DiggerD's pickins & diggins.....

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Post by DiggerD on Fri May 21, 2010 5:21 pm

Ok, I'm gonna start a thread about my second passion, next to tinkering on these old infernal VW machines... Wink, locating and recovering anything from Civil War relics, old bottles, etc. to vintage household stuff. I have been recovering Civil War items over 20 years now, and my collection has relics from the Atlanta campaign to the yankee winter camps of Virginia and all in between. I will start this thread with some of my CW diggins and add other stuff as time permits. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to obtain permission to search several farms in the Fredericksburg and Brandy Station areas for yankee winter camps. A winter camp was pretty much as the name says, the Union armies would go into camp at the onset of winter in the Northern states and stay put until Spring. The soldiers would dig a rectangular hole usually about 8' X 11' and about three feet deep. On top of this they would fashion a log cabin type structure up to head height and top it with a regulation tent for the roof. These "huts" would be the soldier's home for the duration of the Winter months. The were usually furnished with a makeshift bed, some crude furniture, but all had a small fireplace. Here is an archive pic of some huts:

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Huts1

Once Spring arrived, the armies would be on the move and the camps were abandoned and the fields were returned to the farmers. Anything that was left, and was not wanted by the farmer was thrown into the hole and plowed over. This makes these hut sites a virtual time capsule of camp life of the Union Soldier. I have made some nice recoveries from these hut sites, but it is alot of work! Here is a Union officer's hut I excavated in a farm field near Fredericksburg:

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Huta
You can see the remains of the fireplace and even the post holes for the mantle piece!

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Firebox3
Close up of the firebox.

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Rationcan
A ration can still standing in the corner!!

If I remember right, this particular hut, being an Officer's residence, was pretty clean. He would have had an orderly or two to help with the housekeeping! There was only two ration cans (suprisingly still intact), some musket balls and a few uniform buttons, and a couple of medicine bottles. But as I was excavating the last corner of the hut, a gleam of gold caught my eye. I thought it may be a gold coin, but instead found this:
DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Hookt
It is a solid gold hook from a pocket watch chain and surely belonged to the Officer as most soldiers would not be able to afford the luxury of a gold watch chain! (the quarter is for scale)

Well, thats a little taste of the diggins, I will add more to this thread as I can.
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Post by rpm750 on Fri May 21, 2010 5:38 pm

Very cool, history channel has been going thru The History of Us. Very cool stuff in these shows.

I guess we now understand the "Digger" part of DiggerD.

Please post more!
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Post by DiggerD on Fri May 21, 2010 10:34 pm

Ok here is some stuff found a little closer to home.....

Smith & Wesson Model 1 Found in a trench that was part of Johnson's River Line. This was the outer defense perimeter of Atlanta. Recovered back in the early 90's just of South Atlanta Road:
DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Pistolw
DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Pistol2y

A collection of relics recovered off Bankhead Hwy:
DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... 59357433

More from the same area:
DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Bh1f

A large knife blade from an area adjacent to where the old GMI (Georgia Military Institute) stood. It was burned by Union troops and was located near Powder Springs.
DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Bladem
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Post by meinvw on Sat May 22, 2010 10:10 am

During the drought our fishing hole was down to a creek vs a river. So we were able to walk across the river in most spots. There is an old mill that from what I hear was burned during the Civil War. Keep planning on heading up that way with the metal detector but fishing keeps getting in the way! But when the water was down a friend was out in the middle and saw something in the bed. He kicked it up and said here i found you something and threw it to me. It was an old tin flask. It felt full and figured it was river water, but openend it up an it is full of moonshine! Poured a dab out and put a lighter to it and nice blue flame that you could almost not see. Then took a shot of it, and yup, corn liquor!
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Post by DiggerD on Sat May 22, 2010 11:35 am

You are a braver man than I !! Shocked I don't think I could have done that.

Since this is an automotive forum, here are some auto related pickins I have made. (not VW but old and cool nonetheless).

NOS front motor support for model A & AA Fords:
DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Fordmotorsupportbox

NOS Ford spindle and bushing kit:
DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Fordspindlekit

Front badge for a Mercury:
DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Mercuryemblemf

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Mercuryemblemfdetail

NOS Packard tie rod:

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Packard
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Post by zabo on Sat May 22, 2010 2:33 pm

nice finds - love tht mercury badge too..

When we were at edisto beach last year my son and met up with this guy that takes you places and rents you metal detectors, we found a few bullets a cool button and some sewing materials all civil war era. nothing worth anything but a lot of fun.

Been wanting to get a metal detector since then but the prices have been keeping me away.
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Post by DiggerD on Sun May 23, 2010 10:08 pm

Some more stuff:

Old dynamite box:

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Dynamitebox

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Dynamiteboxopen

Knights Templar fraternal sword with carring case:

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Knightstemplarsword

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Knightstemplarsword2

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Knightstemplarsword3

Schlitz salt & pepper shakers:

DiggerD's pickins & diggins..... Schlitzsaltpeppershaker
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