Construction workers at first thought they had unearthed an old wrecking ball. Then after a closer look, a historian called the police who in turned placed a call to Fort Stewart.
The site, at Trustees Garden near the river in the Georgia port city’s downtown area, yielded two large cast iron spheres in a three day period.
After a local historian working with the property owner took a look, he thought they could be a bomb of some sort and called in authorities. Then, after personnel arrived on scene from the Army’s 756th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, they thought at first it could be Confederate land mines before coming to the conclusion they were 11-inch shells. The first from an Dahlgren naval gun, the second a Schultzberg mortar shell.
The EOD personnel decided to blow the shells on site using small charges after they had been surrounded by dirt to contain the blast.
“Given its location and what’s going on, we felt the safest thing was to blow it up in place,” Army Capt. Jack Wagner told the Savannah Morning News.
It’s not the first time the military has come to Savannah to dispose of Civil War ordnance in recent years. Last November, as part of the recovery efforts to save the wreck of the Confederate ironclad gunboat CSS Georgia to make way for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging project in the harbor, contractors turned 170 live 9-inch Dahlgren and 6.4-inch Brooke projectiles into inert museum pieces.