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Live Civil War Artillery Shell Found And Removed

Petersburg National Battlefield

National Park News

On March 24th, a visitor to the battlefield reported finding an object resembling a cannonball and led park staff to the location, where they determined that the object was a Civil War artillery shell. The park implemented its unexploded ordnance policy and contacted the Virginia State Police bomb squad. They removed the round to a remote area outside the park and rendered it safe. The shell will be placed in the park museum collection and information about its location will be documented for further research. Specifics on the location have been withheld from the public to deter relic hunters. The park curator identified the ordnance as a Confederate twelve-pounder shell, possibly a Napoleon round, the most commonly used artillery projectile during the Civil War. It also could have been fired from a twelve-pounder howitzer. Both smoothbore cannon could fire this round, filled with black powder, as far as three quarters of a mile. The shell should have exploded before hitting the ground. This ordnance was discovered almost a year to the day from when the last artillery round, an eight-inch mortar shell, was found in the park.



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