Thursday, March 24, 2016

DIV XXXIV - Brandy Rock Day Two - North Carolina Represented

We started detecting Brandy Rock on day two at another one of my favorite places, affectionately known as Wisconsin Hill.  We were hoping to get into a firepit, and indeed I did dig out two different shallow pits that morning, without much success.  I did manage a handful of dropped three ring bullets and some assorted camp brass.

Once we had all gotten a few finds on the Hill, the decision was made to trade off quantity for quality after lunch, and go back to an area where some rare Confederate bullets had been found in the past.  We knew how well that spot had been searched in the past, so we weren't going in with high hopes of finding very many signals.  And yet, within about five minutes, I had a bullet tone!  I carefully moved the dirt to reveal.... A 69 caliber round ball.  It wasn't what I was looking for, but we were in the right area.

Then a few feet away, bang! Another good signal.  And this time, I found what we came for - a rare 69 caliber Confederate Nessler slug.

This odd looking bullet was one of several unique designs created in Raleigh, North Carolina for NC troops.  During the war, everyone on the southern home front was expected to pitch in - which included the North Carolina Institute for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind.  Students at the school were trained to produce a variety of goods for the state and its military, including textiles, bullets and cartridges, and even paper money like the two dollar note shown below.

The CS made Nessler was designed as a varient on a slightly earlier Belgian pattern of the same name.  They are often referred to by collectors as "Confederate shotgun slugs", although this is a misnomer.  The name most likely refers to their slight resemblance to more modern deer slugs intended for shotguns, but the CS Nessler was meant to be fired in a 69 caliber smoothbore musket.

As excited as I was to find that bullet so quickly, we soon discovered how fortunate I was to turn on the machine at that exact spot.  Careful gridding by several detectorists and multiple machines took the entire rest of the day without yielding another one.  I managed a total of four bullets for the half a day spent there - the roundball and Nessler mentioned above, one ringtail Sharps, and a fired pistol bullet (not shown).

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