Sunday, February 14, 2016

Pewter Roundball Mystery

Hey y'all!  I got out for a short hunt today at two spots with my friend Dustin.  One was brand new, and we spent a good while searching only to end up skunked.  But we did get a good lead from the landowner about where the site we are looking for might be located.  Maybe next time!

We also spent about an hour pushing the boundaries of the "cow field" site I've been working.  The cows were occupying the camp and refused to budge, so we stayed on top of the hill that had given up a few dropped and fired round balls before.  Dustin found a dropped roundball today, and I found a flattened three ring bullet and fired pistol bullet.

The big mystery for the day, though, is the odd round ball that appears to be made out of pewter or some other lead alloy.  This is the second such pewter round ball I've found in the field, and Dustin recovered a third this afternoon as well.  They are all about 44 caliber.

I'm wondering if they may be some sort of CS field made bullet, cast out of pewter or a poor lead alloy.  I suspect Confederate in nature, as their supply chain was much more fragile than the industrialized North, which was well supplied with standardized lead bullets.  It is possible, although I haven't yet found documentation, that the poorer Confederate troops may have needed to cast bullets out of a less effective alloy if lead was in short supply.  I have seen a few references to pewter alloy bullets used in muskets excavated from revolutionary war archeological sites.

Could these be CS pewter bullets?  Or something else entirely?  I'm really not sure, but I'll update when I know more!  Let me know in the comments or by email if you have any insight!

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