Bomb Squad detonates live Civil War cannonball after it was found near a Maryland battlefield by metal detector whose family kept the deadly explosive at home for MONTHS
- The unexploded cannonball was detonated safely by technicians on March 23
- It was moved to Beaver Creek Quarry in Hagerstown for the controlled explosion
- Ancient bombs are often seen in the area that has a long history of military testing
A Civil War-era bomb that was still alive was detonated safely after it was discovered in Maryland.
The unexploded cannonball was discovered by a metal detector near the Monocacy Battlefield in Frederick, about 50 miles northwest of Washington DC.
It was discovered by the relative of a local homeowner, who contacted the state’s fire commissioner to report the discovery after being told the bomb might be alive.
The report was made months after its initial discovery, when the live cannonball had been in the resident’s home at Glen Hill Court, Jefferson.
A Civil War bomb that was still alive was detonated safely after it was discovered by the relative of a local Maryland homeowner
Bomb technicians conducted diagnoses and confirmed that the explosive was still live at the time of discovery on March 23 and that it could have caused massive damage had it been mishandled.
The bomb was moved to Beaver Creek Quarry in Hagerstown, where it was safely disposed of, the Maryland State Fire Marshal announced.
The office said in a statement, “As proven today, finding Civil War-era military munitions is not uncommon in Maryland, and these devices pose the same threat as the day they were originally manufactured.”
State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci warned residents to report unidentified objects that could be unexploded bombs.
He said, “Marylanders should be aware that military munitions, even vintage artifacts from past conflicts, have the potential to explode.”
The homeowner did not report the live explosive until months after its initial discovery, in which the live cannonball had been in the resident’s home
The unexploded cannonball was discovered near the Monocacy Battlefield in Frederick, about 50 miles northwest of Washington DC
What Happened on Monocacy Battlefield?
Monocacy Battlefield was the site of an 1864 battle called ‘The Battle That Saved Washington’.
The Confederate attack was a daring attempt to turn the tide of the war in their favor.
In battle, Union soldiers fought to prevent the Confederate Army from attempting to conquer Washington DC.
The Confederate soldiers won the battle, but the efforts of the Union soldiers slowed them down long enough for reinforcements to arrive to protect the city.
An estimated 2,200 were killed, wounded, captured or missing in the battle.
Source: National Park Service (NPS)
The State Fire Marshall’s office also thanked the owners of Beaver Creek Quarry for allowing bombers to use the site for controlled detonations.
It said, “Bomb technicians have conducted numerous emergency cleanups over the years on their properties.
“Their help has protected bombers and civilians from these potentially dangerous devices.”
Maryland has a long history of military testing, most notably at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, on the shores of Chesapeake Bay in Harford County.
Unexploded bombs are often dredged through tidal waters and surface in the area.
Cannonballs from this period were filled with potassium nitrate, sulfur, and charcoal – a mixture commonly known as black powder.
However, the mixture does not explode easily because it requires both friction and temperatures of up to 300 ° C (572 ° F) to explode.
It is likely that this particular cannonball was fired from a Napoleon cannon, the most popular cannon in the American Civil War.
Confederate Commander Jubal A. Early deployed at least 36 large guns, including 20 Napoleons for the battle of 1864.
In March 2020, a group of children discovered an unexploded Civil War cannonball buried two feet underground in West Virginia.
The children, who made the discovery while using a metal detector, took the bomb inside to show their parents, forcing the adults to call the police.
The cannonball, which had been detonated safely by police, was identified as a late Civil War cannonball of the Union Army.
Police said it may contain black powder based on the design.