some comments and pictures from my recent trip to McDowell, Virginia. The week after I spoke at the commemoration of the150th anniversary of the Battle of McDowell, I had the privilege of doing some metal detecting on private land near the battlefield. The terrain was tough - steep, lots of underbrush and low-hanging limbs and slippery from all the recent rains. It also started to drizzle right after I got there to hunt for what I had hoped was going to be three to four hours. But I was only there a little over an hour, then it started to pour and I had to cut my exploration short. However, I was able to recover a .64 caliber musket ball. The size threw me so I did a little research and found out that it could be "a .64 caliber paper patched ball cartridge for a Hall Carbine. The carbine was built by Bizhar, Hall Company in Virginia for the Confederacy from 1862-1864." According to one source, there were only about 400 of these made.
The timing and location are right, but I don't know if mine is one of these rare Confederate musket balls or if there is even any way to know with any reasonable amount of certainty. But what really made this recovery significant was the date I pulled it from the ground: May the 8th, 2012 - 150 years to the day Stonewall Jackson secured a Confederate victory at the Battle of McDowell and marking the beginning of his legendary Valley Campaign. I'm going to frame it, along with this letter of appreciation from the Highland Historical Society for my presentation at the 150th anniversary of the battle. Hopefully, one day, my grandchildren will appreciate the history and heritage of these items.
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