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From its resemblance to a cluster of grapes
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
grape + shot
The effect of artillery cannot be increased by putting squibs into cannon already loaded with grapeshot.
Will they get there and fire the bridge or will the French get within grapeshot range and wipe them out?
The French had time to fire three rounds of grapeshot before the hussars got back to their horses.
Twice they noticed the French appearing below them, and then they fired grapeshot at them.
General Campan's division did not seize the first fortification but was driven back, for on emerging from the wood it had to reform under grapeshot, of which Napoleon was unaware.
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