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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. Read more

Since the time of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), and perhaps before then, soldiers across every continent have spent their idle time converting military accoutrements and implements of war into decorative pieces of art. Common materials used to create such artwork include bone, artillery shells, lead bullets, canteens, and brass shell casings.

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