In the stern the team turned up several small ceramic firepots, incendiary weapons used both on land and at sea. A soldier would have filled a firepot's ceramic jar with combustible material, attached and lighted one or more wicks, and threw the device by hand or sling onto an enemy vessel. When the firepot broke on impact, the burning wicks ignited the flammable innards. One of a seaman's worst fears, fire on board a wooden ship was particularly deadly. The firepots on board Belle were unusual in that they also contained an explosive iron ball that would be set off by the burning pot contents, killing or maiming those trying to put out the fire.

firepot A firepot that never got used.

Photo: courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission.