"What are the numbers stamped on the nose?"
The Sawyer projectile was patented by Sylvanus Sawyer of
Fitchburg, Massachusetts on November 13,
1855. There are two sub-patterns of this
projectile. Sub-pattern I has 6 flanges on the lead that covers the projectile.
Sub-pattern II has no flanges and smooth sides covered with a thin sheet of brass to
prevent the lead from fouling the bore of the cannon. The patent date "Patented Nov.
13, 1855" is nearly always seen stamped into the lead base on the projectile body.
Also stamped on the projectile near the nose is a number that was thought to be the weight
of the projectile. This number is located only on the nose of Sawyer shells and never on
the solid bolts. I found two different letters located in the National Archives written by
ordnance officers that stated that the number on the nose of the Sawyer shell determines
the amount of bursting charge in ounces that the shell is to be filled at the Arsenal.
Found stamped on the nose of the Sawyer shell projectiles are as follows: 3" caliber
Sub-pattern II, no visible numbers available on the few recovered specimens, 3.4"
Sub-pattern II stamped "14" with the Sawyer combination fuze, 3.67"
Sub-pattern I, flanged, stamped "11 1/2" with the Sawyer
percussion fuzed shell, 3.67" Sub-pattern II stamped "14 1/2" with the Sawyer combination fuzed shell,
4.2-inch Sub-pattern I, flanged, no stampings, 5.2" Sub-pattern I, flanged,
stamped "27" with the Sawyer percussion fuze, and 5.86" Sub-pattern I,
flanged, stamped "40" with the Sawyer percussion fuze. To see
a Sawyer combination fuze click