Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Confederate Rifleman Button

Date: April 6, 2013
Machine: Teknetics T2
Site: Private property near Raleigh, NC

I was having great day metal detecting my favorite site.  The weather was fantastic and I was hunting at the same time of year when the soldiers were there in 1865, imagining what the scene must have been like.  

Within the first 45 minutes I'd found a few bullets and a gun tool when I decided to move on to a new area of the field that I hadn't previously detected.  Immediately, I started finding bullets -- a fired Enfield, dropped Spencers, a couple of standard .58 caliber 3 ringers.  The slower I went, the more I found.

Gun Tool

Soon, I started finding brass.  Lots of Spencer cartridge bases, some large buckle fragments, and even more exciting, button backs.  Clearly, troops were here and there was the potential for finding intact buttons.

Sure enough, before long, I got a great, deep signal on my T2.  On the bottom of the plug sat a button.

It turned out to be a general service Eagle button.  While cleaning it, I discovered that it retained the thread that had attached it to the uniform.  This was the first time I'd recovered a relic with thread.

Soon after, and only a few feet away, I found a rivet with a piece of the original leather attached.  Still black in color, it probably was part of a belt or equipment strap. 

I was completely unprepared for what I found next.  

I got a very strong signal on the T2 reading in the low seventies.  From the meter alone, it could have been a bullet or a button, but the audio signal sounded more like brass.  And sure enough, it was brass.

After digging the plug, this is what I saw.

You can faintly discern the edge of something brass in the plug.  I thought it might be a button, so I decided to record it coming out of the ground with my phone.  I'm glad I did, because it turned out to be something incredibly rare, a Confederate Rifleman Button.

These buttons were manufactured in Britain and had to pass through the Union blockade of Southern ports in order to make it to Confederate troops.  The backmark reads "H T & B Manchester."  Here's what a non-dug button looks like.

And here's how one I recovered appears after being in the ground since 1865.

This is by far the most rare button I've found and, given the history of this site, one of my favorite relics ever.

By the end of the day, I ended up with three dropped .58 calibre three ringers, two unfired Type 3 Williams bullets, two fired Enfields, five Spencer cartridge bases, three dropped Spencer bullets, a gun tool, five button backs, an Eagle button, a J-hook, a small broach with a clear stone mounted in the center, buckle fragments, and the Rifleman button.  Quite a day!

The day's finds

Broach with unidentified gemstone

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