Our Favorite Civil War Artifact Stories

Civil War Artifact Stories

We recently worked the 38th Annual Southeastern Civil War and Antique Gun Show in Marietta, GA. In addition to enjoying the rich history on display, we also got a chance to visit with some old friends. I was reminded of the time many of us spent together just a year before, trading stories of some of our favorite Civil War artifacts and recoveries. In case you missed it, here’s a small sampling…

Duck River Civil War Camps of Co. Aytch

Approximately 30 years ago, Larry Hicklen of Middle Tennessee Civil War Relics uncovered one of the most prized artifacts that he’s ever found while searching the exact Duck River camp that Sam Watkins writes about in Chapter 7 of his memoir, “Co. Aytch.” It was a lead filled, ornate, silver hatpin, identical to that worn by Watkins.

Still an active researcher, historian and relic hunter, Larry also shares one his newest research methods that has led to the discovery of many more Confederate relics. And they say great relic hunters keep their secrets secret!

Colonel Woodward: An Insignificant Little Cuss

John Walsh of Fort Donelson Relics, shared one of the most humorous stories of the evening…

“Colonel Woodward did not weigh more than 110 lbs, had long curling hair flowing over his shoulders. His very small legs were stuck in high cavalry boots reaching above his knees; and on which, was an enormous pair of Mexican spurs. He had a cavalry saber that was much too long for him and an army pistol attached to his belt; which contrasted with his size, looked like a small cannon. His grey pantaloons were stuffed in his boot, while a dark grey hunting shirt with a narrow brimmed corduroy slouch hat completed his apparel. All this, with an extremely dust-begrimed face, made a picture ridiculously amusing.”

That’s an eyewitness description of the man that Colonel Rodney Mason of the 71st Ohio had surrendered the city of Clarksville, TN to on August 18. 1862. After being paroled by his Confederate captors, Col. Mason asked Col. Woodward for a favor. Col. Mason wanted to pay to have Col. Woodward’s picture taken. Why you might ask?

Great Seal of the State of Georgia

As Butch Holcombe (of American Digger Magazine fame) was searching a hillside, his metal detector sang a promising signal. After kicking over a few leaves to better pinpoint the signal, Butch saw the back of a box plate. The kind of accoutrement that would have adorned a Civil War soldier’s cartridge box. Butch knelt down and picked up the plate hoping the reverse side would reveal the letters CSA. Much to his surprise, dismay, and sheer excitement, the Great Seal of the State of Georgia was staring back at him. He had found a Georgia cartridge box accoutrement plate!

For more feature stories, check out our other interviews.


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