I struggled knowing that this camp still had much more to offer I couldn’t get it out of my head. There was no doubt in my mind that this cavalry camp had to be holding more than a few bullets and common general service eagle buttons. My mind was set on recovering a sword hanger, martingale, maybe some spurs, sword belt plate, or a nice Eagle C. After a 45-minute drive I arrived at camp and was ready with the Deus in hand along with the 11” coil. Since I spent most of my time previously working the heavy iron patches, I decided to hunt along the edge of the camp where the iron wasn’t as pronounced. The GMI was showing low ground mineralization and I was not hearing much trash in the ground. This prompted me to raise my sensitivity and lower my reactivity level down to 2.
The first few targets were modern trash, shortly after that I located a nice pocket of Spencer carbine bullets. The XP Deus had no problem locating them roughly 10” deep and spread across an area roughly 10’x10’. Digging a handful of dropped U.S. Civil War bullets is always fun, but I was after the uncommon stuff, the brass. Once I finished cleaning up the bullet signals I began to make my way towards another section of high ground. Then it happened, a large brass signal that nearly blew my ears off. I cautiously sunk my Predator Tool shovel into the ground, tracing out a nice wide plug so I wouldn’t run the risk of damaging the target. I rolled the plug over and saw that awesome color every relic hunter loves to see, GREEN! Right there in the bottom of the plug was a complete U.S. Cavalry spur! Instantly I let off a loud F&^% YEAH! Excuse my French but I’m a U.S. Army Infantry combat veteran, and that’s just how we roll, haha.
Once I finished recovering my freshly dug spur I continued to search the immediate area in hopes for the other spur that might have been left behind. Camp lead, bullets, and modern trash was all that remained in the area. I had a feeling that there must have been something I missed so I decided to go back over the entire section I had just detected, this time with a different frequency. At the time I was running 7kHz, so I went ahead and shifted up to 12kHz and covered the area from a different direction. After 30 minutes of searching I heard a deep faint signal about 25 yards from where I dug the spur. The signal was clean and repeatable, just a bit faint. Signals like this always get me excited because they typically end up being something good.
Once again, I cautiously dug down until the signal was out of the ground and in the loose dirt on top of the grass. I swung the coil over the loose dirt and a very loud and sweet tone came through, I knew it wasn’t a bullet and I knew it was small. Upon moving the dirt around I saw it, a beautiful Eagle C (Cavalry) coat button. This celebration was silent but involved a jersey shore like fist pump. Someone just happen to be driving by while I was celebrating and slowed down to see what I was doing. I just waved and smiled, they shook their head and kept driving, lol. I’m a firm believer in keeping the mood as light as possible while digging, especially when it comes to relic hunting. If you head out to a site with the wrong mindset, you will likely not have a very productive day. Metal detecting can be a mind game at times, keep your mind clear and your mood positive and I promise good things will happen.
I have been fortunate enough to travel to multiple states with my XP Deus in search of American Civil War relics. This specific trip landed me in South Carolina in search of relics from the Battle of Pocotaligo. In 1862, Union Brigadier General Brannan and just over 4000 men boarded 15 transport ships at Hilton Head, SC. His mission was “to destroy the railroad and railroad bridges on the Charleston and Savannah line”. Traversing up the Broad River and arriving at Mackay Point, less than ten miles from the objective. Two Pennsylvania Infantry Regiments headed for Pocotaligo. While two companies of engineers and the 48th New York regiment headed up the Coosawhatchie River with their sights on the Coosawhatchie bridge and later turning towards Pocotaligo destroying railroad tracks while in route.
Located in Pocotaligo were Colonel Walker and his Confederate forces. Walker called for reinforcements from Savannah and Charleston, then deployed his force to intercept the Union forces on two fronts. One at the bridge and the other along with The Beaufort Volunteer Artillery on Mackey Point rd. Brannan’s troops engaged the Confederate forces near an abandoned plantation, as well as contesting against two Confederate cannons. Once Brannan’s forces returned artillery fire, the Confederate forces retreated back to their defensive positions in Pocotaligo. Brannan’s troops pursued but were held up on the edge of a muddy marsh for roughly two hours exchanging small arms and artillery fire against the Confederate forces. Once the Confederate reinforcements arrived and night fell, Brannon while under the cover of darkness, ordered a retreat and returned to Hilton Head.
New York staff cuff button & Eagle Overcoat button likely dropped by the 48th NY and recovered with my XP Deus.
Lunch break in the muddy marsh.
