Snow at Spillman Farm
My finds for the hunt were modest compared to some of my previous DIV hunts. This was partly due to the weather, but I also devoted quite a bit of my detecting time to hunting for shells. I removed a lot of big farm iron from the heavily shelled field on “Site 2”, and while I did find quite a few shell fragments, the unexploded ordinance eluded me. My good friend Todd, on the other hand, was more successful, recovering a 12 pounder spherical shell in the big field on “Site 1”. Congratulations, Todd!
Todd and his cannonball
I did find several bullets, including three ring Minie balls, Sharps carbine, and a round ball which was probably shrapnel from inside an exploding shell. My best bullet is a fairly rare CS Richmond Merrill bullet. My button recoveries included a very nice condition general service eagle coat button, as well as a civilian flat button and cufflink or period or pre-war design. My heart-breaker for the hunt was the back of a two piece button, which doesn’t appear to be a standard Union back, recovered in the front field where many Confederate buttons have been found in the past. Unfortunately the front of the button was lost or destroyed before I got to it, so we’ll never know what it might have been!
CS Richmond Merrill Carbine bullet on the left.
My Spillman Farm recoveries.
Despite the snow and wind, despite the cold and the wet, DIV XXVI was a blast! I had a great time seeing many of my digging friends, and finding some relics together. The harsh weather conditions for the end of March did serve to make us all think about the living conditions of the men who left those artifacts behind. Those brave soldiers lived, worked, and trained during the cold winter months in those same snow-covered fields. They endured the wind, rain, snow, and mud day in and day out, many without adequate clothing or even shoes. Inadequate sanitation and close quarters led to widespread disease. Mud-soaked roads made transportation of supplies challenging. Those men endured all of these conditions to fight for what they believed in. Although it made metal detecting a challenge, I think all the participants of DIV XXVI found a dose of perspective at this year’s event.
Original sketch of a Union winter camp in the snow by Edwin Forbes