Case shot is a American Civil War
era antipersonnel artillery ammunition
. A standard spherical explosive shell would be equipped with a timed fuse and filled with small lead or iron balls. Case shot was designed to explode
in the air above troops' heads, showering them with shrapnel
and thinning out their ranks.
Case shot was most effective at ranges of greater than 400 yards (365 meters). At closer ranges (between 100 and 400 yards, or 90 to 365 meters), artillerymen tended to use canister shot; at extremely close ranges (between a few feet and two hundred yards, or less than a meter to 185 meters) they would use grapeshot.
The grisly effectiveness of case shot combined with an extreme effective range gave artillery a considerable advantage over a company of men with muskets and rifles. Raining death from above on troops at extreme ranges likely also gave artillery a significant psychological advantage over troops.