A few months back, I was out hunting a early colonial village that had been abandoned in the woods of central Massachusetts. The site has been a popular location for metal detectorists over the years. Targets are few and far between. I had to get smart and started moving brush and logs out of the way stepping down on barberry bushes to get my coil over the ground. I decided to take a walk into the woods to see if I could locate another cellar that may have been missed by others detectorists over the years.
To my surprise, I came across a very small shallow cellar depression in the ground. I started swinging the DEUS with my 11″ coil over the ground on the outer lip. Running the Hot Program I was getting a lot of low iron signals and some high 98-99 iron signals as well. I usually go by sound mostly so decided to notch out 98-99. After a few minutes I got a faint high tone in between some iron. I dug down and popped the plug out. When I began to pinpoint the hole I pulled out 3 nails and some scrap metal but there was still something there! I swing my coil over to re confirm. Started pinpointing around the hole again and it was driving me crazy because i couldn’t find the target!
Finally after all the nails and junk I narrowed it down to a small pile of dirt. To my surprise I pulled out a complete cuff-link!. Is I cleaned it off I began to see a fancy design that looked like what appeared to be a pineapple. Thinking no more of it I placed it in my pouch and moved on.
Returning home to clean up my finds I realized that the cuff-link design was not a pineapple but in fact a hot air balloon! As I normally do I posted my finds to one of the Facebook groups that I am a part of.
One helpful member was able to shed some light on my hot air balloon cuff-link. Turns out that this cuff-link was made to commemorate the first hot air balloon flight in 1783 (On October 15, 1783, Pilatre de Rozier and Marquis d’Arlandes were the first human passengers on a Montgolfier balloon. The balloon was in free flight, meaning it was not tethered. On January 19, 1784, a huge Montgolfier hot air balloon carried seven passengers to a height of 3,000 feet over the city of Lyons.)”
The public was fascinated by balloon flight, and a craze for all things balloon was firmly established. The rage inspired clothing, jewelry, and just about every conceivable form of adornment for home or person. It illustrates just how momentous the development of flight really was and how the ability to fly has changed our world. That is my story of the finding of the 1780s commemorative cuff-link and my research into understanding the “Balloonania” craze that inspired the design!
~ Jon Tetreault
I have dedicated allot of time to researching Civil War period maps. The best maps you can obtain are those that have been hand drawn by the soldiers or officers that served in the Civil War. Every so often you get lucky and come across the maps by doing an online search and digging deep into the results. Although my favorite and arguably the best way to come across these hand drawn treasure maps is to discover them hidden in a soldier’s journal. Once I acquire a map I upload it to google earth and began the overlay process. Utilizing main roads and nearby water sources as reference points, by doing so I am able to triangulate an area of interest to begin my search. This is where I typically start when locating new spots.
Once I had permission to search the area I set out with the XP Deus in hand. I adjusted my settings to my general search mode. I like to start out with my general search mode and make adjustments as I gain a better understanding of the current ground conditions. As I worked my way up the side of a gentle hill within the first five minutes I heard a very faint but clean repeatable signal. Roughly ten inches below the surface was a dropped Spencer Carbine bullet. Instantly I was amped and knew that I was on the correct path to the camp I had been searching for. Dropped Civil War bullets are an excellent sign, along with melted bullets or (camp lead) as we relic hunters like to call it. These items are typically your first find when searching for a camp.
Continuing my search along the hillside I came to a nice level area that was easily accessible from the nearby period road bed. That’s when it happened, the awesome sound of iron in the ground. Listening for iron pockets is one trick that relics hunters will use, concentrated areas of iron signify previous civilization. Understanding the ground conditions have changed from relatively clean to heavily iron infested. Making adjustments to my settings was crucial to squeezing the most performance out of the XP Deus. I dropped my TX power down to 2, Reactivity was raised to 4, and Sensitivity adjusted to 85, I confirmed that my ground balance was accurate. This camp was loaded with Spencer, Merrill, and Smith carbine bullets. I even recovered a pistol bullet that still had a piece of the paper cartridge attached to it! Along with a few other goodies that I recovered at a later date, but that’s being saved for another story. There were so many targets in the ground, this lead me to believe the camp had not been discovered by past relic hunters. Thanks to the versatility of the XP Deus I was able to capitalize on the changing ground conditions and the results were truly impressive.
Westbrook’s XP Deus General Search Settings
3 Tones, breakpoint 30
Tone 1: 100hz, Tone 2: 100hz, Tone 3: 775hz
TX Power: 3
Iron Vol: 3
Audio Response: 4
Ground Balance: manual