American Civil War in the News is a edited review of American Civil War related news and articles, providing collection of hand-picked 1861-1865 era history.

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Battlefield relic hunters - American Civil War

Latest hand-picked Civil War news and articles.

Confederate POW camp items unearthed by archeologists (photos)
Pipes, coins, jewelry, spoon and buttons... just some of the prisoner's items from one of the largest Confederate prison camps. An archeology team led by Kevin Chapman of Georgia Southern University first made the finds from Camp Lawton, in Millen, Ga. The items were likely left behind by POWs hastily moved away as General Sherman advanced on Atlanta in 1864 during the Union march across the Georgia and South Carolina. Camp Lawton only existed for 6 weeks, holding 10,000 prisoners, of whom about 1,300 perished during their stay.

Collectors with metal detectors try to save Civil War relics at construction site
The battle of Stones River was one of the biggest of the Civil War. The real battlefield unfolds beyond the national park that preserves the historic site. Collectors are seeking to save Civil War relics at a Murfreesboro construction site before they disappear forever. Over the past two days, Gordon Roberts and his friends are finding a lot of objects such as a knife handle and bullets. "It's really exciting, digging up history and holding it in your hand. You know, the last person to touch it was a Civil War soldier." The project is a joint feat between the Cumberland Plateau and Middle Tennessee Metal Detectors clubs and Middle Tennessee State University.

Relic hunter charged with stealing an artillery shell that was stuck in the wall for 140 years   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Relic hunter Timothy Clary is charged with stealing a Civil War artillery shell that was in the brick wall of a building on West Bank Street for over 140 years. Two of the three original charges (destruction of property, use of explosives) where dropped, but he still faces one charge of grand larceny, which could result in a prison sentence. Attorney Richard Newman dropped the first two charges after an agreement between Clary and the owners of the building. "It's one thing to go search property with a metal detector. But this man actually put a ladder on the wall of a house that wasn't his."

National parks looted of artifacts and heritage by relic hunters
Ransacking archaeological items from national parks - such as Native American pottery and Civil War relics - is increasing as demand for such items rises on the world market. Over the past decade, an average of 340 "significant" looting cases have been accounted early at the 391 national parks, historic sites and battlefields - likely less than 25% of the real number of thefts, says park service staff ranger Greg Lawler. The most sought after items can cost "in the tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars." Thieves caught at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park sold a Confederate belt buckle for $3,300 and buttons for $200 each.

Third caught relic hunter gets 2 years
The last of 3 men caught relic hunting on Spotsylvania Court House battlefield has been sentenced. Jeremy Burroughs get 2 years in jail and was ordered to pay $28,600 in restitution to the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. In March, Burroughs and two other men, Fenton E. Terembes Jr. and Vincent E. Williams were caught by a park ranger who saw them digging in the national park. Their metal detectors and the relics they unearthed were confiscated. Among the items were bullets, and a Confederate belt buckle. "These are public property and owned by future generations. Once these artifacts are gone and in private collections, they cannot be replaced."

Civil War relic hunter finds the ultimate find - C.S.A. belt buckle
Everyone I told that I was metal detecting asked me: "Have you ever found a belt buckle?" A C.S.A. (Confederate States of America) belt buckle is the ultimate find. U.S. belt buckles were manufactured by the tens of thousands. C.S.A. Buckles were nowhere near as plentiful. I have visited several Civil War relic shops and relic shows and have seen a total of 20 C.S.A. Buckles, valued $2,500-$3,200. Last summer... I asked the man if he knew of any Civil War activity up there, and I asked for permission to metal detect. His answer was "yes." His son told me that there was a spring. Soldiers need water to drink, bathe and water their horses....

Relic hunters tear up Military park's Redoubt, stole America's heritage   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Relic hunters stole America's heritage when they left 100 holes around the Texas Memorial in the Vicksburg National Military Park. "The park is continually plagued by varying degrees of looting, digging and excavation. They're stealing America's heritage." Archaeologists and historians with the National Park Service arrived from Florida to begin processing the crime scene, which extended west of the memorial near a Confederate marker to the Railroad Redoubt. The Texas Memorial is on the south loop of Confederate Avenue at the Railroad Redoubt. "It was the only fort penetrated by Union forces."

