A sabot on display with a cannonball in place at the Casemate Museum, Fort Monroe, Virginia
Civil War-era cannon
A sabot was used to ensure that a fuse faced outward when the shell was loaded into the gun. They were also used used to buffer 'hotshot' to prevent an accidental or premature firing of the cannon. 'Hot shot' was the term for a solid cannonball heated red hot and used set wooden ships on fire.