Amazing Civil War Find

KRose

Well-Known Member
#6
So if you wrap a little bare wire to that fuse and ran it a safe distance, then hooked it up to a battery,, do you think it would still good boom???:whistle::whistle::whistle:
Probably. There was an article about a renown relic hunter from Virginia about 4 years ago. This gentleman had been a relic hunter for about 30 years I believe the article read. Not only was he a hunter but he had Defused many armed CW artillery shells that still had the fuse and powder intact. He did this not only for himself but for others as well. He was standing in his driveway and was in the process of defusing a armed shell when something went terribly wrong. The shell he was working on detonated and exploded killing him instantly and sent a shell frag through a front door of a residence a half mile away. My guess was he was in the process of drilling through the shells fuse when it detonated. This gentleman had clearly done this before, but this particular time it went horribly wrong for both he and his family. I personally would not attempt this, but I wouldn't discard a shell neither. I would either try to find a reputable person to do this or store it in my barn away from the house. I would let a bomb squad detonate it, as long as I got to keep the frags from the shell.
 

homefire

Well-Known Member
#7
WoW! Detonated it. What a bunch of Goobers. There charged with BP and Water renders them Dead. All they had to do was water bath it and pick out the Fuse and flush it out. How Sorry.
 

KRose

Well-Known Member
#8
Most of the time the artillery shells are placed in a 5 gallon bucket of water before the drilling of the fuse begins. This gentleman in particular had done this countless times in the past according to the article. Something just went wrong this particular time. Artillery shells 150 years old, the black powder becomes very unstable somewhat like nitro if it has remained dry and encased in the shell. It doesn't take much to cook one off if you are not careful. That is why I personally would not attempt to defuse one.
 

KRose

Well-Known Member
#10
Brian, you're right in that some of the fuses were wooden. The 12 pounder Confederate shell I have was not armed when I found it in that it had a wooden fuse and it had deteriated some time ago. But some of the fuses were brass and the shells were still live and packed with black powder. It was these artillery shells that needed to be defused in order to make them safe.
 

Orosurf

Well-Known Member
#12
I saw the pirates find a cannonball today, I guess it was safe after 250 years in the sea. I was a little concerned to see them hitting it with a rock to dislodge it, but only because I was nearby ;)
 
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