Musket Balls found at Waterloo
An estimated Three and a half million musket balls were fired at Waterloo. The majority found on the battlefield are French and British with Prussian balls found around Plancenoit. Prussian balls were the largest followed by the British Brown Bess balls and finally the smallest were the French Charleville balls. Below you will find a selection from all areas of the battlefield.
Many more lie under the hallowed ground waiting to be found.
Identifying Waterloo Musket balls
Identifying musket balls is a fairly simple process once you know the basic principles. First you can narrow down the parameters by knowing where your balls were found. Only French and Prussian balls are found in Plancenoit and British and French are mostly the only ones found on the main battlefield.
The Prussian balls are the largest with the diameter of around 19.5mm. British balls are around 18.7mm in calibre and French around 17.2mm. Allowing for windage and differences in manafacture it is almost always possible to discern the different balls with the naked eye. You can also weigh each ball and it is again fairly simple to see which is which as the larger calibre balls weigh more.
Sometimes when the balls are heavily deformed from hitting something the only way to tell the origin is to weigh them.
Occaisionally in just a few musket balls you will find one with a rough small hole. This occured when the ball became stuck in the muzzle as often happened when the musket missfired. The soldier was trained to use a corkscrew like attachment to remove the ball and this left a hole in the ball.
The regimental and medical surgeons also could remove musket balls from wounds in a similar way and such balls sometimes have serrations on the side where the surgeon gripped the ball with forceps as the ball was removed.
We have for sale only a few of these balls and most collectors have no idea that they have a piece of gruesome history in their hands.
Much rarer still are the small calibre pistol balls which were mostly from private purchase weapons of last resort.
Musket Balls have sold so quickly this year with the waterloo 200 anniversary coming up we have moved all our remaining balls into the store. Please click the link to take you to our ebay store