Saturday, May 5, 2012

Always double check!

Hey everyone!  I went out with Jim yesterday to do some scouting, trying to locate another Civil War camp here in central North Carolina.  The day started out slow, driving around to look at a few sites that appeared promising from old maps, satellite photos, and original documents.  There's a lot of research involved in finding these camps before you even put your coil to the soil.

When we finally settled on a place to hunt, Jim turned on his detector and the very first signal he got was a 58 caliber three ring bullet!  While we didn't find a camp in that location, we did confirm our hypothesis that there were troops along that stretch of road.  Now we'll go back into the topographic maps and narrow down the most likely areas to search.

After lunch, we headed to a known camp in the area, which has been heavily searched.  It's a large area set back in the woods, so we were hoping for a few relics that may have been missed.  We both found bullets there as well, a three ring bullet for me and a Williams cleaner for Jim.  We spread out looking for the outskirts of the camp where a section may have been overlooked in the past.  Having no luck further out, I slowly migrated back to the center of the camp, and casually swung my detector over the hole where I had recovered my bullet.  To my surprise, I got a nice sounding signal!  I guess I was too excited when I found the bullet, and forgot to rescan the hole.

I dug it out once again, and found the target in the sidewall, a small piece of melted lead.  Relic hunters refer to these blobs as "camp lead", and they are fairly common in camp sites.  They can be formed in many ways, including lead bullets melting in a fire, a soldier melting lead out of boredom, or melted lead drippings from field casting bullets.  Not one to be fooled again, I rescanned the hole - and the signal remained.  I dug down more, and pulled out another piece of camp lead.  And another.  And another.  Jim came over to watch me dig it out, and surface hunting in the area he recovered an eagle cuff button.  I continued to expand outwards in both depth and diameter, and recovered a total of 9 pieces of various sized camp lead from the same hole.  I also found a second three ring bullet at the very bottom, just over a foot deep.  Let that be a lesson to detectorists, both new and experienced - always check your holes! 

Despite the ticks and the heat, I had a great time with a good friend, walking in the footsteps of soldiers who camped here nearly 150 years ago.  Thanks for reading, and God bless!

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