Thursday, March 24, 2016

DIV XXXIV - Days Three and Four - Kepis and Camp Music

On day three at Brandy Rock, we split our time between a recently cleared section of woods and the adjacent field (the old headquarters field) looking for some 6th Corps Union relics.  The woods were tough to hunt, with massive felled trees and branches strewen about, and pieces of broken ration can confusing the detectors all along the surface.  Check out Brian and Keith behind this massive hollow trunk!

Going slow with smaller coils, we were able to get between the iron and pick up some more relics.  Keith got into a nice firepit which yielded a few buttons and a complete ration can.  My best find of the day would be this great staff officer's kepi button with a good deal of gold gilt remaining.  Overall I was quite happy with the days finds.

The final day at Brandy Rock was cold and wet, but we stuck with it, detecting in what those in the know call the "bean field".  This spot is known for confederate relics, so our hopes weren't too high - but we still found a few keepers.  The best find for me came out of a shallow hut right before lunch.  Besides the usual hut finds (broken glass, bone, and barrel band), I found two general service eagle buttons, a coat size and a cuff.  I rolled a big, odd shaped piece of iron from the side wall, and Keith instantly got excited.  I had no clue what I was looking at, but Keith explained that it was a great relic.  The soldier from this hut had left behind a jews harp, a kind of musical instrument.  The frame was complete, only missing the tang.

The small end of the frame would have been held in the soldiers mouth, and the large end of the frame held in one hand.  The other hand would pluck the tang, which ran longways bisecting the instrument, to create a sound.  By changing the shape of the mouth, the sound also changes.  Here's Keith giving is a demonstration around the campfire!

The jews harp (no relation to the religion, by the way) was a very popular instrument of the era.  Music was a powerful way to relieve the stresses of being away at war, so this is a very personal artifact to have recovered.  This oil painting is by artist John Donaghy, entitled "Civil War Soldier Playing a Mouth Harp", and is believed to have been painted from life during the war.  Keith in a past life perhaps?

The remainder of my finds are fairly self explanatory - a pair of round musket balls, another eagle button, and a button back.  The bright green copper nail was a first for me, and I rather like it (as far as nails go!).  I also got into a small patch of rivets, and in a Confederate area like that, any one of them could have been a great button.

And with that, my week at DIV drew to a close.  I couldnt be happier with my finds, or with the company.  Thanks so much to John, Rose, and the committee for making these events happen, and to all the friends I've made along the way. Until next time, happy hunting and God bless.

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