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Dear White's Electronics,
While hunting in the hot soil of Culpeper County, Virginia at a three-day Diggin' in Virginia event, I recovered an item that one of the foremost War Between The States artillery experts, Pete George, proclaimed to be rather rare: a Dyer canister sabot.
On the morning of March 22nd, the first day of the event, I headed out into a dense fog with 400 other relic hunters who dispersed in a fashion to virtually cover every degree of the compass. I made a beeline in the direction of J.E.B. Stuart's headquarters, which became the ultimate vortex of the Battle of Brandy Station. The hunt boundaries would permit me to get within one quarter-mile of that location, and in the process of casually swinging my MXT Pro's coil on the way to the property's edge I got a good signal which stopped me in my tracks. At perhaps eight inches depth I recovered what I knew to be a sabot, put in in my pouch and continued on to my destination, still 500 yards away.
It was not until Pete George replied to a query that I had made online that I realized that perhaps this wasn't just any old common sabot. Pete's comments follow:
"Thank you for making the measurements and posting the additional photos. They confirm my expectation that the object is indeed a 3"-caliber Dyer Canister sabot... The artillery projectiles designed by US Captain Alexander B.Dyer were produced only by the Yankees. It is an early-war design of ammo. Almost no Dyer projectiles at all were used after summer 1863. So, it "fits" that you dug your 3"-caliber Dyer Canister sabot in the Brandy Station area. The big battle there was fought on June 9, 1863."
In a later comment, Mr. George stated:
"I should begin by stating that Dyer's Canister is quite rare version of canister. On a strict "number of specimens known" scale of rarity, your 3" Dyer Canister sabot was one of the very rarest items found at the DIV hunt ...even more rare than some of the Confederate buttons and buckles found at that hunt."
Mr. George also stated that the large hole in the sabot was created by the cannon's blast. As a result of these revelations, this little unattractive hunk of lead has become one of my favorite finds of all time. Thank you, White’s for producing the great detector that is the MXT Pro.