There are dozens of new “cannons recovered from swamp/river” stories every month, but this one is far more interesting and involved than most of the local news reports. Not only do you get a behind the scenes look at the preservation efforts, but you get a good deal of history – it was news to me that the Confederate foundries were churning out materiel in the last year of the war.
The cannons, recovered in 2015, were restored and preserved in a four-year effort by the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston. They will be placed on exhibit outside the Veterans Affairs building in Florence at a date yet to be announced.
The ship might have been one of the South’s greatest weapons had it ever seen action. But it was finished in the desperate days of the Confederacy as the war drew to a close. While the Pee Dee likely never saw action, its guns had been powdered and primed. Conservators knew this because when they turned the key on a brass fuse it fizzed like a soda.