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Bomb squad disposes of live Civil War cannonball found in Maryland

By MARY GRACE KELLER | The Frederick News-Post, Md. | Published: March 23, 2021

FREDERICK, Md. (Tribune News Service) — A bomb squad on Monday safely disposed of an unexploded Civil War-era cannonball a Jefferson resident received from a relative who recently found it near the Monocacy Battlefield, according to fire officials.

A team of bomb technicians from the Office of the State Fire Marshal disposed of the cannonball at Beaver Creek Quarry in Hagerstown, according to the fire marshal's office.

"The unexploded military ordnance was determined to be a live cannonball round used during the Civil War. Bomb technicians conducted diagnostics and determined the fusing mechanism was still intact," a statement reads.

The cannonball came into the possession of a homeowner on Glen Hill Court in Jefferson, who contacted the Office of the State Fire Marshal after another relative said the cannonball could be live. Bomb technicians took it to the quarry and determined the best decision was to conduct an "emergency disposal," per fire officials.

The fire marshal's office warned that these military devices pose the same threat today as they did 150-some years ago.

"If you should uncover or are unsure if an unidentified object may be military ordnance, be safe rather than sorry. Stay away and call 911," State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci said in a prepared statement. "Marylanders need to be mindful that military ordnance, even vintage artifacts from previous conflicts, have the potential to explode."

Finding ordnances like the cannonball is not uncommon in Maryland, the fire marshal's office said. Unexploded military devices in the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding waters reportedly make their way to the surface occasionally. Bomb technicians have conducted numerous emergency disposals over the years.

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