Saturday, January 21, 2012

Unearthing the Weapons of War

I went along with Jim from Silent Remnants to perform a site survey in an area he has been researching, looking for relics from the Civil War.  The field we detected had been the site of a home since the early 1800's, and was along the route used by Northern troops as they marched through central North Carolina in 1865.  While we didn't find a large quantity of relics, we each had one quality find - the very weapons used to fight the American Civil War.

My weapon find is in the form of this heavily plow-damaged thick brass oval.  Because my camera is down (I'm waiting on a new one to arrive in the mail!), I've included scans of the piece, so I apologize for the poor quality images.  It may not look like much now, but this was once the central portion of a sword guard, likely used by a Union cavalryman or infantry officer.  The blade of the sword ran through the central rectangular hole, and the raised ring on the "bottom" of the piece (image on the right) attached to the sword handle.  Unfortunately it won't be possible to identify the make of the sword because so much of the brass is missing, but it does seem to resemble the Ames model 1840/1860 cavalry saber.  I have included a picture of an original M1860 cavalry saber, and a complete sword guard of this type in dug condition can be seen here.  Despite the fact that I only recovered a heavily damaged portion of the hilt, the rarity and importance of this relic are such that I'm thrilled to have found it in any condition.
Jim made his weapon recovery not far from where this sword was found, and they may have even been lost by the same soldier.  I count Jim's find among the very best I have ever personally watched come out of the ground - head over to Silent Remnant to check it out!

I apologize that I can't post pictures of my other recoveries until my new camera arrives.  These included two flat buttons (late 18th to early 19th century), horse tack buckles, a small brass bell, and several other pieces of miscellaneous brass, some of which I still haven't identified.  I found a large rectangular buckle which I initially thought was a sword belt plate, but quickly realized was post war upon removing it from the hole.  It's still a great find, and I will feature it as a separate blog post once my camera has arrived.  Thanks for looking, I hope you enjoyed reading, and God bless!


  1. 31St North Carolina, need I say more.

  2. Actually, yes, I'm not quite sure what your comment is in reference to. But thanks for visiting Detecting Saxapahaw :)