Man finds Civil War cannonball

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 17, 2000

A Natchez resident found a relic from the Civil War era along the Mississippi River Saturday. Butch Johnson was at Anna’s Bottom when he saw a cannonball on the riverbank.

&uot;The water was down so low,&uot; said Johnson, who brought the cannonball into Natchez. &uot;It was quite heavy — about the size of a bowling ball.&uot;

On Monday, Johnson called the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, who suggested he call the Camp Shelby ordinance team.

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The team destroyed the cannonball Monday at the county’s firing range on Foster Mound Road.

&uot;It was pretty interesting,&uot; Johnson said. It was one of those things you &uot;don’t know what to do with.&uot;

Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell said this type of cannonball was called a &uot;fused&uot; cannonball because it had an explosive charge inside instead of being solid.

When the ordinance team exploded the ball, steel balls larger than a grape exploded from inside the ball into the gully, Johnson said.

It is standard practice for the ordinance team to destroy old war shells.

&uot;Normally when they encounter those things, they try to destroy them so there won’t be any problem,&uot; Ferrell said.

&uot;They just don’t mess around with old ordinances like that.&uot;

Ferrell described the find as rare but not totally uncommon and remembered one case in which someone found a cannonball in their attic.

When these types of things are found, it is best to destroy them, Ferrell said.

&uot;Old ordinances like that cannot be used as souvenirs,&uot; Ferrell said. &uot;It’s too unstable.&uot;