On Sunday, the day after Hurricane Matthew had roughed up the South Carolina coast, a beach walker checking for storm damage discovered a cluster of cannonballs on Folly Island, near Charleston, S.C. The 7-square-mile island had been a Union fort during the Civil War and a staging area for attacks on Confederate strongholds.
A U.S. Air Force Explosive Team was called in and after inspecting the munitions, detonated them. According to news reports, residents in the area reported hearing several explosions Sunday evening.
Folly Island has been the site of other Civil War discoveries including a mysterious one in 1987 when construction workers unearthed the remains of 14 soldiers belonging to the 55th Massachusetts regiment of the U.S. Colored Troops. The 55th was known to have occupied the island along with the Massachusetts 54th which was made famous by the 1989 movie “Glory.” It was from Morris Island, just north of Folly Island, that Col. Robert Gould Shaw led his regiment in the unsuccessful attempt to take Battery Wagner, often mistakenly called Fort Wagner, between July and September 1863.
What was odd about the bodies discovered on the island was that 12 of them didn’t have skulls and were also missing other body parts. And, more importantly, they showed no signs of battle injury, according to an account in an official history of Folly Island. What happened to these men was then and still is a mystery.
The soldiers were buried with full military honors in a national cemetery in Beaufort, S.C., two years later. The place where they were found on Folly Island is marked by a memorial stone placed in 2011.
This article was written by Linda Wheeler from The Washington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.