Thursday, February 18, 2016


These are four of many that I've dug over the years. They're special because of the location where they were found. Based on the frequency with which they are dug, bayonets were not a popular weapon.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


I dug this item in a Confederate camp site several years back. Unlike their well supplied enemies, Confederate soldiers faced a scarcity of weapons, ammunition, clothing, accoutrements, and all the other necessities needed to sustain themselves during the years that they fought against the barbaric invasion of their country. It is perfectly understandable, then, that with the lack of factory manufactured ammo, this cast iron "side-pour dipper" and similar devices were needed to cast lead bullets in the field. Lead, under field conditions, and like other goods and supplies in the war-time South, was not always readily available, so soldiers obtained their lead anywhere they could find it, sometimes even melting it away from lead-glass church windows. The bullet making process began when they melted their lead over an open fire, perhaps in this dipper or in a larger cast iron pot, after which they poured it into the sprue hole of their mold (or molds), where it was allowed to solidify. You will note that this particular "dipper" has an attaching device (bent, but originally less so, being then somewhat vertical to the horizontal plane of the dipper) which made use of a spike that was probably driven into a tree trunk. Assuming the lead was melted in the dipper itself, the soldier had then only to tilt the dipper toward the pour spout and allow the melted lead to fill the mold through the sprue hole. If instead he had used a larger pot to melt the lead, he would probably have had to use a third implement to fill the dipper.

Confederate soldiers were adept at finding ways to overcome their lack of adequate, good quality weapons and ammunition. This small side-pour dipper is an example of their ingenuity.