Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Live 200 pound cannonball from 1759 found in Quebec City

July 7th, a construction crew working on a building site at the corner of Hamel and Couillard streets in Old Quebec, the historic center of Quebec City, Canada, unearthed a large cannonball from the French and Indian War.  A giant 200 pound cannonball.  With it's charge fully intact and possibly live.

The construction crew was delighted with their find.  After all, how often do you come across a big azz cannonball?  I'd like to have seen the gun that could hurl that thing up and into a city!

Serge Rouleau, called in by municipal authorities to examine the find, saw that the ball still held a charge. His examination determined that the cannonball was of British manufacture and was fired at the old city in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759, or in the siege preceding it.

This was a brutal weapon in the mid-18th century, and Quebec City was deluged with them during the Seven Years’ War when Britain fought and shot its way to taking control of much of French North America. The Battle of the Plains of Abraham was the culmination of three months of intensive bombings by British troops besieging the city of Quebec. From the their position at Lévis, just across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec, the British launched a near-constant barrage of deadly artillery fire starting on July 12th, 1759. Over the next three months, they would set the city alight with 40,000 solid iron cannonballs and 8,000 incendiary bombs. On September 13th, the British and French engaged in an infantry battle on a plateau outside the city knows as the plans of Abraham. It lasted less than hour. The British were victorious, chasing the French out of the city and ending the siege. The siege and battle took a massive toll on Quebec and its environs. The city and surrounding countryside were in smoldering ruins when the smoke from the plains of Abraham cleared.

The 258-year-old live cannonball has now been moved to a safe place where the munitions disposal experts will determine if it can be safely neutralized. If not, it will be detonated and destroyed.  If that has to happen, it out to be filmed and put on Youtube.
If it is salvageable, the cannonball will find a loving forever home at a local museum.


  1. Mortar shell, not a cannon ball, but I know that I'm splitting hairs at this point.

  2. That is interesting, lots of history in Quebec.