Three South Carolina cannons more than 150 years old were unearthed on Tuesday by a team of underwater archaeologists that have sought to shed some light upon local and national Civil War history through the Pee Dee Research and Recovery Team.
The cannons, each of which weighs between 9,000-15,000 pounds, were found near Florence, South Carolina, in the Pee Dee River, according to ABC News
. Two of the cannons were Confederate Brook Rifle cannons, and the third one proved to be a captured Union Dahlgren cannon. All three of the weapons had been used during Union General William T. Sherman’s 1865 march through North and South Carolina.
“We brought a little bit of South Carolina history to the surface today,” said diver Bob Butler, according to The State.
“This closed the book on a lot of history. It's really special."
The Confederate soldiers tossed the cannons off of the CSS Pee Dee when General Sherman’s troops advanced from the burning of Columbia because the Confederacy feared the weapons’ capture, according to The State.
When parts of the CSS Pee Dee were discovered in 2010, the team of archaeologists from South Carolina was spurred onwards towards discovering the elusive cannons.
“There is quite a depth to this that people don't understand. It's three state-of-the-art artillery pieces that were attached to a ship with a global history. A lot of South Carolinians know their history,” said state archaeologist Jon Leader, according to ABC News. “Where most people see a cannon, what we see is the tip of an iceberg.”
The three cannons are set to be sent to a conservation lab for a few years before eventually being displayed at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs building in Florence, according to CNN.
The three Confederate cannons "will help raise questions about the Civil War," said Steve Smith, director of USC’s Institute of Archeology and Anthropology. “And then they will start to ask questions. It's an important day.”
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