Monday, October 7, 2013

A Wax Bullet Mystery

Hey Everyone!  I went out once again this past weekend to the same picket post from my last blog entry.  It was H-O-T out for October, and the ground was still dry as a bone.  Despite the unfavorable conditions, I still managed a few more Civil War bullets from the same general area.  The landowner suggested I try another part of the farm towards the end of the day, and I recovered one more three ring Minie bullet there on the way out.  That area will certainly be worth a more thorough search in the future.  I also found a brass tack rivet and a large iron spoon bowl, which may or may not be of the period.


I did have a bit of a surprise while I was cleaning up my finds for the day.  The vast majority of Minie ball bullets have a plain conical cavity base.  Some bullets, however, have special markings inside the base cavity from the bullet making machines from specific manufacturing locations.  Regular readers may recall the star-base Washington Arsenal bullets I recovered at DIV XIX and DIV XXII, the 57 base Enfield bullet I dug at the RRRHA Mine Run hunt, or the US base bullet I won in the token contest from that same hunt.

While I didn't find any base stamps in any of the bullets from this weekend, I did discover something very peculiar about one of them while cleaning out the base.  It appears the base of this particular bullet has been filled with some sort of wax!  I've honestly never seen anything like it.  The best guess I have is that one of those soldiers was passing time in camp 150 years ago, and filled the base of this bullet with candle or sealing wax.  We'll probably never know exactly why, but it's an intriguing mystery and a very unique relic.  Artifacts with a personal connection to the soldiers are always my favorite to find, and I feel very fortunate to have recovered this one.  As always, thanks for reading Detecting Saxapahaw and God bless!