US Ketchum Grenade and Frag - Port Hudson LA
Used Condition
FFL is not required
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7/30/2017 12:13 AM
Item 671631866
Location Arlington Heights, IL 60004-6064
Priority Mail$15.00
No international shipments
Payment USPS Money Order, Money Order
Checkout Yes
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Inspection/ Return Policy
Three Days from the date the item is received

The seller of this item assumes all responsibility for this listing. You must contact the seller to resolve any questions or concerns before placing a bid. Payment must be made using U.S. dollars ($) unless otherwise stated in the listing. Firearms may only be shipped to a licensed dealer (FFL Holder). Some listed items may not be legal in every state. Complete your purchase within the law.


During the Civil War, they invented several different types of hand grenades. One of the most prevalent was the Ketchum. It was patented in August 1861 by the one-time may of Buffalo, William F. Ketchum. The design was fairly simple. The grenade body was egg shaped, with a hollow cavity for the black powder. A plunger was held in one end, with a nipple and percussion cap underneath the plunger. On the other end, there was a wooden shaft with dart like cardboard fins. When thrown, the fins would stabilize the grenade so that the plunder would strike first, setting off the cap and explosives.

The grenades were made in 3 different weights; 1 pound, 3 pounds and 5 pounds. Considering their great weight, the thought was that these would be used in trenches and forts. There was no way the soldiers could throw them far enough when in the open. They were best used from within a fortress wall, throwing them down upon an attacking force.

This grenade has an interesting history, and even comes with a fragment from an exploded ketchum. This set was found in the 1960s at the Port Hudson Louisiana battlefield, and they were uncovered by Thomas Dickey. Tom was one of the most prominent artillery collectors, and part of his collection can still be seen at the Atlanta History Center.

Port Hudson is one of the few places that the ketchum was used in battle. Other places include Petersburg and Vicksburg, showing that all 3 were siege situations. Union troops who used the Ketchum grenade in great numbers in their attacks at Port Hudson found its limitations. Lt. Howard C. Wright, described the scene from the Confederate side of the assault: "The enemy had come this time prepared with hand grenades to throw into our works from the outside. When these novel missiles commenced falling among the Arkansas troops they did not know what to make of them, and the first few which they caught not having burst, they threw them back upon the enemy in the ditch. This time many of them exploded and their character was at once revealed to our men. Always equal to any emergency, they quickly devised a scheme...Spreading blankets behind the parapet, the grenades fell harmlessly into them, whereupon our boys would pick them up and hurling them with much greater force down the moat they would almost invariably explode."

This is an extremely rare set, with outstanding historical significance.

Thanks for looking, and be sure to see my other auctions for military and old west items...

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