from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of a gun's crew on board a man-of-war whose duty it is to pass shells for loading.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
-- Heave up with the roller handspike under the end of the bracket on the side on which the truck is to be removed; handspikemen pass inside the breeching and place their handspikes under the axletree as near the truck as possible, and, assisted by 5 and 6, lift the gun while the shellman removes the old truck and side-tackleman puts on new one.
After the laugh had subsided, "Morrie," one of the Rochester detail, who acted as a shellman in the crew of Number Eight, said seriously:
Numbers 2 and 3, respectively second captain and first loader and shellman, were directly behind the corporal.