May 13, 2008

Guns > Holy Crap - 140+ Year Old Cannonball Kills Civil War Collector

CBS News - 140-Yr.-Old Cannonball Kills Civil War Fan:

Sam White got hooked on the U.S. Civil War early, digging up rusting bullets and military buttons in the battle-scarred earth of his hometown.

As an adult, he crisscrossed the Virginia countryside in search of wartime relics - 19-century weapons, battle flags, even artillery shells buried in the red clay. He sometimes put on diving gear to feel for treasures hidden in the black muck of river bottoms.

But in February, White's hobby cost him his life: A cannonball he was restoring exploded, killing him in his driveway.

More than 140 years after the end of the war the pitted the North against the South over slavery, the cannonball was still powerful enough to send a chunk of shrapnel through the front porch of a house a quarter-mile from White's home in the leafy Richmond suburb of Chester, Virginia.

White's death shook the close-knit fraternity of relic collectors and raised concerns about the dangers of other Civil War munitions that lay buried beneath old battlefields. Explosives experts said the fatal blast defied extraordinary odds.

Via The High Road, where folks note that ancient blackpowder firearms sometimes contain perfectly viable charges capable of killing a person. Respect firearms and follow the four rules even on seemingly historical weapons.

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