Alabama's Pivoting Blakely Gun
28 March 1995
The Alabama's Blakely gun recovered from the wreck on 29 June 1994, was found to be loaded. On 10 March 1995, the shell was defused by French explosives experts delegated by the Ministry of the Interior's "Protection Civile."The operation took place on the grounds of "Electricite de France" (EDF) in Cannes (France) where the cannon is undergoing conservation treatment in the EDF laboratories of "Archeolyse International". City, regional and national authorities were present, as well as Dr. Ulane Bonnel, President of the Association CSS Alabama and the Association's archaeologist, Captain Max Guerout, French Navy (retired).
Strict security measures were taken in case the shell, after 130 years in sea water, should still be live. The percussion-type fuse was in fact unscrewed and removed without difficulty, thanks to a tool made by the explosives experts for that purpose. The black powder was found to be perfectly dry, was recovered and will be analyzed. In two or three months an attempt will be made to extract the shell itself, hopefully intact.