Hurricane Dorian Unearths Pair of Civil War Cannonballs on South Carolina Beach
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, a pair of hobbyist treasure hunters stumbled across two Civil War cannonballs on the edge of Folly Beach, South Carolina.
According to WCSC, local resident Aaron Lattin was perusing the beach with his girlfriend after the hurricane and ended up finding an 8-inch cannonball and a 3-inch shell poking out of the sand.
“At first, we just thought it was a rock,” Lattin said. “[But] the more we got to looking, we realized it was something more than a rock.”
The couple said they were excited to come across a piece of history.
“I wanted to get a metal detector and especially after the hurricane and see if there’s anything, any history or artifacts that kind of washed up on the shore,” Lattin continued. “We actually just got lucky with no equipment, just spending a day at the beach.”
Lattin was apparently aware that this wasn’t the first time Civil War cannonballs had washed up on Folly Beach.
In fact, Hurricane Matthew uncovered a whole trove — 16 in total — back in 2016.
“Maybe this is a hot spot for some good history,” Lattin concluded.
And he’s exactly right. According to the City of Folly Beach website, which documents its rich Civil War history, the island was occupied by Union troops in 1863. They eventually constructed roads, forts, an artillery battery and a supply depot to support up to 13,000 troops.
The Union even used Folly Island as its main strategic post in the battle to take Fort Sumter.
Because of this, Civil War-era discoveries are not that uncommon, and local authorities are quite familiar with dealing with intact, and possibly volatile, explosives.
After this most recent discovery, Lattin reported the find to the police, and local bomb disposal teams convened to verify the cannonballs and determine whether or not they were dangerous.
Although they were deemed safe, it’s likely that they will be destroyed as a precaution.
While many cannonballs of that age are merely metal projectiles, others are full of centuries-old gunpowder, posing a real safety threat that has taken lives in the past.
For example, amateur history buff Sam White was killed when a 75-pound cannonball he was restoring exploded back in 2008. The bomb sent shrapnel flying into a neighbor’s porch about a quarter-mile away.
Typically, these live explosives won’t detonate if undisturbed, but can become extremely dangerous if handled, even carefully.
Nevertheless, discoveries like these provide ways for us to interact with events that have shaped the world we know today.
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