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bheskett

Help with identifying cannon balls

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Me again needing more help with an ID. Here at the River Raisin National Battlefield Park in Monroe, MI we have been given two of these iron balls. They measure 4.2 inches in diameter and weigh 9 lbs. 4.6 oz.. British artillery was used during the battle which took place January 18-23 1813 at the Battlefield. We are trying to pinpoint just what these things are. The local cannon guys say they are not cannonballs but something used in industry, this area had heavy industry at one time. I can find no marking on them. Any help would be greatly appreciated. The artillery Museum could not find anything but I would like a second opinion before we simply say they are not.

 

Thanks Bob

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Just on first glance I would say this is a mill or mixing ball. The flat spots tend to point to that.


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What is a mill or mixing ball? I am not throwing stones I just have no isea what they are.

 

Thanks

Bob


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Iron balls like these were and still used by "ball mills" to crush mined ore. A large drum is filled with ore and iron balls and then tumbled to pulverize the ore to powder (part of the reduction/ refining process). Here in Colorado a lot of these are mistaken as "cannon balls" , however most are left over from the mining days.


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I agree - this is not a cannon ball. Cannonballs were perfectly round, and the weight or diameter should correspond with a 18th/19th century artillery table for proper identification. More than likely, the artillery experts that you mentioned consulted one of these tables, and were unable to find a match. Sometimes it's as simple as that.


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Would these be used in the mining of limestone as well? Also where can we find one of these artillery tables?

 

Thanks for the input.

 

Bob


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Also where can we find one of these artillery tables?

 

Thanks for the input.

 

Bob

Hopefully this site will answer the questions as to ball size / weight for the various cannon.

 

http://www.civilwarartillery.com/shottables.htm

 

I highly doubt that the ball in question (if it even was a cannonball) would have been used at River Raisin due to its size. Mobile artillery in the War of 1812 was generally of a small size and something this large would have not been a field artillery size at that time - would have been in a fort or permanent emplacement. It does come close to the 9 pounder cannon in the chart, a little bit large in diameter but that might be a measuring error base on where you measure and how much buildup there might be due to rust, etc.

 

Caliber Designation Bore Diameter Ball Diameter Solid Shot Weight

9-Pounder 4.20 inches 4.10 inches 9.14 pounds


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Thanks for the link. This should answer future questions.

 

Bob


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Why don't you just call Matt Switlik, he lives in Monroe just a couple miles from the battlefield. He is a leading authority on US cannons and I expect their ammunition. Just google him or ask one of the Museum officials. However, he may be the person you have already talked to. From the pics I think the others are spot on.

 

Regards,

CC

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CC

 

Thanks I got his number from the battlefield Friday and he is on my list.

Bob


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