ordered a large-scale frontal assault on June 27, 1864. Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson feinted against the northern end of Kennesaw Mountain, while his corps under Maj. Gen. John A. Logan assaulted Pigeon Hill on its southwest corner. At the same time, Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas launched strong attacks against Cheatham Hill at the center of the Confederate line. Both attacks were repulsed with heavy losses, but a demonstration by Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield achieved a strategic success by threatening the Confederate army's left flank, prompting yet another Confederate withdrawal toward Atlanta and the removal of General Johnston from command of the army.

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