Civil War cannonball believed to have been shot by Union soldiers is found inside a diseased 100-year-old tree after it’s cut down in Missouri
- A civil war-era canon ball was found inside a diseased, 100-foot walnut tree in Independence, Missouri while it was being cut down
- The tree stood outside the Overfelt-Johnston House, which was used during the war and is across the street from the First Battle of Independence in 1862
- Fourteen people were killed and 18 wounded in a fight between 800 mounted Confederates who overpowered 350 Union soldiers
- Canon balls also were fired into the historic house, which was built around 1850 by flour miller John A. Overfelt, says its current owner, Randall Pratt
A Civil War-era cannonball was found lodged inside a diseased, 100-year-old walnut tree when it was cut down outside a historic house in Missouri, providing evidence of a battle lost by Union soldiers to the Confederate Army.
The handball-sized cannonball emerged when Jeff’s Tree Service was called in to bring down the sickly tree on the grounds of the Overfelt-Johnston House in Independence.
Jeff Eastham, who runs the service, was splitting logs from the tree when he stumbled on the cannonball.
The cannonball emerged when Jeff’s Tree Service was called in to bring down the sickly tree (above) on the grounds of the Overfelt-Johnston House in Independence, Missouri
Jeff Eastham (above), who runs Jeff’s Tree Service, was splitting logs from the tree when he stumbled on the cannonball
The cannonball (above) is believed to have been among those fired off by Union soldiers before becoming overpowered by mounted Confederates in the First Battle of Independence of 1862
‘I had no idea this was in there. You couldn’t see it — you couldn’t see a hole in the log,’ Eastham told Fox 4 on Friday.
‘I was like, are you kidding me?’ he added.
The home had been used as a hospital during the war and is across the street from the First Battle of Independence of 1862.
During the deadly skirmish, 14 people died and 18 were wounded in a fight between 800 mounted Confederates who overpowered 350 Union soldiers form the town’s federal garrison.
The Union soldiers were able to fire off a few cannonballs before the battle was lost, says local history buff Randall Pratt, who also is the current owner of the Overfelt-Johnston House.
‘It’s thrilling,’ Pratt tells Fox 4 while holding the newfound cannon ball.
It was not a live ordnance and did not have to be turned over to local historical officials, says Pratt, who planned to keep the cannonball.
Randall Pratt (above) says of the discovery of a handball-sized cannonball inside the tree cut down outside Overfelt-Johnston House was not the first. Another cannonball had been found lodged in the wall of the historic building years earlier
‘It’s thrilling,’ says Pratt of the discovery, while holding the cannon ball (above)
‘It’s important to find these souvenirs, these novelties from the past, these tragic reminders of what the cost of war and conflict really is,’ said Pratt.
Hand-forged iron chains also were discovered inside the tree. Other cannonballs have also been found on the property, including one that was discovered lodged in the wall of the historic home years earlier.
Pratt explained the cannonball was shot in through a window on the second floor of the house, and is now in the Jackson County Historical Museum.