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Author Topic: Interesting Read  (Read 653 times)

CarlS

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Interesting Read
« on: August 30, 2020, 03:25:49 PM »
I received in the mail a small collection of shells a couple days ago.  I knew from the pictures shared during the purchasing process that there were a couple 3" bourreleted Read shells in it and it appeared one of them might be the type with 3 flames grooves attributed to the Snyder and Walker foundry in Richmond.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find that it indeed had 3 flame grooves and a 4th one for good measure.  This was good and bad news for me as I have a 3 flame groove example in my collection so figured to keep the best and use the other for inventory.   So now my collection has grown a bit.

I believe this shell to be from Virginia so perhaps it is also from the S&W foundry but that is only speculation on my part.  The profile of the shell and the sabot appears the same.  My 3-groove is fired with nice rifling while the 4-groove is a drop.  The 3-groove does not have grooves on the upper bourrelet.  If anyone has any info on the 4-groove it would be much appreciated.  I have seen at least some sabots with 4 flame grooves and perhaps a complete shell but I don't recall for sure.    It appears to me that the flame grooves in the copper sabot are cast that way along with the groove in the lower bourrelet.  But the period groove in the top bourrelet was added later with a chisel.  It has an excellent condition wood fuse adapter present.

I found it very neat and thought I'd share.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2020, 03:35:00 PM by CarlS »
Best,
Carl

speedenforcer

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2020, 05:57:07 PM »
Wow, Very nice.
It's not always "Survival of the fitest" sometimes the idiots get through.

alwion

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2020, 07:56:16 PM »
love it

Garret

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2020, 09:39:00 PM »
Thanks for sharing Carl.
"Suppose you were an idiot.  And suppose you were a member of Congress.  But I repeat myself."  Mark Twain

jonpatterson

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2020, 01:26:04 PM »
Nice
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Woodenhead

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2020, 01:39:29 AM »
What you have is a very rare Augusta Arsenal Read made during the 4th quarter of 1863. Their production records show they made a total of 240 3 inch Reads for the entire year of 1863. That helps explain why so few are known today. I don't believe any were sent to Virginia. Their records tell where they went - places like Mobile and Florida - including 24 delivered to Maj. Girardey (see first item below) who was conducting the extensive testing done by a Board of Artillery Officers during the winter of 1863-64. In Mallets records of the field tests (see second item, below) a little side drawing shows the copper base of their 3 inch Reads (in the middle) with four pronounced flame grooves. This is the only evidence I have found that 4 grooves were ever used. Note that nearly all of these Reads "toppled badly." Every Snyder & Walker Read I have seen from Virginia have three flame grooves as was specified briefly in orders from the Richmond Arsenal in early August 1862 but soon retracted in favor of a single groove. Recognizing their mistake, Augusta developed an entirely new copper base - high band with three holes in the top for the iron to pass thru.
Woodenhead

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2020, 01:46:41 AM »
Sorry, but for some reason the previous photo was cropped leaving out the base image I wanted to show. So here's another try.
WH

Woodenhead

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2020, 01:51:33 AM »
One more time!

emike123

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2020, 09:59:58 AM »
Thank you, Woodenhead, for your excellent information.  For once I think I have something to add to your incredible input.

I am about positive Carl's came from the same place my four flame grooved shell shown below did.  These were dug at a test range along the James River that I am pretty sure Pete told you about at a show last year or maybe the year before.  I doln't want to spill all his beans so if he didn't, then feel free to contact him or me.

I think Carl got some things the digger sold to one guy and I got some the same digger sold to another.  There were 12pdr proof shots and other experimental projectiles in there like the 3" ratchet base and Brooke with bourrelets.  Unless these 4 flame groove Read were the ones sent for testing that you mentioned, I'd associate them with Tredegar.  They also have four flame grooves cut in the upper bourrelet.


CarlS

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2020, 12:22:55 PM »
Excellent info, Woodenhead!  Thanks for sharing.

Actually mine didn't come from the Mac Cole or Pete George stuff.  I didn't get any of that.  It came from a digger in NC through a dealer but that doesn't mean that it didn't change hands more than once to come from that Richmond resource and I'll need to follow up to see if that can be determined.  They do have that similar look so I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out they came from there in the end.  Though contrary to the test range thought is that it does not appear to be fired.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 12:55:12 PM by CarlS »
Best,
Carl

Woodenhead

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2020, 04:52:39 PM »
Mike, I examined your Read when Carl had it at the Richmond Show. I am certain that it was one of 240 made by the Augusta Arsenal in late 1863. These were the first 3 inch Rifle shells ever made by Augusta. They clearly screwed up. But they had permission from Richmond (letter March 1863) to go their own way with projectile designs. If I am correct, your Read should have a star or segmented interior. All of Augusta's field-caliber shells did except their 10pdr. Parrotts. Also, all of Augusta's projectiles were sent to the field fixed. Is their any trace of twine in the "lubricating ring." That's what Augusta called their "safety groove." Half (120) of Augusta's 3 inch Rifle shells were forwarded to the Army of Tennessee. There must be examples or shrapnel from North GA.

Look closely at the January 1864 letter below. It was written by Col. Olandowski, Ordnance Chief of the Army of Tennessee, to Col Gorgas in Richmond. Olandowski had just witnessed the artillery experiments in Augusta. The same ones seen in the previous posting. He noted: "The shells with copper cups [i.e. 3 inch Reads], having holes cut in their sides to communicate fire to paper fuzes,  do not fly as regularly as those having thicker cup and no cutting in them." Olandowski continued on to suggest the sabot pictured below with three holes in the top. I believe this new sabot design was excellent but ignored by Col. Broun in Richmond as he had already developed the round-nose Broun 3 inch shells. In the Deep South, they continued to make Reads.

Woodenhead

Woodenhead

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2020, 04:59:43 PM »
Carl, why are my images being cropped? I'll try again with less resolution.
WH

Woodenhead

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2020, 02:46:23 AM »
Mike - I'm replying to your comment that you think Tredegar made these with the four cuts. I have Tredegar's monthly production records and their billing invoices. From those it is clear that Tredegar never made any 3 inch Reads. They did make most of the Archers and about 13,000 Mullanes, but August 1862 was the last month. It is apparent that the 1,700 3 inch Rifle shells listed on the August 1862 invoice below were all 3 inch Mullanes (most or all were the flush-bolt pattern) like the example shown below. These included some of the first with copper fuze plug. Tredegar billed for making molds and the threading equipment for these plugs one month earlier. Clearly, not all of their flush-bolt Mullanes had the copper plugs as I had the great pleasure of digging one at Chancellorsville with a wood fuze plug. Snyder was hired to finish Tredegar's contracts for field-caliber ammo like their 3 inch Reads with the 3 flame grooves and 2,000 of the little 2.25 inch Mullanes for the Mountain Rifle Guns. Tredegar continued to cast the big shells for the Army and Navy and produced tens of thousands of 6, 12, 24 & 32 pounder cannon balls until the end of the war. But no 3 inch Reads. Earlier collectors and artillery books assumed Tredegar was the 'big dog' in all manner of shell production but they begged off the smaller stuff during the summer of 1862.

CarlS

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Re: Interesting Read
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2020, 09:58:53 PM »
I did get a little information on my Read shell and proof shot.  They were purchased in Virginia 2 or 3 years ago but not from Mac Cole.  They came from someone at the show who had only dug relics.  So they might be early recoveries at the Richmond test site.
Best,
Carl