Bomb Squad Detonates Live Civil War Cannonball Found in Maryland

A team of bomb technicians from the State Fire Marshal safely disposed of a Civil War-era ordnance after it was discovered by a Frederick County homeowner.

A bomb squad safely deactivated a live Civil War-era piece of ammunition after it was discovered in Maryland last week, CBS Baltimore reported.

A homeowner contacted the Maryland State Fire Marshal after being given what seemed to be an unexploded cannonball that a family member found near the Appomattox Battlefield in Frederick, about 50 miles west of Baltimore.

"They've maintained custody of it in their family over generations," said Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Duane Svites.

Finding an unexploded cannonball from the 1860s "is a pretty routine thing for the state of Maryland," because Maryland was the site of some of the Civil War's fiercest battles.

"If we could have determined it was empty, we would graciously give it back to the family," Svites said.

Bomb technicians moved the cannonball to Beaver Creek Quarry in Hagerstown, where they conducted "an emergency disposal," according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal.

Officials confirmed the explosive was live and powerful enough to have caused significant damage, according to a Facebook post. Despite losing a family heirloom, officials said turning in the cannonball was the best course of action. 

"In this instance, the family called the right people and it flowed nicely to make sure that everybody's safe," Svites said.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal warned these devices pose the same threat as the day they were initially manufactured.