« Back to Finds Posted July 15th, 2008 by Vernon C.

  • 1840s-militia-belt-plate.jpg
  • 1840s-militia-belt-plate2.jpg
  • 1840s-militia-belt-plate3.jpg
Item Found: Relic

Location:

Metal Detector Used: Other (800-0284-LSP)


July 15th, 2008
 

Dear White’s,

I would like to share this story with your readers.

According to history books, Union Civil War troops came through an area not far from where I live and spent the night on April 8th, 1865. A friend of mine asked and had received permission from the farmer to metal detect on the land of that union encampment. It was raining when we got there and we had to wait for it to let up enough to detect. I entered a wet, just-cut stubble of a hay field and started detecting with my White’s DFX, and within less than a minute I dug a white-coated Spencer bullet... the first sign that; "They were here". Soon my friend dug a couple of civil War bullets as well and we knew we were in the right area.

I went down a hill toward the woods and got a good signal that was fairly shallow, 2 or 3". I cut a muddy plug with my shovel and saw the corner of a Civil War belt plate sticking out of the dirt. My heart jumped a few beats, but when I picked it up all that came out was half of a plate. I was happy and disappointed at the same time. The plate looked to me like it had been struck by a plow many years ago, and if that were the case, the other half of the plate could be nearby.

I studied the field and decided which way a tractor would plow the field; then I started working in that direction both ways, hoping that the rest of the plate had been pushed a short distance away. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later and nine feet away, I got another good signal a little deeper, 6" or so, and got the other half. The second half seems to be all there but had a large bend almost 90 degrees in the middle.

After getting home, I washed the mud off and cleaned it up a bit. Then I got a pair of rubber-tipped pliers and gingerly tweaked the plate back in shape as best I could. There was some slight cracking and popping going on, but I had to get it somewhat flat. It is an 1840's militia belt plate that continued to be in use throughout the Civil War. To me it is a great find, and the challenge of finding the other half only added to the hunt. But I never doubted the outcome... if it was there, the White’s detector would find it.

Vernon  

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