Saturday, February 4, 2012

American Eagles and Civil War lead

Wow, I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post!  I finally have a working camera, so I'll try to get caught up on a few of my recent finds here.  In my last post I referred to an interesting buckle, which is shown here below.  It was found in an area of known Civil War activity, so I was initially pretty excited when a strong high-tone signal unearthed a large rectangular buckle.  I quickly realized it wasn't Civil War era, but it did turn out to be a unique piece of American history.  The design of this heavily silver plated belt buckle features an American eagle with shield, and scrolling banners which proclaim "Citizens Military Training Camp."

CMTC camps were operated in the period between two world wars, from 1921 to 1940.  The idea was to provide basic military training to male citizens, without the requirement of active duty service.  The month long summer camps were attended by an estimated 400,000 men during their two decade history, including Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan.  How this buckle ended up in a North Carolina farm field is anyone's guess, but it certainly is an interesting piece!

A later trip to that same area produced a different sort of military eagle - this thick convex one piece button.  I noticed when I recovered it that the heavy construction and well attached shank seemed different from the typical civilian buttons recovered at many early home sites.  It wasn't until I was cleaning my finds some days later that the eagle motif emerged.  Although heavily worn, this button is an early US artillery button, or "eagle A."  A contrast enhanced scan of the device makes the design easier to see, along with a much nicer example of what the button would look like without environmental damage.  A similar eagle was used on general service and infantry buttons, but the backmark tells us the branch of service in this case.  It was manufactured for a US artilleryman's uniform, but these early buttons were known to be pressed into service as late as the Civil War.  For you button collectors, it has Tice reference number AY199D19.

The final group of finds show the results of today's hunt with Jim from Silent Remnants.  We have been following the route of Union troops here in central North Carolina, and Jim's research brought us to an excellent patch of ground which has been largely undisturbed since Union soldiers left the area.  My bullet recoveries are shown below, including standard Union three ring bullets and two Williams cleaner bullets, both with and without the zinc base.  It was a surreal experience digging so many bullets in such a small area, and realizing that this was the exact spot in which they were dropped a century and a half ago.  And of course, what woods hunt would be complete without a healthy assortment of modern bullets and casings!

I may have more to say about this particular hunt in a future post - it really deserves a better treatment than space here allows.  Until then, I do hope you enjoyed reading and viewing some of my recent finds.  Thanks for looking, and God bless!

1 comment:

  1. Digging that lead sure was a blast, Tony. Just thought I'd post an update regarding my blog's change of address. What was formerly "Silent Remnants" is now "Touch the Past" at

    Looking forward to getting back out there soon.