Civil War cannons to be restored in Lowcountry

VIDEO: Civil War cannons to be restored in Lowcountry

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - History is making its way to the Lowcountry as a group of University of South Carolina archaeologists bring three Civil War Cannons for restoration.

The cannons, weighing a combined 45,000 pounds, were raised from the bottom of the Great Pee Dee River, where they had spent the past 150 years.

The team of archaeologists used a modern excavator to lift the cannons that once sat atop a confederate warship, the CSS Pee Dee.

The ship was built at the Mars Bluff shipyards outside Florence during the Civil War, and was eventually burned and scuttled a few miles downstream to make sure it did not fall into Union Hands.

The cannons will be restored in Charleston before returning to Florence.

Tuesday's celebration was 20 years in the making, because it took that long from the time the old guns were discovered to the time they were brought out of the water.

"First cannon was fall of 95, next cannon almost 11 years to the day in '06, Bob Butler said. "Third cannon was two years ago and that was joint effort. We had marked it, and never could get to it."

One of those cannons spent almost 150 years hiding in plain sight, where it became stuck upright in the mud and would actually stick out in low water. For decades, archaeologists say people living along the river thought it was an exposed pipe, unaware it was an armed cannon.

When those war cannon make it to the Lowcountry, they will be kept in the same place as the Hunley. Earlier this month, scientists preserving the submarine revealed what they call the "skin" of the vessel. It now looks like it did when the Confederate submarine and its eight-man crew sank a union blockade ship just outside Charleston harbor in 1864.

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