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Don’t be shell-shocked: Collecting Civil War artillery casings

Kidsday reporter Kyle Wozniak and his dad Peter

Kidsday reporter Kyle Wozniak and his dad Peter share an interest in Civil War artifacts. Credit: Wozniak family

Many people collect rare coins, baseball cards and maybe even seashells from the beach. My dad has a different and unique collection. He collects artillery shells from the Battle of Gettysburg. Artillery shells are the casings that are fired out of cannons. The shells my dad has were used during the Civil War.

My dad has nine shells, with two being his favorites. His favorite artillery shells are the rare 3.8-inch Type 2 Hotchkiss Case Shot and the two 6-pound spherical shells. He likes these shells for a few reasons. He likes the cannons that these shells were fired out of and he also enjoys having these shells because they are very rare.

I have learned a lot about history from my dad. I know that there were more than 600 cannons at Gettysburg. The Union had about 370 and the Confederates had about 280. Over 50,000 rounds were fired from these cannons. The cannons used were the Napoleon, howitzer, 3-inch ordinance rifle, Parrott rifle, James rifle, 6-pound field gun and Whitworth rifle.

Collecting the shells interests my dad because of his love for history and the Civil War, especially Gettysburg. Collecting these artifacts is a connection to the past and a way to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. To my dad, the artillery played a major role in the Union victory at Gettysburg, which was a turning point in the war.

For the past few years my dad and I have taken trips to different battlefields, including two visits to Gettysburg. On each trip, we explored all of the sites in Gettysburg. One of my favorite places is Seminary Ridge, and that is where the Confederates used their cannons during Pickett’s Charge. I got to see where the cannons were that shot some of the shells my dad collects. Loving history is in my genes and one day I hope to add to my dad’s shell collection.


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