🔎 UNIDENTIFIED A cannon ball (maybe)

EnvoyToTheMolePeople

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I was at a museum in Mahwah, NJ and came across this item. They didn't know exactly what it was or where it had come from, only that it was found in a drawer in the museum while some things were being cleaned out. They think it's a cannon ball, but don't know anything else. It's approximately 7 lbs and 4" in diameter. I'm no expert, but I know a few people around here are.
 

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CreakyDigger

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It certainly looks like one, but I've never heard of a 7-pounder from the era of round balls.
 
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TheCannonballGuy

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In other words... the data chart posted by Creskol does not tell the diameter of any actual cannonball -- it merely tells the diameter of a solid (not hollow) cast-iron ball which weighs exactly 2.0 pounds, 3.0 pounds, 4.0 pounds, etc.

That chart appears in the US (Army) Ordnance Manual of 1861. We cannonball collectors use it to determine with certainty whether a solid ball is made of cast-iron, or steel, or some other metal.

For example, the 1861 Ordnance Manual's "Shot Tables" says a 12-Pounder caliber (4.62" bore-diameter) cannon's cast-iron Solid-Shot cannonball was precisely 4.52-inches in diamter, and weighed precisely 12.25 pounds (12 pounds 4 ounces). So, for example, somebody on Ebay is selling a "civil war cannon ball" which measures exactly 4.52-inches in diameter. So far, so good. However, the seller also says his 4.52" cannonball weighs 13 pounds 2 ounces. Thus, according to the Ordnance Manual chart Creskol posted, the seller's 4.52", 13-pound ball is definitely NOT a cannonball... because it weighs more than a 4.52-inch cast-iron ball weighs. The only way that is possible is, the ball is made of Steel, which is about 10% heavier than cast-iron. There were no steel cannonballs used in the US civil war. The Ordnance Manual says all cannonballs were made of cast-iron or lead. If a ball is made of Steel, it is not a cannonball.

www.civilwarartillery.com/shottables.htm
 
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gunsil

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Hey Envoy, I go to Mahwah fairly often, did not know there was a museum there. Mahwah is right close to the site of the old Fort Ramapo which is mostly under the thruway/I 287/Rte 17 interchange so entirely possible for a cannonball to have been found in the area before they built the big roads. I go for great Mexican food in Suffern and Mahwah for gasoline which is cheaper in NJ than NY.
 
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EnvoyToTheMolePeople

EnvoyToTheMolePeople

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Hey Envoy, I go to Mahwah fairly often, did not know there was a museum there. Mahwah is right close to the site of the old Fort Ramapo which is mostly under the thruway/I 287/Rte 17 interchange so entirely possible for a cannonball to have been found in the area before they built the big roads. I go for great Mexican food in Suffern and Mahwah for gasoline which is cheaper in NJ than NY.
I didn't know about Fort Ramapo, it would make sense if a few cannon balls could be found there. The museum is just called the Mahwah Museum, if you'd like to visit. They have a lot of information on the local Indians, among other things. One of their big attractions is an exhibit on Les Paul guitars, but I don't know much about that.
 
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EnvoyToTheMolePeople

EnvoyToTheMolePeople

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Hey Envoy, I go to Mahwah fairly often, did not know there was a museum there. Mahwah is right close to the site of the old Fort Ramapo which is mostly under the thruway/I 287/Rte 17 interchange so entirely possible for a cannonball to have been found in the area before they built the big roads. I go for great Mexican food in Suffern and Mahwah for gasoline which is cheaper in NJ than NY.
I just looked up Fort Ramapo and couldn't find anything about it. Where could I find more information?
 
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gunsil

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There used to be a historical marker on 17 near the thruway exit stating it was the site of Fort Ramapo, the sign is no longer there. The sign was not actually on the site and I have no idea why it was removed. The Rockland County Historical Society knows about it. I have spent many hours in the last fifty years trying to find some part of it that isn't under the pavement to no avail. Remains of a small part of a trench were excavated by archies who did find rev war buttons there. I assure you, most all of the rev war site is under the highways, progress usually causes the ruin of many historical sites. The rev war supply depot in Fishkill, NY is mostly under the pavement of the old Dutchess County Mall, built in the 1970s with no consideration of the history of the area. Fort Ramapo guarded the Ramapo Pass to prevent the Brits from coming up from Jersey and making an attack from the rear on West Point. Ft Ramapo was also a quarantine place for soldiers with smallpox and at one point there were 500 soldiers either quarantined or stationed there so it must have covered a fairly large area. If you are close to Mahwah, send me a PM, maybe we can meet and I'll show you the area. I am down near Nyack and it is maybe 12-15 miles from me. I think the fort is mentioned in "Greene's History of Rockland County" and also in "Now and Then and Long Ago", another history of Rockland County. Research is paramount, they are great books for local history.
 
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EnvoyToTheMolePeople

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There used to be a historical marker on 17 near the thruway exit stating it was the site of Fort Ramapo, the sign is no longer there. The sign was not actually on the site and I have no idea why it was removed. The Rockland County Historical Society knows about it. I have spent many hours in the last fifty years trying to find some part of it that isn't under the pavement to no avail. Remains of a small part of a trench were excavated by archies who did find rev war buttons there. I assure you, most all of the rev war site is under the highways, progress usually causes the ruin of many historical sites. The rev war supply depot in Fishkill, NY is mostly under the pavement of the old Dutchess County Mall, built in the 1970s with no consideration of the history of the area. Fort Ramapo guarded the Ramapo Pass to prevent the Brits from coming up from Jersey and making an attack from the rear on West Point. Ft Ramapo was also a quarantine place for soldiers with smallpox and at one point there were 500 soldiers either quarantined or stationed there so it must have covered a fairly large area. If you are close to Mahwah, send me a PM, maybe we can meet and I'll show you the area. I am down near Nyack and it is maybe 12-15 miles from me. I think the fort is mentioned in "Greene's History of Rockland County" and also in "Now and Then and Long Ago", another history of Rockland County. Research is paramount, they are great books for local history.
Interesting. It's strange that I can't find anything online. The only mention of Fort Ramapo on google is a road in Suffern, NY called Fort Ramapo Ave, but it looks like this road has been renamed to Ramapo Ave. I'll have to look into those books. I'm at college right now, but I'll be back in two weeks. I'll let you know when I can visit the fort site.
 
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