Category: Civil War Bullets

I got out for a couple of short hunts today.

This morning I met my buddy LEROY247 for a brief field hunt on an old homestead and Civil War skirmish site.  We were both hoping to find a little bit of old silver … but it was not to be.  We each found a couple of flat buttons, though.  You can see in the pic below that my big one still has some gilt on it!  It is marked “Silvester Birmingham.”  I did a little online research and found that there was, indeed a gentleman named Silvester who owned a button company in Birmingham, England, which he sold around 1850 to emigrate to Australia.  The other is a tiny oval-shaped button, evidently from a ladies’ garment.  It was very difficult to locate.

My coolest find this morning was the fired pistol ball (not sure of the caliber).  I also found a knapsack rivet, a brass spoon bowl, and a couple of pieces of buckshot.

This afternoon I returned to the church site where I’ve been digging the last few afternoons.  I dug 13 coins total, including three wheat pennies and a 1943-P War Nickel … MY 150TH SILVER COIN!!!

It was an awesome detecting day!

12.17.12 Finds

Western Kentucky Digger invited me out to hunt with him at a Civil War skirmish site / old home site. Actually, there are multiple old home sites in these fields.

Anyhow, before I tell too much … here’s Kentucky Diggin’ – Episode 11!

I dug some flat buttons, a rivet, a piece off of a toe plate, some small pieces of flattened lead, and various other whatzits.

But the BIG war find for me was this 20mm Union Eagle Button! A first for me! Any info would be most appreciated …

Here’s a picture of the flat buttons and other stuff. I found one other “item,” but I’m saving that for another post.

Thanks for looking!

I spent six hours today hunting this house.

It is the Futrell House Bed and Breakfast, located on historic Main Street in Cadiz, Kentucky. The owner is a friend of mine, Gary Polete.

The house was built sometime in the 1870’s by a town physician. His twin brother, also a doctor, owned the house next door (to the left). I went there today with high expectations of silver … but it was not to be.…/separator.gif
I managed to scrape 4 Wheat Pennies out of the ground – 1914, 1920, 1929, & 1958-D (a crying shame that 1914 didn’t have a “D” on it ), along with 15 other Lincoln memorials and two clad dimes (a grand total of 35 cents clad).

I was starting to think that the place has been hunted before, but as the day progressed and I began to find the Wheats, I started to wonder.

Then the cool relics started to appear.

First was this flat button. It still has green gilt over half the front. It measures 19 mm and reads, “EXTRA RICH GILT” on the back. It’s my first-ever flat button. I did the happy dance.

Then about an hour later I dug this button. I almost had an out-of-body experience. It is a 22mm uniform button with the state crest of Ohio on it. How did it come to be in this front yard? I have not a clue. I’m not quite sure of the period it came from, or what kind of uniform. I’ll post it in the identification section.

Then about a half-hour before dark I dug this little baby. It is an oxidized slug, single-groove, 9mm in diameter and 14mm in length. I’ve never seen one so small before.

SO, not a lot of coins, but plenty of awesome stuff. Enough to make me go back. I still have lots of yard to hit there. And Gary introduced me to the neighbors who own the other old doctor’s house. They gave me permission to hunt their property, too.

Here’s a picture of all my finds, including a copper-ish “whatsit.” Thanks for reading.


I’ve been doing some research on Civil War activity in my county. It’s hard to believe that there was so little, since I live in a Kentucky county that borders Tennessee and Forts Henry and Donelson are just a few miles to the southwest.
However, I have discovered information on a brief battle/skirmish that occurred along the Cumberland River at a village called Canton. In the days of the Civil War, Canton was something of a boom-town because of its port on the Cumberland. Here is a map with a couple of key locations:

The battle took place on or around November 20, 1861. It involved troops led by Nathan Bedford Forrest who engaged a sidewheel “timberclad” gunboat, theUSS Conestoga, which was involved in many battles and skirmishes along the rivers of the south. Here is a picture of the ship.

Kentucky Historical Marker #619, located on the side of Nwy. 68 in canton, reads, “CSA General Nathan Bedford Forrest with 6 cavalry companies joined Gen. Charles Clark, Nov. 15, 1861, at Hopkinsville. On reconnaissance learned of USA gunboat Conestoga’s intent to destroy CSA supplies at Canton. They met here November 20 in 7 hours of ship-to-shore combat. Conestoga left. Forrest’s command had stood ground well, first time under fire.”

It seems that the previous account is more from a Confederate perspective. The logs from the Conestoga are a bit different. They list the date of the battle as November 18, 1861, and have little detail. It reads, “U.S.S. Conestoga, Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, on expedition up Cumberland River, dispersed Confederate forces and silenced battery at Canton, Kentucky.

I wonder which account is true.

Anyhow … this afternoon I hunted for three hours along the bluffs just to the north of the Hwy. 68 bridge (see map) with the landowner – a friend of mine named Mark. As you can tell from the map, the terrain has changed rather dramatically since the TVA dammed the Cumberland river to create Lake Barkley. (I’ve tried to approximate the original river channel – it may, actually, lie further out from the modern shore.)

It was tough hunting. Lots of trash and false signals. I did hit a strong signal and pulled an old jar lid out of the ground. I pretty much demolished the spot looking for a potential jar full of loot. But there was none.

However, along one of the bluffs, about three feet down from the top, I hit a good signal and dug my first actual lead bullet out of the ground. By its size it is clearly a very large slug. It’s pretty much squashed because of all of the rock in the ground at this location. It’s the only one either of us found, though. Must have been a stray round that found it’s way so far north.

In talking to Mark I discovered that the original port was on the south side of the modern highway (see map). I just happen to know a couple who owns sever acres on that bluff, but I am afraid that any relics there may be lost. Mark told me that the original owners bulldozed that property (including several large Indian mounds) over the side of the bluff into the river back in the 1960’s. But I will hit the spot anyway.

Sorry for the “novel,” but I wanted to share the research on a truly interesting spot. It’s cool to know that I dug a slug that was fired in that battle, and even know the approximate date.

Here’s a picture of the smashed slug and another unidentified item. Maybe someone will be able to tell me what it is.

NOOB: Hunting Since 11.24.08 / Garrett GTP 1350 & Bounty Hunter Quicksilver / Oldest Coin – 1912 Barber Dime / Silver Coins – 8 / Coin Count – 124/ Clad Total – $11.40 / Ring Count – 2