Bullet and Shell Civil War Projectiles Forum

Author Topic: Stories  (Read 1168 times)

Scott Springston

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Stories
« on: May 30, 2020, 10:02:57 AM »
I love to hear relic hunting stories , especially shell hunting stories so Iím going to start off this thread with one of my stories.
  When I was a kid I wanted a metal detector in n the worst way but could never afford one. A friend let me borrow a Old Metro Tech and I tried looking around the yard but all I could find was stuff practically on the surface. The ground  was pretty bad where I lived. Then I heard of the local relic hunters association and I went to some of their meetings. These guys were showing off all the confederate buckles and buttons they had found and the best thing Iíd ever found was a rusty nail. I tried to talk to some of the guys to find out how they found such good stuff but if you werenít one of the in crowd who recently found a CS plate they didnít want to bother with you. Their suggestion was to go to Governors, a relic shop and buy a bunch of relics and then come back and act like I found them. Then people might talk to me. Finally a nice guy volunteered a place I might try that was dug out but better than nothing . I went there and tried that metro tech but it wouldnít work . I needed a good metal detector so I got a job that summer to get enough money to buy a metal detector. Whites seemed to be the choice then so after half the summer of working I saved $350 to buy a detector! I bought a new detector and figured I was good to go but then it hit me I still had no idea where to look. I went back to that place the guy told me of and actually found a bullet or two! I still wondered how these guys knew where to look so I went back to the relic club but as relic hunters are so often they were very tight lipped. Itís like you were trying to find gold they buried and you weíre trying to get it. They only wanted to talk to you if you were one of the good old boys who had found a load of stuff. I heard the phrase do your research  more than once but research where? In What?? I had no idea where to look. I finally got a map of the defenses of Washington and at one of the forts it mentioned that Connecticut troops where stationed there. I though where can I find stuff about them and then my dad said letís go to the library of congress and see if they had anything. He went there often. Well we went there and I found this regimental history of those troops and on one page it told of them shooting their big guns about a mile across the way at a big wooden target. It said the shells were flipping and sinking into the mud.  I got the modern topo map of that area , drew a mile circle around the fort and looked for likely places for them to shoot at. I noticed there was a hill on the other side of the big highway that would make a good target and I took my new detector and went over there. There were houses all around the area but there was one little patch of woods between them so I put the detector to the ground and soon I get this big signal! Oh it must be a garbage can or something I thought but I dug anyway . I kept going down , deeper and deeper thinking it must be the mineralized soil and nothingís really down there. I kept digging and then I hit something iron like. I said I must have hit a water pipe or something but then I saw that it was the nose of a 100 lb bolt! I couldnít believe it! So far Iíd only found a bullet or two and now this monster shell! Anyway I invited a friend over who was a relic hunter and after about a week we had dug over 30 shells out of that tiny spot! I knew right then that my destiny was shells!
 

Scott Springston

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Re: Stories
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2020, 04:19:56 PM »
So a while after finding all those shells I went back to the relic club and of course now everyone wanted to talk to me. Hey, whereíd you find those? Letís go dig some more, when do you want to go? They suddenly got very chummy. When I hadnít found anything they didnít even want to give me the time of day but now they were real friendly! I realized they werenít the kind of people I wanted to be around so eventually I found two good buddies to hunt with
And never went back to that club.

Scott Springston

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Re: Stories
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2020, 04:35:35 PM »
When I was a young man my dad and I made reprints of Civil War books out of print. We were at this show trying to sell them and Tom Dicky walked up eagerly looked at one of books. A few minutes later he came back with the set of his set of his red projectile books and traded them for our reprint of Mosbys War Reminiscences . He asked me to come to his table and there was one of his big Dyers he was trying to sell. Iíd never seen anything so cool but I didnít have $150 or so he was asking for it . $150!!! Now when I see a nice one I try and get it!!

callicles

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Re: Stories
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2020, 07:45:56 PM »
Great stories! I enjoyed reading them, thanks!

