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story of trapdoors

Posted by Fred on Thursday, 20 May 2010, at 10:08 a.m.

Stephen, here's a story for you from 1st hand knowledge. While working for the MO Dept. of Natural Resources in Jefferson City back around 1992, I was tasked with going out to Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis to discuss some things with the Army C.O.E. regarding some issues dealing with an Historic Preservation matter. While there, I brought up the subject of a scuba diver who had called my office to report the existence of dozens or hundreds of old artillery cannons and caisons that had been observed by a diver just weeks before while he was in the Mississippi River just off of the old barracks. The siver had asked if there was any law that prevented anyone from salvaging any of the cannons. I'd told the diver that as far as I knew, The issue would probably have to be taken up with the Army C.O.E as per what I was told by my boss. The major with whom I was speaking then told me that the cannons bhad been dumped into the river at that lacation to form a breakwater within the river. The diver had reported seeing old bronze cannon, WW I cannon, Civil War canon and others that were just all piled together in one long mass. The Major confirmed this and said tha one been dumped into the river while he was working there but that it hadn't been put with the others. He said that a constructioncrew had been involved with renovating an old building and had opened up the cellar of a bricked in basement and discovered an old horse drawn ambulance and an old cannon inside. The ambulance was brought out and put aside for renovation for a future historical display, but the cannon was run out onto a dock and dumped off of the end into the river. He then brought out a topo map of the area and pointing to an area above the rifle, said that within the natural sinkholes that were depicted on the map, there had been several old trucks filled with old army rifles and equipt. that'd been driven into the sink holes and had dirt pushed over them. Upon my questioning, the Major stated that the old rifles were the singel shot type with the flip open breech. they also buried some other types that seemed to include bolt actioned rifles and Garands. Why in the world would the Govt. get rid of Garands that way? Beats the heck out of me. I guess that it was easier to do that than to find another way that would involve paper work. Probably donw by the orders of some officer who wanted to avoid complications. I've seenit happen before and have done so myself when my tank company would return from live fire and upon nearing the back gate of the contonement area which was in the desert at Ft. Irwin, CA, I would collect all of the unexpended belts of .30 and .50 ammo and take it to one of the many old creosote bushes aroung there and pile it all up and set fire to it. There'd be many thousands of rounds of belted ammo that I'd just dump out of the boxes. I'd keep the boxes however. It was easier to do this than to go through the long process of turning the ammo back into the arms room and having it counted while you stood there. We all wanted a hot shower and a chance to get out of our dirty clothing and into someting clean and get a cold beer after ten days of living in our sweaty cloths. Constantly training other units in desert warfare all year, we usually spent about 3 1/2 weeks per month in the field all year anyway and took any advantage that we could find to get clean. Back to the 45-70's buried under the ground in those trucks, I adked about digging them back up again for salvaging them as historic items and was told that they were still owned by the Army and that they'd likely just remain there. There MUST be a way to cut though the crap and get them out of the ground. I wish I were the President for a month. I'd have it done!


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