Hurricane Matthew may have unearthed ordnance dating to the Civil War in South Carolina, perhaps leaving a bit of history in the storm's wake, according to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.
The city of Folly Beach near Charleston said on its Facebook page that 16 cannon balls were uncovered. The ordnance was detonated later in the evening, and the parts will be taken to the Navy base to be examined.
John and Judy Manzi, who have a home on Little Oak Island on the other side of Folly, went on to the beach Sunday and said a friend uncovered the Civil War-era shells.
“There was a gun emplacement there during the Civil War and this must have been a stack because they were all consolidated together,” he said.
Both exploding shells and non-exploding cannonballs were used in the Civil War.
High tide prevented officials from recovering the cannonballs initially, according to WTOC-TV. An Air Force Explosive Ordnance Team and the Folly Beach Fire Department are helping the sheriff’s office investigate, the station reported.
Folly Beach Island is no stranger to pirates, shipwrecks, the Civil War – or hurricanes, according to the city's website. The island was occupied by 13.000 federal troops in 1863 during the Civil War, and soldiers built roads, forts and an artillery battery, according to the city.
The island served as a strategic base for the Union battle to take Fort Wagner, which guarded Charleston harbor from the neighboring Morris Island. In 1987, construction workers found 14 bodies at the west end of the beach that were determined to be members of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, popularized in the movie Glory.