ATLANTA (AP) — A day after workers unearthed an apparent cannonball from a downtown Atlanta construction site, an expert on the American Civil War said there are at least two possible scenarios for how it got there.
The battered round ball was found Thursday near Centennial Olympic Park. Police, concerned about public safety, blew it up and are unsure of its history.
One likely theory: It was a cannonball that was among an estimated 100,000 shells fired into Atlanta by the Union Army while the city was under siege in the summer of 1864.
Gordon Jones, the Atlanta History Center’s senior military historian and curator, said it could have been fired by federal soldiers from outside the city in an effort to strike the Confederate’s Railroad Roundhouse, a key military target in the general area where the device was found.
The area where the cannonball was found, which now contains the Georgia Dome and CNN Center, was inside the Confederate defense line before Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s Union forces finally invaded the city and burned much of it.
“The Railroad Roundhouse was right there in the area of Centennial Olympic Park, so it really could have been that this thing was fired at the Round House,” Jones said. “That would strike me as the most likely big target.”