Artillery / Shells
Scarce CS Non-Dug 3" Hand Grenade Made Exclusively by the Famed Vicksburg Foundry A. B. Reading
Made & Used During the Vicksburg Siege
From My PERSONAL COLLECTION
I Personally Dug One back in 2006 (Pictured Below)
This was Salvaged from an Antebellum Plantation Attic Being Torn-Down in Vicksburg, & I've Kept it Since
I have been SO BLESSED within my years of both relic hunting and collecting, to have been afforded the opportunities to dig and/or collect some of the RAREST, most UNIQUE and HISTORIC pieces of our history from the War Between the States. I was so blessed that my fellow digger and friend was a native of Vicksburg, and already had YEARS of experience hunting and finding ALL the RIGHT PLACES to relic hunt, as the years of waning amounts of relics were ever-so continuing to make finding anything "good" a rarity. But he had shown me TWO of WHAT YOU SEE HERE, that HE HAD DUG...and I KNEW RIGHT AWAY that they were not "small cannonballs" as he figured, but were indeed CS-made HAND GRENADES! He took my to the two ravines that the Federal Division under General Herron--his Division ONLY assigned DIRECTLY to General Grant as "his special forces division" for special operations--had been building "sapper trenches" approaching CS Brig. Gen. Seth Barton's Georgia siege lines on the southern end of the CS Vicksburg Siege Fortifications. During late June, as the siege and several HORRIBLY, BLOODY failed direct assaults by General Grant proved the siege may indeed "go on forever," Grant had his personal "special division" under General Herron to stealthily attempt to make their way close to the CS lines where they deemed the terrain most favorable and strategic for penetrating the CS siege lines. Over several days, Herron's "approach" up to the CS lines held By Barton's Georgians continued day, and especially at night. The "sapper" or "zig-zag" trenches offered great protection for the Federals. Frustrated and wanting to really "give it" to the Yankees, the Georgian's resorted into night-time "raids" into the Federal sapper-trenches, and used 6-pound and 12-pound cannonballs as "grenades"--something WELL documented and depicted in many wartime sketches of Vicksburg. However, as the hot summer, and low food supply (eating horse, mule, and rat meat...literally) the Confederates were getting weaker and weaker--making it harder to carry bags of heavy cannonballs. So, too, was the supply of cannonballs becoming more scarce, as they were totally cut-off! The renowned Vicksburg ironworks & foundry, the A. B. Reading Foundry, was a great resource to the city and it's railroad and steamboat shipping operations before the war, and produced 6-pounder cannons for the state and new Confederacy. One of the few surviving A. B. Reading Foundry-made 6-pounder cannon is on display at the Vicksburg Convention Center today. As the siege continued, the A. B. Reading Foundry continued to make cannonballs and munitions for the besieged Confederate defenders. HOWEVER...much like the Selma Arsenal small (always around 3" in diameter) round hand grenades, and like the same used by MANY countries in MANY wars for over a couple hundred years, the A. B. Reading Foundry clearly made these, as the need and desperation made these hand grenades an effective "deterrent" against pesky Yankees, trying to "slither" their way up to, and break-through the CS lines. That is why 5 have been dug precisely where Herron's Federal "sapper" trenches/approaches were. And when an antebellum home in Vicksburg was being torn-down, I got the "heads-up" to go and rummage and salvage what I could with my digging buddy. And it was a COMPLETE SURPRISE--jaws agape, eyes WIDE!!--when we found this UN-FIRED, NON-DUG specimen in a trunk in the attic (along with other cool stuff!)
It is like ALL the 5 excavated specimens EXACTLY---all 3" in diameter, ALL with the crude mold-seam, and SAME diameter "fuze" adaptor hole. And behold....it still has the wood-plug fuze AND hemp-rope FUZE!!! HOW COOL IS THAT! I've been holding on to this beauty for so long...but now it's time for it to find a new home where it will be loved and appreciated.
This is one heck of a piece of Confederate and VICKSBURG history...the ONE AND ONLY NON-DUG, INTACT, COMPLETE specimen!!!
$898 Sale Pending
BELOW is The Grenade I Dug in 2006 (Cleaned w/Grit Blaster)
Below Are the Siege Maps, Showing Barton's Georgia Entrenchments, Herron's US Division "Approach" to try and Infiltrate and Break-Through Barton's & CS Siege Lines, and WHERE Each Dug Grenade Has Been Recovered
Click On Thumbnails Below For More Pictures
More Shells DUG BY ME, from the Historic, Bloody Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs/Bayou, Mississippi
RARER 3" No-Flame-Grooved Hotchkiss Shell
AND One 3" Hotchkiss Shell Cut-In-Half-- complete with Sabot, Case-Shot, Fuze, ALL Illustrating the Design & Function of Hotchkiss Shells
Precise Location Where I Dug to be Revealed to Future Owner (all private property) on Battle Map!
