The old bullet

13 Feb

Yesterday at lunch time, I met up with Friendly Metal Detecting Forum member, Stevouke for a quick hunt at the oldest park in Wichita. Stevo was sick with the flu but he gallantly charged on.

After 45 minutes or so and after having dug two wheat cents and an assortment of rusted iron bits, I got what I thought was a good dime signal. I dug the plug and somewhere between six and seven inches, I found this:


I don’t ordinarily get excited about bullets as I find so many of them in our parks (!). In fact, during this hunt I found another bullet, that one with the cartridge attached. However, the bulk and weight of this bullet, plus the rings at the bottom, were strikingly reminiscent of Civil War bullets dug by the guys down south.

Obviously this is not a CW artifact as it was found in a most definite non-civil war site, but it could be from the period. I know next to nothing about bullets but Stevo found a web site with excellent pictures of various bullets used during that terrible conflict. There was activity in these parts around that time. Traders and others were venturing across the plains before the Civil War even started. The Chisholm trail cuts right through Wichita and other trails ran nearby.

At any rate, I now understand the excitement the relic hunters feel when they find stuff like this. Relics, I’ve said before, connect you to the past in a much more personal level than coins do.

length width

My boys were very excited to see the bullet and this led to a conversation about the Civil War. They were both solemnly silent as they felt the heavy weight of the bullet in their hands. I could see their imagination churning as they admired the massive projectile. And even though we are not gun owners or gun fans, the history that was brought to life by this bullet, made the bullet the coolest find of the year thus far.

Thank you for looking!


4 Responses to “The old bullet”

  1. S.C. February 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Amazing the things you can find in the ground. This makes me want to go metal detecting.

  2. John M February 15, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    Cool find indeed! You definitely appear to have a Minie ball there, looks like .58 caliber, unfired or (if there are rifling scores on it) fired but spent without impact. Otherwise it would be deformed. Obsolete after around 1866, the .58 caliber bullet was used in both the 1855 and 1861 Springfield rifled muskets. Maybe what you have there is an artifact from the 1855-1861 “Bleeding Kansas” struggle that produced the likes of the Jayhawkers and Border Ruffians.

    • yaquigrande February 15, 2013 at 9:08 am #

      Wow! that’s very interesting!! Thanks John.


  1. O.T.C. | The Dirt Is Good To Me - May 13, 2016

    […] Very early on in Wichita, the Chisholm creek ran a very close to where this park is. Just 2 or 3 blocks away, one of Wichita’s earliest mills was built at the edge of the creek. I imagine that people came hunting around the creek as wild life would have concentrated there. I have found a good number of old bullets at this park, including a large .58 caliber mini ball from a Springfield rifle. […]

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