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Please visit the Shields Museum Page for early dug Gettysburg relics. Many of these relics were dug shortly after the war, were placed into the Shields Museum in Gettysburg then sold at auction in 1985. I am happy to offer some of these outstanding relics, complete with notarized provenance to interested collectors.

All relics personally dug by me come with a notarized letter on fine parchment paper providing you with the provenance you need. All dug relics were recovered on private property with owner's permission.



I grew up listening to tales from my grandfather telling of his grandfathers exploits in 149th Pennsylvania "Bucktails" during the Civil War. Grandma's grandfather served in the 147th Pennsylvania - "Geary's White Stars". I read their diaries about battles in far away places such as Petersburg, Fredricksburg, Chancellorsville, and Antietam, but I most enjoyed reading about their fighting during the Battle of Gettysburg. As a child I would walk the battlefields while my grandfathers pointed out places of interest. My first experience at metal detecting was wearing a backpack with batteries and using a World War II surplus mine sweeper/detector. I still have some of the first relics I dug!

Now I can say that I have dug skirmish sites and civil war camp sites in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, the Carolinas, West Virginia and am always interested in new locations to dig. My favorite place to dig still is Gettysburg - it has so much meaning for me. Unfortunately "progress" is covering so many of my favorite Gettysburg digging sites with asphalt and housing developments. But every spot has its highlights - such as digging huge cannon fragments off the steep bluffs of the Tennessee River in East Port, Mississippi "Cherokee Rifle Pits".

One day while digging with my best Rebel friend Kenny Bell, he took me to a prized spot of his in the center of the town called Iuka, Mississippi. There on the very yard where Brigadier General Henry Little was buried, I dug my first cast CS militia plate - not more than 50 feet from Little's grave.

I cherish each and every relic I dig and if the truth be told, I would rather dig a ground burst shell, painstakingly clean it and put all the pieces back together than just dig a complete shell (although I like doing that too!). One of my first groundburst shells was a Shenkl Caseshot from the Battle of Mine Run, Virginia. I found all but one 2" wide piece of that shell, and over the course of 3 months carefully cleaned it, put it back together and hand glued each piece of case shot back into. I dug in that hole for over two hours being helped by an old digger, Ray.

My next complete groundburst was a Hotchkiss Bolt which had ricocheted off a boulder near Rock Creek in Gettysburg and broke into the pieces which you see below.

One of my favorite finds was a day at the Battle of the Wilderness when another digger, Karl, called me over and told me to start looking for bullets. He had stumbled on a site where skirmishers had dumped many cartridge boxes full of soggy ammunition. We both laughed and dug for many hours.

Last, but certainly not least, while hunting in Hamilton's Thicket I got a signal from my Mine Lab, dug a shot bullet then layed the detector down and much to my surprise got a very loud sound. So I dug again expecting to find a 12 gauge shotgun shell, but came up with a cast pewter "I" button. Moved the detector a couple of inches down and found another button, then another button and finally the fourth button. Then a 2" roller buckle and then 8 shoe hobnails. I stood back and realised that I had uncovered a spot where a confederate soldier had laid dead after the Battle of the Wilderness. Some of the dead from this battle laid there awaiting proper burial for over a year and their bodies rotted away - all that was left was their skeletons. So I figure I recovered the bullet that killed him, the buttons from his coat, the buckle from his belt and the nails from his shoes. On another trip to that site Karl dug an entire Enfield rifle barrel complete with ramrod.

Here are three more pictures of "before and after" relics.

Below are pictures of some of my favorite artifacts. I'm always interested in buying, selling and trading Civil War Relics. You can contact me at 149thbucktails@comcast.net.


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