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Thread: Virginia man killed in Civil War cannonball blast

  1. #1
    Regular Member Flintlock's Avatar
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    A bit off-topic but bizarre and sad..



    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,353998,00.html
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  2. #2
    Newbie W.E.G.'s Avatar
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    note to self: do not dremel cannoball

    "Biemeck and Peter George, co-author of a book on Civil War ordnance, believe White was using either a drill or a grinder attached to a drill to remove grit from the cannonball, causing a shower of sparks.
    Because of the fuse design, it may have appeared as though the weapon's powder had already been removed, leading even a veteran like White to conclude mistakenly that the ball was inert."



  3. #3
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    I read about that when it happened. Quite sad for his wife and family.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    After White's death, about two dozen homes were evacuated for two days while explosives experts collected pieces from his collection and detonated them.
    Get out of your house. For your safety.

  5. #5
    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    I recall hearing a story from many years ago about a guy who had two large cannonballs (acutally seige mortar rounds) from the Civil War. He had them on each side of his fireplace. They used to get pretty hot, but he assumed they were just solid cast iron. Some relic hunter saw them and nearly freaked out when he saw they still had intact fuses. If I recall correctly some authorities came in, removed them for him and detonated them. Both went off with a thunderous roar. As long as black powder remains dry, it remains very stable (unlike smokeless powder), and probably could detonate 1000 years later if messed around with.

    Poor guy. You just can't be too careful around those things. The article said someone 1/4 mile away had shrapnel in his porch!

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    I once burned smokeless powder that had been at the bottom of the sea for over 70 years after letting it dry, and it lit right up. Even if powder gets wet, it is still dangerous once it's dry. When I was at MCAS Cherry Point, NC, in the early 1990s, we were warned that there was unexploded civil war munitions in the nearby woods.

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Tomahawk wrote:
    I once burned smokeless powder that had been at the bottom of the sea for over 70 years after letting it dry, and it lit right up. Even if powder gets wet, it is still dangerous once it's dry. When I was at MCAS Cherry Point, NC, in the early 1990s, we were warned that there was unexploded civil war munitions in the nearby woods.
    You guys are correct for smokeless powder, but black powder does not survive getting wet very often. Principally this is because smokeless powder is a true chemical compounding, whereas black powder is a simple mechanical mixture. Both the salt peter and the sulphur can be separated out by moisture. But if the black powder is kept in an enclosed space like a cannon ball, the components do not wash away, and when it dries out it might still produce an exciting reaction when you add a little heat.

    Better living through chemistry:celebrate

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    Hawkflyer wrote:
    Tomahawk wrote:
    I once burned smokeless powder that had been at the bottom of the sea for over 70 years after letting it dry, and it lit right up. Even if powder gets wet, it is still dangerous once it's dry. When I was at MCAS Cherry Point, NC, in the early 1990s, we were warned that there was unexploded civil war munitions in the nearby woods.
    You guys are correct for smokeless powder, but black powder does not survive getting wet very often. Principally this is because smokeless powder is a true chemical compounding, whereas black powder is a simple mechanical mixture. Both the salt peter and the sulphur can be separated out by moisture. But if the black powder is kept in an enclosed space like a cannon ball, the components do not wash away, and when it dries out it might still produce an exciting reaction when you add a little heat.

    Better living through chemistry:celebrate

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  9. #9
    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Citizen wrote:
    [b]
    HOLY SMOKE!!

    WELCOME BACK!!
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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    W.E.G. wrote:
    note to self: do not dremel cannoball

    "Biemeck and Peter George, co-author of a book on Civil War ordnance, believe White was using either a drill or a grinder attached to a drill to remove grit from the cannonball, causing a shower of sparks.
    Because of the fuse design, it may have appeared as though the weapon's powder had already been removed, leading even a veteran like White to conclude mistakenly that the ball was inert."

    It doesn't make a bit of difference guys, the balls are inert!

  11. #11
    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    G9M&P15 wrote:
    W.E.G. wrote:
    note to self: do not dremel cannoball

    "Biemeck and Peter George, co-author of a book on Civil War ordnance, believe White was using either a drill or a grinder attached to a drill to remove grit from the cannonball, causing a shower of sparks.
    Because of the fuse design, it may have appeared as though the weapon's powder had already been removed, leading even a veteran like White to conclude mistakenly that the ball was inert."

    It doesn't make a bit of difference guys, the balls are inert!
    Yeah but no one told the fuse that it was.
    Bitka Sve Rešava!
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  12. #12
    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    G9M&P15 wrote:
    ... SNIP
    It doesn't make a bit of difference guys, the balls are inert!
    Speak for yourself!
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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