“It could have easily killed someone or multiple people if mishandled.” That’s what Oliver Alkire, a deputy state fire marshal in Maryland, had to say about a piece of unexploded Civil War-era ordnance discovered in Frederick County, CNN reports. A resident got in touch with state authorities after receiving the cannonball from a relative, who found it near the Monocacy Battlefield, where Union and Confederate forces fought more than 150 years ago, per the Herald-Mail. The cannonball had reportedly been at the person’s house for several months. Technicians on Monday determined that the cannonball's fusing mechanism was still intact and moved it to a quarry, where they safely detonated it, according to reports.
“The finding of military ordnance from the Civil War is not uncommon in Maryland, and these devices pose the same threat as the day they were initially manufactured,” the state’s fire marshal’s office said in a statement. During the Battle of Monocacy, the Union fought to prevent the Confederate takeover of Washington DC, according to the National Park Service. The Confederates won the battle, which was fought on July 9, 1864, but the Union was successful in its efforts to delay the Confederate advance on the Capitol, providing time for Union reinforcements to arrive in DC, which is why Monocacy is known as the Battle that Saved Washington. (Read more Civil War stories.)