By October 21, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Civil War-era Cannonballs Unearthed by Hurricane Matthew

In aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Civil War-era cannonballs were found on beach.

In aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Civil War-era cannonballs were found on beach.

A local resident of Folly Beach, S.C., about 12 miles south of Charleston, was walking along the eroded beach when he discovered a cluster of cannonballs. Hurricane Matthew had made land fall a day earlier about 50 miles north of Folly Beach, and had apparently unearthed the military ordnance from the sand. The pile of rusty, pockmarked ammunition is thought to date back to the Civil War era.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) was called to investigate. The county’s bomb technicians and explosives team specialists from the U.S. Air Force were sent to the scene, but were delayed from taking action because of the rising tide. Major Eric Watson, public information officer for the CCSO, said, “When the tide receded, our guys and members of the U.S. Air Force explosive team used a small amount of C-4 to detonate the cannonballs right there on the beach.” Nearby residents had been warned they might hear a small boom.

Some of the cannonballs were transported to a Navy base in Charleston to be destroyed.

According to Watson, finding Civil War ordnance is not uncommon. The first shots of the Civil War were fired from nearby Ft. Sumter. “Charleston played a major role in the Civil War, so whenever we have construction or a natural disaster like a hurricane, it’s more than likely people will come across some old Civil War ordnance,” he said. He added that during the war both exploding and non-exploding cannonballs were used. Since the ordnance are old and mixed with black powder which is unstable if handled the wrong way, Watson said people were warned not to touch any other ordnance that might be found, but to contact the proper authorities.

The beach was closed prior to the detonation activity, and was reopened following the successful resolution of the potentially dangerous situation.


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