During the American Civil War (1861-1865), soldiers on both sides of the conflict spent more time in camp; or marching, than they did fighting. While resting in camp, soldiers wrote letters to loved ones, read, smoked, played music, gambled, or whittled away their worries on just about any object they could get their hands on. And for most soldiers, their ammo pouch provided the perfect material.
Most commonly found in camps, lead bullets were carefully carved into chess pieces or other unique works of art, while others were purposefully flattened and shaped into game pieces.
As a longtime Civil War artifact collector, carved bullets have long been one of my favorite relics to find and collect. Knowing that each piece was once held, whittled, and shaped into a unique sculpture by a soldier, one can only wonder who that soldier was. What were they thinking? Who did they leave back home? What horrors had they seen? Did they survive the war?
Carved Civil War Bullets Photo Gallery
To help illustrate the uniqueness of these fascinating artifacts, I photographed a few of my favorite pieces to share with you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!