Richmond Arsenal Shell Crate


Description and Photograph




   The Richmond Virginia Arsenal was housed in the large antebellum tobacco factory buildings situated on Byrd Island, between the Kanawha Canal and James River.  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. 

     During the course of the War the Richmond Arsenal produced 971,444 rounds of artillery ammunition.  The crate shown here held eight, 12 pound shell case-shot already affixed to a wooden sabot and powder charge.  Case shot were made of iron, cast hollow and then filled with lead or iron balls.  The necessary fuses and friction primers were also included in each crate.  This crate full of ammunition would have been issued shortly after Lieutenant L. L. Duncan’s June 1864 inspection. 




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