Item:
ONSV6504

Original U.S. Civl War Confederate States Borman 12lb Cannon Ball with Shot Dug Near Battle of Shiloh Site

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Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This appears to tbe Confederate 12lb cannon ball (as opposed to Federal) that originally was fitted with a Confederate 5 1/2 second Bormann fuze. The fuze was removed along with the brass underplug, and incredibly inside are the original lead ball shot! This example was dug up in Hardin County, Tennessee over 50 years ago! The ball measures approximately 4.62 inches in diameter with a 14 inch circumference. Comes complete with a wood stand. 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 Shiloh (also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing) was a battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union force known as the Army of the Tennessee (Major General Ulysses S. Grant) had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and was encamped principally at Pittsburg Landing on the west bank of the Tennessee River, where the Confederate Army of Mississippi (General Albert Sidney Johnston, P. G. T. Beauregard second-in-command) launched a surprise attack on Grant's army from its base in Corinth, Mississippi. Johnston was mortally wounded during the fighting; Beauregard took command of the army and decided against pressing the attack late in the evening. Overnight, Grant was reinforced by one of his divisions stationed farther north and was joined by three divisions from the Army of the Ohio (Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell). The Union forces began an unexpected counterattack the next morning which reversed the Confederate gains of the previous day.

On April 6, the first day of the battle, the Confederates struck with the intention of driving the Union defenders away from the river and into the swamps of Owl Creek to the west. Johnston hoped to defeat Grant's army before the anticipated arrival of Buell and the Army of the Ohio. The Confederate battle lines became confused during the fighting, and Grant's men instead fell back to the northeast, in the direction of Pittsburg Landing. A Union position on a slightly sunken road, nicknamed the "Hornet's Nest" and defended by the divisions of Brig. Gens. Benjamin Prentiss and William H. L. Wallace, provided time for the remainder of the Union line to stabilize under the protection of numerous artillery batteries. Wallace was mortally wounded when the position collapsed, while several regiments from the two divisions were eventually surrounded and surrendered. Johnston was shot in the leg and bled to death while leading an attack. Beauregard acknowledged how tired the army was from the day's exertions and decided against assaulting the final Union position that night.

Tired but unfought and well-organized men from Buell's army and a division of Grant's army arrived in the evening of April 6 and helped turn the tide the next morning, when the Union commanders launched a counterattack along the entire line. Confederate forces were forced to retreat, ending their hopes of blocking the Union advance into northern Mississippi. Though victorious, the Union army had taken heavier casualties than the Confederates, and Grant was heavily criticized in the media for being taken by surprise.

The Battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest engagement of the Civil War to date, with several historians describing its casualties as exceeding combat losses in all previous American wars.

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