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hink441

10" Civil War Mortar Shell

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I recently acquired this 10" seacoast mortar shell from an antique shop in Norfolk Va. The dealer said it was recovered during dredging operations along the Norfolk waterfront during the 1960s. The shell was heavily pitted and corroded.

 

I wanted to try and clean her up and remove all the corrosion. First I had a Richmond area Civil War artillery expert verify that it was indeed inert and not a danger to anyone.

 

I then decided to try and use the electrolysis method to clean the shell.

 

Here is a picture of the shell before any cleaning.

 

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I then set up a home-made electrolysis tank and started 3 1/2 days of electrolysis cleaning. The shell weighs approximately 80lbs.

 

Here is a picture of my setup with the shell soaking.

 

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Here is a CW era picture of a 10" seacoast mortar.

 

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This is what the shell looked like after the 3-1/2 days of treatment.

 

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I then put on some polyurethane for the final touch. Having never done the electrolysis method before, I am very pleased with the results.

 

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It's weighs 80 pounds, wow that must have been a terrible weapon to get hit with or even in the vacinity. Good job looks nice

 

Sent from my XT1031 using Tapatalk

 

 


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Hink- You need to keep a very close on your projectile! It will probably sluff off pieces into nothing. You might want talk to someone in the area with electrolysis experience. I have done several CW salt water projectiles and the minimum time in the tank is one year. A 6.4" Parrott I have has been in for two years and I will leave it for another six months. Good luck.

Illinigander

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Very Cool! I remember when they were dregging for the second Hampton Roads tunnel, They were dregging up tons of stff from Ft. Monroe, Old Point Comfort. Guns at Sea Walls Point (Confederate) , later Sewell's point. After Union General Sewell.



Pvt. James H. Honey 1st Md. Eastern shore Vol. Inf. Co. D (union) Gettysburg
Pvt. George Eddie Lear 26th Inf. Co.H 1st Div .(WW1) P.H. WIA Cpl. Richard Elsea 268th C.A. Bn. Battery A. WW2 SSgt. Grant Elsea 314th Inf. Hq.Co. I.R.79thDiv. WW2
Cpl. Harry Lawrence Butler Jr 23rd Regt. WIA Korea Lt. George Olin Tilghman 111th MG. 29th Div. WW1 DIS France 1919
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Hink- You need to keep a very close on your projectile! It will probably sluff off pieces into nothing. You might want talk to someone in the area with electrolysis experience. I have done several CW salt water projectiles and the minimum time in the tank is one year. A 6.4" Parrott I have has been in for two years and I will leave it for another six months. Good luck.

Illinigander

Thank you for all the comments.

 

Thanks for the heads up. I will keep a close eye on the shell. I had help from Pete George, and the opinion was that this shell would be okay with 2-4 days of electrolysis.

 

Chris


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Very Cool! I remember when they were dregging for the second Hampton Roads tunnel, They were dregging up tons of stff from Ft. Monroe, Old Point Comfort. Guns at Sea Walls Point (Confederate) , later Sewell's point. After Union General Sewell.

Thanks for the comment, this shell could very well be from those same dredging operations.

 

Chris


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I had a real good friend that did that. He disarmed them and that's what killed him, Mr Sam White RIP buddy. Looks like you did a good job most big shells like that are deep in the sea floor so I can see where Peter said that. Good luck


Josiah H Haywood 10th NC KIA Bentonville NC,1865 Great Great Grandfather Tedd McKinley Furr KIA Dec 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor USS Oklahoma, Cousin

James H. Furr WT2c USS Helena KIA July 6,1943 Cousin Troy Lee Furr 275th Reg. 70th Div. KIA Jan 3, 1945 Cousin

 

 

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Peter George is a first-class source. Just saying, In 1973, I traded the NPS a rare SC manual for a CS 6.4" Brooke bolt that had been in sand in a casemate at Fort Sumter from 1890's till 1959 (never was in salt water) and about 2014 it started to sluff-off (word?) potato chip sized pieces of cast iron. I put it the electro system for two years, and I hope it is stabilized but watch it carefully.

Illinigander.

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Wow, that is an interesting story. 1973-2014 then it started to come apart. Why do you think it came apart after so many years?

 

Chris


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Chris, nice find!

 

I recovered a Spanish cannonball over 30 years ago while diving off the Florida Keys. My home-made reverse electrolysis worked great! (all I can remember using was a zinc bucket, lye, battery and I think either zinc or lead chips?) The cannonball had been in salt water for over 225+ years and it still looks good. I never coated it and it has never flaked.

 

One extra thing I did after the electrolysis was to place it in the bathroom toilet tank.... left it there for a few months and let the fresh water flush out any residual salt. It was easy with a 14 1/2# ball, but I don't think a toilet tank could handle an 80 pounder!

 

Thanks for posting!

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Great story Linda!!

 

Thank you all for the comments and opinions!

 

I will keep a close eye on this one for sure!! Hopefully this one will do okay.

 

If the story from the old man at the antique shop is true, this shell has been out of the sea water for approximately 50 years or so.

 

Chris


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Hink441- I have no idea why it took so long to flake, not much salt spray in the air in Mich. My friend who dives in Mobile Bay always "cooks" his projectiles for a minimum of two years.

Ken

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