Richmond Arsenal Shell Crate


Description and Photograph




     The Richmond Arsenal was housed in the large antebellum tobacco factory buildings situated on Byrd Island, between the Kanawha Canal and James River in Richmond, Virginia.  The water from the canal and its basin had been harnessed to supply power to the various factories and mills built along its course prior to the War.  Not only did the canal provide a steady source of power, it served as a fire break, separating Richmond’s financial and residential areas from the hazardous munitions.  Byrd Island also served as terminus of the Richmond - Petersburg Railroad which had connecting lines to the Danville Railroad as well as the Weldon.  Tredegar Iron Works, the Richmond Armory, the Artillery Works and numerous mills, foundries and factories were located adjacent to, and around, the Richmond Arsenal.  It was an ideal location for the Confederacy’s most important arsenal.

     The Richmond Laboratory was part of the overall Richmond Arsenal complex.  The C.S. Laboratory was built on Brown’s Island in the James River.  This crate was manufactured at the C.S. Laboratory in the early part of the War, no later than 1862.  It held 12 pound spherical case shot affixed to a wooden sabot.  The exploding shells were made for the 12 pound howitzer. 

     The red paint and stenciled, arsenal markings are all completely original and very legible.  The crate has no restoration whatsoever.   




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