Hurricane Matthew Unearthed These Hidden Civil War Cannonballs In South Carolina


Tom Hale


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist


A photograph of the cannonballs discovered on Folly Beach over the weekend. Charleston County Sheriff Office via @ChasCoSheriff/Twitter

The damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful storm to hit US soil in a decade, has been nothing short of devastating in areas across Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and the southeastern US.

It has, however, also revealed some long-lost treasures from the past.


The extreme weather has helped shift the sands around Folly Island in South Carolina to reveal a surprising discovery: a handful of cannonballs. Charleston County Sheriff (CCS) office has said that the cannonballs are likely to date back to the American Civil War.

On Sunday, the CCS said they dispatched the US Air Force Explosive Team to investigate the civil war relics and eventually decided to move them to the nearby Naval base for destruction.

The Folly Island is a musket shot away from Fort Wagner. This Confederate fortress became a hotly contested stronghold against Union forces, who attempted to storm the fort twice in one month in July 1863. These scuffles became known as the First and Second Battle of Fort Wagner. A few hundred meters up the coast is Fort Sumter, a notable sea fort where the first shots of the civil war were thought to be fired in 1861.

The 16 cannonballs were found by former Folly Beach mayor Richard Beck while walking on the beach. "One of the officers [at the CCS office] was a Civil War re-enactor, and so he knew pretty quickly that they were cannonballs," he told Live5News


The complete story may remain a mystery, but it wouldn’t be a wild assumption to say these cannonballs probably had something to do with battles at these historically significant forts.


Fort Wagner, near to where the cannonballs were found


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