CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – An item believed to be a historic ordnance was safely removed from Fort Sumter over the weekend.
The fort, now a popular tourist destination that sits on an island in the middle of Charleston Harbor, was closed on Saturday after the ordnance was discovered, according to officials with Fort Sumter National Historic Park.
“Out of an abundance of caution the fort was closed and the last tour boat of the day was cancelled,” said park officials.
Emergency service divisions were called to the fort and an intact Civil War-era cannonball was safely removed following a full investigation.
The cannonball was found by a visitor in the lower parade ground of the fort, according to Brett Spaulding, Chief of Interpretation for Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park.
Spaulding said only a very small portion of the cannonball was showing when it was discovered.
“To ensure the safety of visitors and staff alike all safety protocols are immediately initiated when discoveries of ordnance are made,” said Acting Superintendent Bill Reilly. “Historical artifacts are periodically found within National Parks and National Park Service staff are not trained to handle buried ordnance. In situations such as this, we work closely with our local partner agencies who have specialized training and equipment to safely identify and remove ordnance.”
Identification and removal of military ordnance is the responsibility of the Department of Defense, according to park officials. The United States Air Force took possession of the cannonball.
There was no damage to historic structures at the fort, and no injuries were reported.
The fort resumed normal operations on Sunday.