I only have a meager few pieces of treasure artillery that I personally dug, left from my once vaunted collection. ANYONE who KNOWS ME as a relic hunter, KNOWS that I desired nothing MORE than to DIG ARTILLERY--excepting ANY CS plate, of course--and being around the Vicksburg Sieges and Campaign...there's ALWAYS IRON to BE DUG! Offered here is a rare, unique, historic, and most education "combo"! I dug this and more at a very special "honey hole" spot that had been HARD to dig...but with permission and better detectors....I CLEANED-UP what everyone considered as "hunted-out"!
The battle is known by two names (as usual) : The Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs (as the Confederates would call it, as they were WELL-ENTRENCHED on/around the steep bluffs) or the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou (as the Federals called it, since they had to navigate the Yazoo River around Christmas of 1862, lending in the SWAMPY, MUDDY, and easily FLOODING Bayou!) As annually enjoyed, remembered, and portrayed every year in December at the annual "Christmas Ball" in Vicksburg, on Christmas Night during a Grand Ball with all the high-ranking CS officers and high-society citizens of Vicksburg were busy waltzing and reeling, a rider burst into the ballroom, announcing that their pickets had spotted a LARGE FEDERAL LANDING FORCE with gunboats, attempting to find landing along the Chickasaw Bayou on the Yazoo River---the river just NORTH of Vicksburg. The ball was OVER for the CS officer's, who went back to their commands...but Pemberton was already WELL PREPARED for a northward attack to nab Vicksburg from the Yazoo River, and was HEAVILY fortified along many stretches with heavy cannon, and arrayed brigades of infantry. It was William Tecumseh Sherman, himself, under Grant's authority and "blessings," that deemed this DOOMED attack and bloody defeat. The poor Federals endured cold rain and sleet, maneuvering for several days--being shot-at, harassed, and skirmished by the Confederate pickets, just enticing the poor Federals into the "jaws of death" awaiting them at the bluffs--until finally on December 29th, 1862, Sherman order and launched the all-out attack. For hours, the battle rages like a blue sea of Federal soldiers, crashing into the impenetrable entrenched line of out-numbered and out-gunned Confederates...but they had terrain, tenacity, and mother nature on their side. The Federals POUNDED the out-gunned Confederates with ACCURATE rifles cannon fire, as exhibited from these Hotchkiss 3" shells---but the result was only muddy, bloody thousands of Federals and casualties, to the mere hundreds lost by the Confederates. Sherman noted the "high-water marks" on the surrounding trees....some 15' to 20' above ground level, knowing the winters in Mississippi were PRONE to FLOODING in our wet wintry season. After the days of futility and casualties of several thousands without making a dent into the Confederate northern defenses above Vicksburg along the Chickasaw Bluffs, he withdrew his cold and weary troops back into their transports, and back to Federal supply depots and encampments above Vicksburg/Yazoo.
What is left TODAY---after over 50 YEARS of relic hunting--only the "hardcore" relic hunter, with the BEST, NEWEST technological metal detectors can find! And I was privy to being allowed access to a sweet "honey-hole" that had long been considered "too hard" and "hunted-out"...but oh....I FOUND MUCH! Several of us found MANY of these 3" Hotchkiss shells--some, like MINE being offered, were the RARER NON-FLAME-GROOVED shells (designed for a percussion-fuze, though the ones we found were all paper-timed fuzed adapted shells)--were found in a shell "impact area" just in-front and behind the CS entrenched lines. The future owner will receive a battle-map and aerial map showing PRECISELY where FOUND! The COMPLETE shell is the head of a rare NON-FLAME-GROOVED Hotchkiss shell, but found WITH the base having "flame-grooves"....gee...no WONDER IT DIDN'T EXPLODE! Reminds me of the Hotchkiss Shells found at Kennesaw Mountain (in Charlie Harris' "Relic of the Western Campaigns" book) where the Arsenals filled the shells with SAWDUST instead of POWDER! This wasn't THAT BAD...but obviously mating a non-flame-grooved warhead with a flame-grooved base, AND the fuze hole CLEARLY for a paper-timed fuze...NO WONDER they fired almost a DOZEN we recovered that NEVER EXPLODED! Entirely cleaned-out and inert, this is a beautiful shell, with the sabot (as usual) spun-off in flight. The HALF-CUT Hotchkiss shell was a BETTER specimen, having the lead SABOT INTACT, but more pitted iron, so that one got cut in-half as the BEST DISPLAYING and EDUCATIONAL example of the very specialized Hotchkiss Shell design---from the lead sabot, the two parts of the actual "warhead" and the "base" that would "mash" upon firing, thus the soft lead sabot digging into the rifling of the 3" rifled cannon bore, and the lead case-shot inside as well as the paper-timed fuze adaptor.
Here's some of the LAST of my PERSONALLY DUG "IRON" for YOU to now OWN and ENJOY!
Both Sale Pending!!!
Both Shell and Half-Cut Pictured Above Together
The Whole Shell I Dug (above)
Both Sides of the Cut-In-Half Shell (above)
Battle Map & Aerial Shot of the Chickasaw Bluffs/Bayou Battlefield
I'll Show YOU PRECISELY Where Dug....a Secret Little "Honey Hole"!
Click On Thumbnails Below For More Pictures