CarlS

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Re: Stories
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2020, 10:56:06 PM »
I got started with a good friend whose family just happened to move into a house that had a detector in the closet left by the previous owner.  They lived in the middle of The Battle of Kolb Farm near Kennesaw Mtn and were able to find a few neat things.  My friend joined Boy Scouts where we met.  He invited me hunting with him and we found a few things.  My first good day was in the front yard of another friend I went to school with who lived near the battle and got permission from his parents for us to come look in their yard.  I found bullets, a Bormann fuse, a snuff box and some other interesting things.  That front yard went away many years later with a 2-lane to 5-lane road widening.  But one day my friend and I both found a 12-lber solid shot.  From then on the other stuff was neat but artillery was the focus.
Best,
Carl

Scott Springston

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Re: Stories
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2020, 08:34:40 AM »
Yes I know the feeling, itís hard to explain but once I found a shell buttons seemed insignificant. Thanks for sharing!
  Scott

Scott Springston

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Re: Stories
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2020, 08:52:14 AM »
My first shell piece find ever was a small parrot nose fragment. I had gone up and down these hills and ravines for close to a mile for weeks figuring the area to be a spot they may have fired at and after digging down a foot or so and pulling up old oil filters from a tractor etc I came across the fragment. It was very encouraging and I hunted a lot more but found nothing. The funny thing is that it wasnít much more than a block from where I eventually found the shell hole!  I kept that fragment as a reminder to never give up!
  Scott

Scott Springston

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Re: Stories
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2020, 09:14:54 AM »
As far as relic hunting was concerned it seems I was born too late for the easy pickings of the Dicky days or I found out about stuff to late. I had researched a confederate battery on the river and walked a mile or so through no mans land to get to it hoping to at least find something. There was a story how the confederates had buried their ammunition when they abandoned the fort. When I got there I started hunting out on the perimeter of the fort and quickly made my way to the fort walls over looking the river. There I found this huge hole that couldnít have been dug more than a few days before. I kept hunting and found nothing. Just recently, well over 30 years later I met the fellow who had dug the hole and he showed me some of the rarest shells Iíd ever seen that came from that hole. Sometimes you just canít win.

CarlS

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Re: Stories
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2020, 01:34:58 PM »
Yes, there is nothing like the sound of the shovel hitting a shell.  Nothing sounds like it.  You try to avoid it because of sabots and fuses but when digging that deep it can happen.

They are still out there.   People in our club have dug about 5 in the past couple months. And none of them are just shell hunters.  They hunt everything.  The artillery that is left  is just a lot more spread out.  It will be hard to find an impact area with shells scattered all over it like in the past but something gets missed.
Best,
Carl

Daveslem

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Re: Stories
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2020, 03:02:23 AM »
Great stories. I love it.
Later,
Dave Slemmer

Scott Springston

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Re: Stories
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2020, 09:34:09 AM »
It seemed like wherever I looked a million other guys had already been there. I was hunting on this hill where a camp had been and of course it was said to be hunted out. Thats the only kind of place any relic hunter would recommend going to. I finally got this big signal but I could tell it was iron so I figured it was junk. I dug down a little and hit iron. I started to uncover it and it looked to be a rusty tin can but upon further Investigaton I found it was a shovel head. I kept digging and low and behold it turned out to be a fire pit no one had found before. It was loaded with cool stuff. Buckles, bullets, soles from shoes and other neat stuff . The best things though were the intact beer bottles! After that I always dug everything, brass sounding or iron sounding.

Scott Springston

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Re: Stories
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2020, 12:01:07 PM »
At one point I had about 30 shells that needed unloading and I was told to take them to the local expert. I pulled up to his house, a town house right next to many other townhouses and went through his fence and piled them in his yard. He had a little hole in the dirt about 10 inches deep partially full of water. He put them between his feet and proceeded to drill them out with a hand drill. I heard he did thousands of them that way! Iím glad I didnít live next door to him, ha ha! 
  Scott

relicrunner

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Re: Stories
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2020, 02:13:43 PM »
Crazy old days!

Scott Springston

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Re: Stories
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2020, 07:37:06 PM »
I had some shells that you could literally pour out the powder. I collected a bunch of it and dried it out. Later we poured a pile of it on the ground and it flashed up just like Iíd poured gunpowder out of a keg in an old western movie!!

Scott Springston

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Re: Stories
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2020, 05:46:41 PM »
Maybe  I should have said this before but feel free to share stories like these or any other interesting stories that youíve had in your relic hunting days!