Hey everyone!! I had a great afternoon detecting today, and can't wait to share it with you!
I was recently asked by a friend to help him locate something with my metal detector. He had been practicing with throwing stars, and lost one in the tall grass at his home. I was meant to go look for it yesterday, but we were rained out. With no rain this morning, I headed over only to find that he wasn't in. "Oh well" I thought, "I have some time. I may as well go detecting somewhere!"
I have been researching the route used by a portion of the Confederate army to retreat in 1865 (after a draw at the Battle of Averasboro and a loss at the Battle of Bentonville) and the Union troops pursuing them. I found myself out that way, and headed over to a section of the old road where I had permission to detect. I was hoping to be lucky enough to find a spot where soldiers had stopped to rest, or failing that, perhaps the odd dropped item from the men marching through.
There were two things I found a lot of - shotgun shells, and aluminum cans. The cans produce a really loud, strong, high tone on my detector. You can tell it's a larger object, and 99 times out of one hundred it is, in fact, an aluminum can. But every once in a while it isn't... so despite finding can after can, I continued recovering them. I even recall thinking to myself "Yep, another can" as I was digging a plug of clay on a loud, shallow, high tone. "But every once in a while..."
This is what I saw stuck to the bottom of the plug, although the front hook was still buried in the clay. I didn't know what it was, and assumed just more junk. That is, until I took it out of the dirt and flipped it over. Then I knew exactly what I had, and I was ecstatic. This is my very first Union belt plate from the Civil War. The brass hooks embedded in the lead solder back attached the buckle to a leather belt. An example of this buckle, originally oval in shape, can be seen in the image of a Federal infantry soldier above.
It's obviously quite damaged from nearly 150 years exposed to the elements. One of the "puppy paw" style attachments is missing, but the hook and one paw remain. I'm not at all concerned with the condition - this is a great find in any shape. I feel incredibly blessed to have recovered both a Confederate and Union buckle this year. I'm still in shock about both finds!
Oh yea, and about my friend. After I finished up at the old road, I went back to his house. In about 15 minutes his throwing star was recovered. Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have a happy and blessed holiday season!! Merry Christmas from Detecting Saxapahaw!!