Thursday, February 6, 2020

Artillery shell found by electrical workers in downtown Charleston building likely not from the Civil War, experts say

Artillery round awaits removal in parking lot. (Charleston Police)
[Updated Feb. 6]

It appears an artillery shell found in the basement of a Charleston, S.C., building may not be from the Civil War after all.

Roads were closed for a few hours Wednesday after workers found the round at an empty building on Gillon Street, Charleston police tweeted. A U.S. Air Force explosive ordnance disposal team (EOD) took custody of it. In most such cases, a shell is then destroyed.

Initially, police tweeted the shell was postwar, but a second tweet in the afternoon indicated it was determined to be from the Civil War.

The facility manager at the nearby Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon told the Post and Courier that the ordnance looked like an 8-inch round for a Civil War Parrott gun.

But Tony Youmans told the Picket on Thursday he later asked a retired historian at Fort Sumter about it. In turn, an artillery expert in the area weighed in.

"It turns out that the round is definitely post- American Civil War, either Spanish-American, WWI or WWII," Youmans said. "They believe WWI most likely. For reference, we do have an 8-inch Union Parrott round on display."

Jack Melton, who publishes the Civil War News and the Artilleryman magazine, told the Picket that while he couldn't immediately identify it, he believes the round is from World War I or later.

The Charleston newspaper said electrical workers found the shell in the corner of the basement and one carried it out to the parking lot, where they decided to call police.

“To me, what’s really scary is the fuse is in place, Youmans told the Post and Courier. 

The Picket reached out to Charleston police for comment.

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