Fredericksburg battlefield Relic Looters seized
March 11th, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park ranger Chuck Lochart saw 3 men, Fenton Terembes, Jeremy Burroughs and Vincent Williams, metal-detecting and digging relics up in the Spotsylvania battlefield. They were apprehended as they left the park. Their metal-detecting equipment and nearly 200 artifacts were seized. Over 450 excavated holes were found on and around park earthworks.

More remnants of battle uncovered at Antietam
In a sun-dappled field researchers armed with metal detectors listened for evidence from America's bloodiest day. Stephen R. Potter said that the group was studying an area of Piper Orchard where the 7th Maine fled from a smaller Confederate force. "I don't think they would've been able to drive the Maine guys back if they wouldn't have had the artillery that they had, because what we're finding out here is pretty nasty stuff." The locations of shrapnel and bullets helps the team determine troop movements, such as the retreat line of the fleeing 7th Maine, which was ordered to attack a Confederate unit.

Archeologists finding civil war artifacts at Nash Farm Battlefield   (Article no longer available from the original source)
An archeological survey is conducted at the Nash Farm Battlefield in southern Henry County to map the area and catalog relics and artifacts at the site. So far more than 100 artifacts, including Union and Confederate ammunition, horeshoes and bridle rings, have been found. "To find this much so quickly in such a compact location is not typical. And it is rarer still to find concentrations of calvary artifacts... Henry County has done a wonderful thing by preserving the history here," said Dan Elliott. Two Civil War battles were fought at the site: Kilpatrick's Union Calvary Raid and the Battle of Jonesboro.

Civil War relic hunts thrill hunters, irritate historians
Large Civil War relic hunts are a relatively new phenomenon in Virginia. The Grand National Relic Shootout at Crow's Nest, with about 150 participants, is the second in the area this year. Though most privately owned area sites have been picked, there's plenty left to find. Union soldiers in Stafford left behind bullets, uniform buttons and belt buckles, pieces of bayonets, rifles, remnants of canteens and the like. Though many relic hunters document what they've found and where, some are in it for the money. Rare belt buckles sell for thousands of dollars. Almost any Civil War artifact are sought by collectors.

Bronze cannons stolen from Civil War memorial
For the second time in 144 years, thieves disarmed the Sumner H. Needham Memorial - the final resting place of Lawrence's famous Civil War soldier. By stealing the two bronze cannons - replicas of the originals stolen from atop the 7-foot high monument more than a half century ago - they also dishonored the grave site of one of the nation's first soldiers to die from combat wounds in the War between the States. Debate rages as to who was the nation's first Civil War soldier to die in the line of duty. Anyway, Needham was the first Lawrencian to die while fighting for the Union army.

Man hunts for Confederate treasure in Danville   (Article no longer available from the original source)
What if government records of the Confederacy were discovered underground? Add to that tantalizing possibility: Gold, silver and jewels that would now be worth millions. It might just be fantasy. However, Todd Hall believes he's located the lost Confederate Treasury. "Through the years of research, I've pretty much decided it's here, right here in Danville." In the final days of the Confederacy -- in April, 1865 -- the Confederate Treasury was loaded onto a train in Richmond. It's an accepted fact that the train made it to Danville. Was that the end of the line? Or did it reach Georgia?

Organized hunts for relics raise dust between participants, historians
"Did you hear?" asked one relic hunter. "Yeah. A Mississippi plate. Absolutely perfect." The proud new owner of the Confederate belt plate embossed with an eagle held out his treasure. "That's $12,000 right there." It was the prize find of a 3-day relic hunt, one of a new breed of organized digs. More than 200 relic hunters hauled metal detectors up and down the hills. But to alarmed archaeologists these safari digs -- though legal -- represent the destruction of the past. Stripping sites of their artifacts strips the ability to learn what stories they could tell.