A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Live Civil War Shell Discovered at Pennsylvania Battlefield
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA—Live Science reports that archaeologist Steven Brann and his colleagues employed metal detectors to check a hill at Gettysburg National Military Park known as Little Round Top before beginning rehabilitation work to protect the battlefield landscape and add new signage for visitors. They subsequently discovered a live artillery shell under about two feet of earth. The shell, which would have been fired from a rifled cannon, measured about seven inches long and weighed about ten pounds, Brann said. It is not yet clear if it had been fired by Union or Confederate troops. Thousands of soldiers died over a period of 90 minutes on July 2, 1863, the second day of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg, as Union forces struggled to retain control of Little Round Top. Confederate General Longstreet eventually decided to go around the hill rather than take it. The shell was safely removed from the battlefield and detonated by members of the Army’s 55th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company. To read more about archaeological discoveries related to the American Civil War, go to "A Path to Freedom."
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