"Live" Civil War Cannonball Found In Richmond!

Discussion in 'Civil War' started by Kate, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    A few days ago, the battlefield staff at Richmond National Battlefield Park found an artillery shell in Fort Gilmer's moat that had never exploded.

    This is all kinds of amazing to me... to think that it's been there "unnoticed" for 150 years?! Incredible.

    The bomb team of the area was called and it was moved and then detonated. It was a 12 pounder, and most likely rolled down the fort's side at Union soldiers. (And if you like history, look up THAT story... fascinating but deadly to the Union troops!)

    Some people are wondering if it couldn't have been diffused without destroying this piece of history. I don't know enough about the subject to know the answer.
    preacherbob50 likes this.
  2. R Leonard

    R Leonard Active Member

    The authorities here abouts are pretty leery of unexploded ordnance. In Chesterfield County, across the James from Henrico, an experienced ordnance collector/dealer, not just some "hey, y'all watch this" lugnut with a hammer and a cold chisel, about 6 years back, attempted to do do just that. Blew up himself and his garage in the process. The local governments pretty much, and probably rightly, have a SOP of "take it to the range and blow it," attitude.

    There's plenty enough solid shot around here to satisfy any need for owning a piece of history.
  3. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    So I guess these can't just be "diffused" like a bomb, and need to be destroyed. Wonder why so many people were whining about them doing it? Well, scratch that... probably because people will squawk about anything whether there's another option or not, eh, @R Leonard ? :rolleyes:

    And the guy trying to do it in the garage by himself... collector or not... head scratcher!
  4. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    It's my understanding that the older the explosive the more unstable it becomes. Trying to defuse it might have done what they ended up doing anyway but also taken a life 160 or so years after it was supposed to. I really like your research.
  5. Before I even read it, I wondered why they would destroy a 150-year-old piece of the Civil War. There must have been a way to make it safe. The bomb squad is highly trained, and can diffuse super-complex bombs built with triggers, timers that go off when moved, and can be blown remotely. Yet, they couldn't find a way to deactivate a century-and-a-half old mortar?
  6. mkCampbell

    mkCampbell New Member

    It would have been nice to save it for a museum but since it sat unearthed for so long the material degraded so it was completely unsafe. I would imagine that the SOP's of the local bomb squad was to eliminate the threat to public safety only. But still, would have been nice if the resources were available to preserve it.
  7. R Leonard

    R Leonard Active Member

    Why? we've, that is Virgina museums, have a plenty. One more would make no difference to any museum's collection. You don't even have to look in museums . . . there's a church in Hampton with British cannon balls from the Revolution in it's walls or if you walk down the east side of the barracks at VMI there are cannon balls from Hunter's Raid embedded in the wall . . . not to mention those in the VMI museum itself or even 'the cannonball' located on the southeast corner of the parade ground. One more makes no difference; spent artillery rounds are not rare in Virginia . . . only to journalists who know no better.
  8. helpingcollier4

    helpingcollier4 New Member

    It is amazing to find un-exploded ammunition from the Civil War! The historian in me loves the idea of finding a vintage cannon that would shoot such ammunition and take it to a firing range! However, given its age and the unpredictable nature of live ammunition of that age, the wise move was to dispose of it in a safe a manner as possible.
  9. nailah783

    nailah783 Member

    That is amazing. I can't believe it's been sitting there that long. I know it had to feel good to find such an awesome artifact from our past.

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