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Workers Discover Cannonball in GA

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Officials say construction workers at the College Football Hall of Fame project in downtown Atlanta dug up a live cannonball, believed to be from the Civil War, on Thursday (July 18).

Atlanta cannonball
Atlanta Police Department

A live cannonball, thought to be from the Civil War, was discovered by construction crews working on the new College Football Hall of Fame near Centennial Olympic Park, in Atlanta.

The area, owned by the Georgia World Congress Center, currently contains the Georgia Dome and CNN Center, but during the Civil War was inside the Confederate defense line before Maj. Gen. Wiliam T. Sherman's Union forces invaded the city.

Live and Unidentified

"We did uncover an artifact and it has been removed from our property. It has not been identified or dated," the GWCC said via Twitter.

The surrounding area was temporarily closed to traffic until authorities could remove it in a total containment vessel and detonate it, local NBC affiliate WXIA-TV reported.

An Atlanta police spokesman said their technicians believe the device could be from the Civil War era, but the exact age and nature of the device couldn't be confirmed without a more detailed investigation.

"However, the device was treated as unexploded ordnance and taken to a safe location for detonation," John Chafee, Atlanta police spokesman, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Theories Emerge

On Friday (July 19), an expert on the American Civil War said there are two possible scenarios for how the cannonball came to rest in downtown Atlanta, the Associated Press reported.

College Football Hall of Fame

While it hasn't been officially confirmed, experts are pretty sure that the cannonball is from the Civil War and was possibly fired into the city of Atlanta when it was under siege in 1864.

One theory is that the cannonball was one of an estimated 100,000 fired by the Union Army into the city when it was under siege in 1864. The other scenario is that the cannonball could have been fired by federal soldiers from outside the city in an attempt to strike the Confederate's Railroad Roundhouse, a key military target.

The area between the Roundhouse and the passenger depot was considered the “central part of the city,” according to Gordon Jones, Atlanta History Center’s senior military historian and curator.
“Those [areas were] the juiciest military targets,” Jones added

Hall of Fame Construction

Slated for completion in the fall of 2014, the College Football Hall of Fame is a 94,256-square-foot, $66.5 million facility that will include a 45-yard indoor football field and 30,000 square feet of exhibit space.


Tagged categories: Construction; Health and safety; Maintenance + Renovation; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/22/2013, 3:17 PM)

"Live" cannonball? I'm pretty sure that it's just solid metal, not full of explosive.

Comment from M. Halliwell, (8/25/2013, 9:12 PM)

Probably...likely just a sprue on the front, not a fuse plug....but if they think it is Civil War vintage, they were also using shells. Better to treat it as if it were a live shell, then assume it is solid shot and have it accidently detonate.

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