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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Hurricane Tosses Civil War Cannonballs |Onto Charleston, South Carolina Beach

(CN) - Hurricane Matthew's storm surge littered one local beach in Charleston with more than sea shells and mounds of seaweed it also brought to the surface rusting Civil War cannonballs.

The cannonballs, which had been submerged for at 151 years, was discovered on Folly Beach Sunday afternoon.

After waiting several hours until the high tide subsided, the ordinance was detonated by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office bomb squad with the assistance of a U.S. Air Force explosive ordinance team, the Folly Beach Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services.

The small explosion at the beach could clearly be heard in nearby neighborhoods in Charleston, Folly Beach and James Island.

While some history buffs in the area decried the destruction of the cannonballs, contending that years beneath the surf had fouled their gunpowder and rendered them little more than a curiosity, Eric Watson, a spokesman with the sheriff's office, said the denotation was necessary to ensure public safety.

"We call it 'rendering safe,'" he said.

After the explosion, the remnants of the cannonballs were taken to Joint Base Charleston for disposal.

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