Collection Grandfathers"arsenal"


Jun 20, 2019
My Grandparents lived in Harper's Ferry W.Va which was the scene of at least 3 Civil War battles and bombardments between 1861 and 1864. My Grandfather acquired bullets and live unexploded artillery shells from neighbors who had seen fragments lying around. and some he found himself. He lived there beginning in 1899. Shell Fragments and bullets would wash out after a heavy rain almost everywhere in town at that time.
He stored them in the basement of their home there. When I cleaned out the home after their deaths in 1967,, I found 2 unexploded ( probably duds) 10pound Parrot rifled rounds and at least 2 or more -12 pound ( fused) cannonballs. (One Parrott round was leaking black powder.) I suspect these larger artillery shells were picked the up by locals off the Antietam battlefield at Sharpsburg, Md which is only 17 mi. away just after the battle or could have been part of the Confederate bombardment of Harper's Ferry on September 15, 1862. I have a collection of Civil War bullets of various calibres/ types as well which he picked up off the ground- some disfigured from hitting objects.

Instead of calling ordinance experts then, we brought them home in our car. Not a good idea.
An ordinance team from Quantico, Va. was called, and immediately came to our house in Alexandria, took them and detonated them at the Marine ordinance range at Quantico.
We were lucky.


Aug 30, 2019
The South Shore of the Mighty Ohio
Yeah, you were probably lucky. On the other hand, I don’t think your story is out of the ordinary. Plenty of folks picked up dangerous artifacts from Civil War battlefields with little regard for safety. War is hell, but it makes for some cool souvenirs!