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Cow patties and CW bullets...
Posted by: JB(MS)
Date: February 12, 2012 03:57PM
The Battle of Brice's Crossroads was fought on June 10, 1864, about 35 miles from where I live, and in 1993 or 94 Jim Armstrong and I got permission to detect the area between the crossroad and Tishomingo creek. I hadn't thought about it in a long time, but a couple of nights ago there was a story on local TV news about black history month that included a short segment about black soldiers in the Civil War, and an interview with an old guy who found and help bury the bones of a Union soldier that washed out of the bank of Tishomingo creek at Brices Crossroads years ago. They said the bones were most likely from a 54th Massachusetts soldier. The old guy said the bones were buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetery at the crossroads, but he didn't remember where in the cemetery the bones were buried or the year he helped bury them. The lady who owned the land, Mrs Agnew who was in her mid to late 70's at the time, told us a lot about what happened on her land over the years, including about the bones being found on her property and she said it was in 1957. She gave us permission to hunt anywhere on her land, and also land she had sold several years earlier but had forgot about selling. Fortunately, the guy who had bought it didn't mind us hunting it.

We mostly hunted in a pasture along the east side of Tishomingo creek, where the Union troops were trapped between the Rebel forces and the creek. We were using Fisher 1266's and found a lot of bullets, but other than bullets we only got a couple of US buttons and a mostly rusted away knife blade with a brass hilt. Something odd was that every reasonably fresh pile of cow doo gave the same signal the bullets gave, but when we scrapped the piles aside the signals disappeared. Being slow learners it took us about 25 cow piles before we figured out the cow doo was what was giving the signal, but we still moved them just in case. The smushed bullet, at left in the photo, is the deepest CW bullet I've dug and was found maybe 20 feet from the east bank of Tishomingo creek, near where the bones of the soldier were found in 1957. The bullet was fired straight down into the ground, and considering where it was found it was most likely fired by a Union soldier who was either scared or got hit and pulled the trigger with the barrel of his gun pointed down. The bullet at right in the photo is what it looked before it was fired. According to Claude Gentry, a well known author and relic hunter who built a museum at Baldwyn to house and exhibit CW relics, a Springfield muzzle loader that had 17 bullets in the barrel was found when the guns and other stuff were being picked up after the battle. The soldier that rifle belonged to was probably scared witless and loading his gun over and over and not firing it.

The link is to excerpts from a diary kept by Samuel Agnew, a minister who lived a mile or so from the crossroads. I only included the June 10 entry, the day of the battle, through June 20, but if anyone is interested it's an interesting read that gives some insight as to the events that happened and how it affected some of those who lived there.

link: Brices Crossroads

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2012 03:58PM by JB(MS).

Re: Cow patties and CW bullets...
Posted by: Hank68
Date: February 12, 2012 05:32PM
Great story, nice minnie! Defiantly a close range high impact. Shot into the ground!

Re: Cow patties and CW bullets...
Posted by: Larry (IL)
Date: February 12, 2012 07:20PM
Thanks for the great read JB.

Bells and whistles are nice, but nothing will substitute for the basic understanding of the hobby.

:minelab: CTX 3030

Re: Cow patties and CW bullets...
Posted by: donMD
Date: February 13, 2012 12:29PM
I've experienced the same cow patty phenomenon up here in Maryland...strange

Great post, Thank You.
Posted by: Rick S in S.C.
Date: February 13, 2012 01:43PM

Re: Cow patties and CW bullets...
Posted by: EL Pulltabio
Date: February 17, 2012 10:29PM
A great post indeed! This year I've been in a SC swamp off and on for over
a month looking for CW relics with some success. My research pointed to an area
where Union forces (which included the 54th Massachusetts) were held off
by entrenched Confederates.
The Google Map program can't be overestimated when trying to put bits and
pieces of information together.

Re: Cow patties and CW bullets...
Posted by: Cajuncoinhunter
Date: February 25, 2012 12:29PM
Good info. Thanks. CCH.

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