Durham Man Discovers Civil War Era Cannonball

Jul 8, 2013

This is believed to be a Civil War-era cannonball, similar to the one Michael Jacobs discovered in Durham recently.
Credit Travis S. via Flickr, creative commons

A Durham man who discovered a Civil War era cannonball in his yard had it detonated by a bomb squad this week.

Michael Jacobs took the cannonball to an antiques dealer. But, it ended up with a Durham bomb squad. They had to disarm it; in spite of its age, it could still explode.

John Guss is with the historic Bennett House in Durham. Guss says the area was a hotbed of Civil War activity in 1865:

"At the very end of the American Civil War, in March and April of 1865, there were roughly about 130,000 to 140,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were between Raleigh and Greensboro," Guss said. "The Confederate army was retreating towards Greensboro and the Federal army was coming into Raleigh."

Guss also says discoveries like Jacob's will be coming more frequently, because of current weather patterns.

"All the rain that we've had recently, and over the past several years. Things have been turning up, because obviously the erosion," Guss said. "Cannonballs, buttons, bullets, a variety of different military implements are being discovered by local residents."

He hopes artifacts like the cannonball Jacobs discovered end up at his museum, which is in the midst of celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.