Monday, March 14, 2011

Unexploded Shell Found at Fort McAllister-- Part 1

From the January 20, 2011 Savannah (Ga) Morning News.

An unexploded Union Naval shell was recently found at Fort McAllister, Georgia. It was from the USS Patapsco, a monitor, lying 1,160 yards from the fort on the Ogeechee River in March 1863.

How and where the shell turned up is a bit of a mystery though, but that it was still "live" and capable of exploding is for sure.

A man using a metal detector claims that he found it a mile from the fort and decided to turn it in. You have to winder how a ship could miss its target by a mile. It is also possible that the guy was illegally metal detecting on fort property (which to me seems more likely). It was live because there were no holes in it and the fuse was intact.

The 200-pound Parrott (a cannon) rifled shot was deactivated by drilling two holes in it (I'm sure I wouldn't want to do that), flushing the powder out with water and removing the fuse.

If it was indeed found a mile from the fort, one historian thinks that maybe the Patapsco was just getting rid of excess ammunition (although I have to question whether ships did that). Also, the Parrot guns could be notoriously erratic when they fired (which seems more logical).

The shell will be restored and placed in the fort's collection for viewing.

A Piece of History. --Old B-Runner

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