The campsites of both union and confederate troops, as well as battle and skirmish sites, can be treasure trove’s for all Civil War enthusiasts. Whether you are a seasoned digger or unboxing your first metal detector, the process and methods on finding a site to search will be the same. I’m going to share with you my tips and methods I find extremely useful to have a successful dig. Growing up in northern Virginia, a mile and a half from Harpers Ferry, I was thankfully spoiled with sites I was able to dig. You could swing your machine in almost any field in the valley and find some sort of historical relic. Now don’t be mistaken, this will not be the case in every location, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to find. You would be surprised with the amount of Civil War relics I have found around Civil War and prior house foundations. These sites have proven to be hotspots for relics due to the fact that soldiers would frequent houses and other structures for food, shelter, etc.

About two years ago, I moved from my hometown in northern VA down to Lynchburg Virginia area. The city of Lynchburg was a Central rail hub for the Civil War as well as having a battle take place in July 1864. Automatically any Civil War enthusiast would think that you could just go out and start digging anywhere. The first few attempts of searching properties delivered only junk. It seemed as if the city had grown and taken over all sites that could hold relics. The first thing I decided to do was use the trusty Library of Congress website. I typed in historical maps of Lynchburg Virginia and the first photo that popped up was a map drawn by a confederate engineer. This map showed every homesite in Campbell and Amherst County in 1864, nearly 120 homesites. That is where I started my search for historical relics in my new town. One thing that most people look over are the locals. Just talking with people, introducing yourself and sharing the love of your hobby with them will lead to historical information coming out.

Shortly after moving here and making friends, I was referred to a lady that lived about 2 1/2 miles down the road from me. After further research, I found a thesis written by a Virginia Tech student about the city of Lynchburg during the Civil War. It was filled with piles and piles of awesome information about certain campsites and homesites locations of earthworks and the list goes on. The site that I was referred to, that I am currently still digging, turned out to be a 1000 yard long line of confederate artillery entrenchment‘s and rifle pits guarding the northern attack from Yankee cavalry on the city of Lynchburg. Since then I’ve been using the maps and information found online and from the locals and have been able to secure around a dozen other sites that still to this day produce relics. You have to remember that this hobby isn’t as easy as walking into the field and swinging your machine. You have to put the time, research and energy into finding these sites.

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