Civil War Relics
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Here are just a few of the items I've dug since I started metal detecting. Everything on this page was found at various Civil War sites I hunt in Fauquier County Virginia.
Below are three of my favorite finds. They are cartridge box plates. A cartridge box was a leather bag that the soldiers carried their ammunition in. A cartridge "box plate" was attached to the flap for decoration and it's weight along with a brass finial helped keep the flap closed. Box plates were made by taking a stamped brass face and filling the back with lead and inserting attachment loops into the molten lead.
The plate on the far left is the first one I found. It has the makers mark W. H. Smith / Brooklyn stamped into the lead in the back. I dug the second and third plate on consecutive hunting trips. I dug a flower button with the second plate and a CS Staff button with the third plate. 2 buttons and 2 plates in 2 hunting trips. Gotta love those 2s.
Here is a scan of the second plate I found after I cleaned it up. It turned out pretty nice.
Here are some finds from the night of March 30, 2000. This stuff was in addition to plate #2. The end of a spoon, 2 piece "flower" button, a flat button, cartridge box finial, accouterment buckle from a 2 piece sword belt, a thimble and a couple of fired and dropped bullets. The bullet on the left appears to have had it's cavity filled with melted lead.
I've had a few buckles turn up at the end of my shovel.. I've found all types at quite a few different sites. I need to get a buckle book and see how many of these I can identify. Not all of these are from the Civil War, but they were all found at Civil War sites. Mostly equine harness buckles, there are a couple of buckles which were probably worn by humans.
A sign you might be digging in a camp. Harmonica reeds! These are made of brass. Pewter reeds are occasionally found.
Another camp item. A solid silver thimble. I've found three thimbles since I started detecting and this is the first one made of silver. Other than being bent, it is in remarkably good shape.
Soldier's silver. This Half Dime was found in a field at a primairily Confederate site I hunt here in Fauquier County. This site is about 10 miles from Manassas and saw troops from both sides during the war. These coins are very small and were quickly and easily lost which explains it's good condition. Also shown on my coins page, I put it here because this is representation of the pocket change carried by soldiers during the war.
This picture shows a period suspender buckle, a J hook with it's button next to it. The last item in the top row is a kepi buckle. The item on the left in the second row is a Cartridge Box rivet with pieces of leather still attached. Next to it are two brass haversack or saber belt rivets. The piece of rubber was found at the second trench line surrounding Richmond Virginia. It has two rivets identical to the one with the leather attached. The use of this piece remains a mystery. If anyone has any ideas what this was used for, please send me an email.
Here is a Union bayonet scabbard tip made of sheet brass. It is bent and missing it's solid brass tip but I still like it. Also shown is a piece of pewter harmonica reed. There's a broken piece of a brass rivet, and a brass grommet which was part of a tent or poncho. One of my favorite finds is a small, almost insignificant piece of brass. It is the letter 'T' from a set of movable type. These were inserted and held in a device that allowed the stamping of soldiers names and units onto their personal items.
Here are some plain rosettes I've found. A rosette was a decorative piece attached to the harness of a horse. All the large ones were found at a Confederate Field Hospital. The small one was found at a 1700's farm behind my house. I've never seen these types of rosette in any books so I'm inclined to believe they are not from the Civil War era.
Half of a US Watering bit. These were used when the horse was at rest. It was a specified part of the trooper's gear. The buckle is the cinch buckle from a US McClellan saddle.Used to secure the saddle to the horse. The small oval piece is a guard plate from a US McClellan saddle. It was one of two attached to the rear rim of the saddle. Leather tie downs passed through the opening and were used to secure the blanket roll to the back of the saddle
This is an iron stirrup from a Confederate copy of the McClellan saddle.
A silvered harness buckle. Commonly found at Confederate sites according to my reference books. This one was indeed found at a Confederate site. If you look closely, towards the top on the left side of the buckle, you can see a small fleck of visible silver. I'm not sure if there is more silver left under the dirt and crud but I'm not cleaning it any more.
A bridal rosette. It is solid cast and silvered. The wire on the back was soldered on after it was manufactured allowing it to be held in place on the harness. This rosette was found at a Confederate site and may have association with Texas or Mississippi cavalry troops.
A buckle used on the shoulder slings of pre-war haversacks.
A Cape clasp. Sometimes adorned with buttons or pins, it was used to keep a cloak around one's neck. Probably CS due to it's proximity to other CS relics found at the site. It was dug near the stirrup and buckle shown above.
A close up of the kepi buckle pictured above. Probably Confederate due to it's crude manufacture and the fact that it was dug at a CS site. It is made of stamped brass and is much lighter than other kepi buckles I've seen.
A nosecap of solid brass. It was used on rifles to hold the fore stock wood to the barrel. This one appears to have come loose a time or two and was drilled and screwed to the gun, apparently unsuccessfully. This was found in a Union Infantry camp. I'm not sure what type of rifle it came off of but it is definately the nosecap from a rifle.
A brass thimble from the end of a muzzle loading shotgun ramrod.
Here are three types of items worn on the soldier's boots and shoes. The piece with the heart is a lead backed heel plate. It was found at a Confederate field hospital about 10' from the stirrup seen above. The second piece in the first picture is a toe plate or toe tap. It was found at a Union cavalry camp on a friend's farm in Calverton, Va. The second picture is of an iron heelplate with a piece of leather heel still attached. It was found at a CS site in Catlett, Va.
Winter and other projects have put my relic hunting on hold for now but as warmer weather arrives I'll hopefully be adding more good relics to my collection and pictures to this page so check back often and Thankyou for visiting.