Civil War Relic Hunting Part 2

Civil war relic hunting in Virginia using the White's XLT metal detectors.


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White's V3i Metal Detector

.58 caliber Rifled Musket and Williams Cleaner Type 1 civil war bullets.
Civil War Bullets for Sale


I met Jeff Herke at the Philadelphia airport around 10:00am on Thursday morning, April 18, 2002.  We made our way back to the parking lot and loaded up the truck and headed south to Virginia.  Along the way we made up for lost time by catching up on the latest news from both our families.  Jeff lives in Atlanta, Georgia and I live in Pennsylvania so it doesn't give us the opportunity to just pick up and go metal detecting...it has to be planned.

Our destination was Remington, Virginia.  During the civil war it was known as Rappahannock Station due to the railroad that ran through the town and it close proximity to the Rappahannock river.  It is also located between Warrenton and Culpeper which both saw lots of civil war activities.  I described the property to Jeff on the way down and we both decided that since we would be arriving late in the afternoon, we would hunt the front lawn.  This is an area about 100 foot wide and 125 foot in length.  It had been hunted before, but we both wanted to try it with our Spectrum XLT's.

I greeted my aunt and uncle who owns the property and introduced them to Jeff.  After some brief conversation, Jeff and I got down to business.  We decided to hunt the front lawn in the Jewelry and Beach mode with some custom tweaking.  No sooner than Jeff had his coil on the ground he pops up a brass rifle sling buckle with two tangs on it.  We both got four bullets that afternoon.  Jeff's were all Union and mine were all Rebel.  At one point I walked over to where Jeff was busy at work to see what he was finding and I left the detector on and was just walking with the coil on the ground when I got good signal.  Down about 3 inches was a Union staff button in decent condition.  It always pays to leave the detector on when walking.  At least we were off to a good start.

That night we went over some custom relic programs for the Spectrum's.  I went with the pre-programmed Relic mode with tweaking to the Pre-Amp Gain, AC and DC Sensitivity, Discrimination and Volume.  There appeared to be an abundance of hot rocks that caused the detector to sound off and display a VDI of 95.  A quick edit to the discrimination feature eliminated this annoyance altogether.  On our first full day we decided to hunt the back of the property.  It was a small hill that led to a flat area with a creek running through the property.  I noticed right away that we were not finding bullets like I did a few years earlier.  My uncle informed us that quite a few hunters had been on the property in recent years.  Some as far away as California.  The next door neighbor also came out and talked with us and said he had also been hunting the property and that we could hunt his property also.  It was a lot adjacent to my uncle's.  What bullets we did find that day were deep.  Most were in the 8 1/2 to 10 inch range.  We managed to pull up a couple dozen bullets this way.  The bullets sounded off loud and clear with the Spectrum at these depths.  There was no missing these bullets.  Four of the bullets found that day were the round musket type.  I hadn't found these on the property in years and was surprised that we found them.  The other bullets were "dropped"  3 ringers from the Union army.  One bullet that Jeff found had a twist mark on it from where it was lodged in a rifle barrel and had to be extracted (by hand) with a special tool.

Day two was pretty much like the first day.  We hunted some property next to my uncle's to see if we could hit on a camp that hadn't seen a detector.  No such luck.  In one field I received a signal that turned up another button...minus the front side with the eagle.  Another deep signal produced a pen knife at seven inches.  A good find despite it being well rusted.  A 10 inch signal for Jeff resulted in what we think is a piece that held some part of the rifle barrel.  It is made of brass and is very heavy.  Another piece of property resulted in two stray bullets and a couple of splatters.  Bullet totals this day would not equal the previous day.  We dug a total of 37 bullets for the two days we hunted.

On Sunday we drove back to Pennsylvania to my father's property.  Despite the rain, we hunted along the banks of the canal.  A few wheat pennies started to make an appearance and then Jeff dug a large cent dated 1845 or 1855, and next to that popped up a silver Roosevelt dime.  I found an Indian head penny and not far from that received a good strong quarter reading at three inches.  What I found surprised me to say the least.  I sunk the gator digger down in the mud and popped up a Hutchinson bottle.  No signal left in the hole, just the bottle.  Later, after cleaning the mud off the bottle I could see the seal which contained enough copper to set the detector off.  It is in excellent condition and marked "College Point Bottling Co.  Trade Mark Registered".  There is a College Point located on Long Island, New York.  I did an internet search but could find no information on this particular bottle.  A few more finds of wheat pennies and a copper sleigh bell ended our last day of detecting.

Civil war bullets.
.58 Caliber Three-Ringers.
The most widely used bullet in the Civil War.

Civil war union staff button.
Union staff button.


.69 caliber musket balls, .50 Smith carbine, and .44 Colt Revolver Bartholow civil war bullets.
Top Row:  .69 Caliber Musket Balls.
Bottom Row L-R :  #1 .44 Caliber Bartholow,
#2 & 3 .50 Caliber Smith Carbine. #4  Splattered bullet.

Penknife carried by a civil war soldier.
Penknife, pieces of buttons and a rivet.


Relic hunter J.R. Hoff.

Relic hunter Jeff Herke.

Two relic hunters properly equipped for digging bullets.

Jeff's recovered dropped 3 ringer civil war bullet.

This is a lot of dirt!

Excavation of .58 three ringer.

 Hutchinson Type Bottle from College Point Bottling Co.  Trade Mark Registered
Results of a VDI
quarter reading.

Civil war rifle sling buckle and a few unknowns.
Rifle sling buckle (top)
and a few unknowns
detected by Jeff.

.58 caliber rifled musket, musket balls, and Colt Revolving Rifle civil war bullets.
Some of the bullets detected by Jeff.






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