02 April 2012

Metal Detecting Post #70 - Sabot Recovery

Long time friend and relic hunting partner, Doug Hill, met up with me in Culpeper County (on private property near Brandy Station) week before last to dig Civil War relics for three days. Doug made some great finds, including a US belt plate. (More on that in an upcoming video). But his best find of the hunt was a very rare Dyer canister sabot. Not sure about the details, he contacted noted author and CW artillery expert, Pete George for help with identification. Mr. George responded with the following:

I should begin by stating that Dyer's Canister is quite a rare version of canister. Jine, on a strict "number of specimens known" scale of rarity, your 3" Dyer Canister sabot was one of the very rarest items found at the DIV hunt ...even more rare than some of the Confederate buttons and buckles found at that hunt. The "Field-recovered" evidence indicates Dyer Canister ammo was used almost only by the Army of the Potomac, and only in the first 24 months following the Battle of Manassas (July 1861). The overwhelming majority of fired Dyer Canister sabots and slugs have come from 1862-to-mid-1863 battle sites in Virginia. In my 34 years of living in Virginia and digging for artillery projectiles at many dozens of major and minor Virginia battlesites, I've found only one Dyer Canister sabot. It was at the May 1863 battle of Salem Church, which part of the Chancellorsville Campaign. That was also the only place I've dug any Dyer Canister "slugs." Apparently, Dyer Canister was gradually superceded by the arrival of Hotchkiss Canister, which first shows up in mid-1862 sites, and remained in widespread use through the end of the war. Regards, Pete

Congratulations Doug on a great recovery and on saving that very rare piece of history!


13thBama said...

Interesting! Am I correct in thinking it has a piece missing from it?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hey 13B - I don't think so. The hole in the center is from firing.

Douglas Hill said...

Thanks Rick!!! I didn't realize you created this post (AWOL, again). While it's not much to look at, being nothing but an ugly hunk of lead, it has become a favorite find.

Pete did say that hole was from the cannon blast, so a good piece of the center is missing. That was a relief to me, knowing that the damage is "period".

Thanks again, I look forward to seeing your gem of a lead piece too!


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hey Doug - I'm trying to get all the pieces I found cleaned up a bit first - except for the horseshoes. Soon . . .

So we can both mark sabots off our list. ;o) Nice find!

Douglas Hill said...

As I stated when you found that sabot, that was as fine of one as I'd ever seen; it remains so. I guess mine might be a rarer specimen, but she ain't near as purdy!