Have You Ever Heard Of The Ketchum Hand Grenade?
Back in 1861, in Western New York, the grenade of choice for the Union Army was developed. Have you ever heard of the Ketchum hand grenade?
The Ketchum Hand Grenade was patented on August 20th 1861 by William F. Ketchum, who at the time was the mayor of Buffalo New York. Ketchums came in 3 different varieties: 1, 3 and 5 lb. The grenades have the appearance of a cast-iron ball. Just like a Jart, these grenades would always land on the nose.
The grenade was quickly adopted by the Union Army. However, it did have it's major flaws:
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."
Today you can check out a recovered fragment from a 1-pounder Ketchum hand grenade at The Port Hudson State Historic Site.
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