FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The three massive guns of the doomed Confederate Cruiser CSS Peedee are now on display at the Florence County Veterans Center on National Cemetery Road. They were buried in the Pee Dee River for over 150 years before they were recovered by archaeologists from the University of South Carolina in 2015.
The cannons are the property of the U.S. Government. The Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation in Florence funded their recovery and conservation.
“These cannons are an important part of the complex and often tragic history of our County, State, and Country,” said County Administrator K.G. “Rusty” Smith. “Florence County hopes that by making them publicly accessible we will promote the study and understanding of that history.”
“These cannons help tell us about the dynamics of a conflict that defined the South more than any other event in our history,” said Ben Zeigler, President of the Florence County Historical Society, who help coordinate the protection of the guns and their recovery. “They were technological marvels created for a purpose that was never fulfilled and in a cause that will be remembered as fatally flawed by the injustice of chattel slavery.”
The press release said that the “cannons are not intended to serve as a memorial, but as a basis for reflection on the inherently complex nature of human conflict.”
“At the end of the day, war is about human sacrifice, and our Veterans Center is about serving the needs of those who have made great sacrifices in more contemporary conflicts,” Smith said.
A program will be held on a future date at the Florence County Veterans Affairs Center.