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  #1  
Old 06-29-2020, 03:27 PM
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Default Finding Civil War sites?

What are the secrets to finding Civil War sites that might not be well documented or documented at all? I know there were many camps in my area but I've tried searching the internet to see if any of the locations of these camps were documented. There's a couple that were but not much info. Even just in my town....given that there was a high amount of CW activity here....I'd assume many of the soldiers were camped here and there. I guess it might just end up being luck finding a site but if there's a way to take some luck out of it and increase my odds with some research...I'd love to learn how.
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  #2  
Old 06-29-2020, 03:38 PM
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I found one of my better sites with luck first. My research after the fact has mostly been with the Library of Congress online archives. I also found a local who did a blog years ago and most of his work came from reading the published journals of the local generals. So you might look to see if people from your area were published too. I've come to find that a lot of the cw fighting was skirmishes and picket fighting and unfortunately wasn't documented too well. Even being over the bridge from DC my spots have no named battle site to research.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:43 PM
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Thanks. I'm not too far from you it seems. I'm in Romney, WV so only a couple hours from DC. I haven't done any detecting in VA yet. My town is pretty rich in CW history and activity but not much fighting other than a few small skirmishes here and there...several documents and I'm sure a handful that were not. I'm just getting into this and finding it insanely interesting. Wish I would have started a long time ago.
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  #4  
Old 07-02-2020, 04:37 PM
brhoderick brhoderick is offline
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Nubster-

I am like you, in a rich area for CW and new to the hobby. I am in Williamsport, MD area. Trying to learn from everyone on here for research tips. Good luck
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  #5  
Old 07-02-2020, 04:57 PM
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Yeah...there's a handful of spots in my area that are well known thus well detected...but it's the little or unknown spots I'd like to figure out how to find. And maybe there's not a way but just luck or maybe some word of mouth info that's been handed down over the years about that place where a bunch of soldiers camps or a small skirmish not documented or a hitching post that wasn't reported...that kinda thing.
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Nubster View post
Thanks. I'm not too far from you it seems. I'm in Romney, WV so only a couple hours from DC. I haven't done any detecting in VA yet. My town is pretty rich in CW history and activity but not much fighting other than a few small skirmishes here and there...several documents and I'm sure a handful that were not. I'm just getting into this and finding it insanely interesting. Wish I would have started a long time ago.
Yeah, I've not been out your way but it's closeish. The skirmish sites will be hard to find, but plenty of places had undocumented picket shootings, hunting party fights, etc. Try to look on maps for old roads, water supplies, and clearings. That can help you find the areas to search.
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Old 07-02-2020, 11:33 PM
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First, get as many maps as possible and match them to current maps so you know the roads they would have traveled. When the roads cross waterways, remember that the manual of arms says "always camp on the side of the water you plan on leaving from." If the water is fordable be sure to hunt the fords. Look for mill sites. We have found that the best way to find camps around the mills is to look for the highest grounds around the mill and check those sites. Old home sites that existed during the war would almost always have soldiers around them. Just a few of my techniques.
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  #8  
Old 07-12-2020, 01:16 PM
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The official records of the civil war helps. I have a subscription to newspaper.com and it has a ton of info also.

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  #9  
Old 07-16-2020, 10:48 AM
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I read a lot of historical stuff and have a particular interest in military, guerilla,
irregulars, economic and political history of that era and even the antebellum time. There are a fair number of published memoirs of subordinate officers and associated scouts, collaborators, spys and even somewhat involved local residents of that era, that can be identified, procured and read for very local information. And don't fail to read available diaries of the wives, mothers and sisters for detailed info. Mary Chesnut, the diarist of that era, is an example.
Some of these sources can be a tad boring, but still useful, but others can be fascinating for people interested in history, and, particularly, military/war years history. Genealogical groups, local historical orgs
If you are really into it, try to identify the actual military units and construct a timeline for the comings and goings of the sundry units when they are in a set area of interest. USGS topographic maps would be useful to plot stuff on. Some are available online. You may even be able to track down some of the earliest topo maps and see on them where villages and structures existed not that long after the war.
It has been said that an army moves on its stomach. they would generally try to camp near good water in sufficient volume for themselves and their livestock. They would all forage for provisions. These activities would also possible hit the radar screens of local agriculturists, which was lots of people in that era.
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Old 08-03-2020, 01:33 PM
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Good info here.... Just getting back into the swing of things. About 30 minutes from me is camp ford which was a POW camp during the CW. Will use info here to see if I can't map out travel routes to & from the camp. Any other advice is appreciated as well.
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  #11  
Old 10-01-2020, 10:39 AM
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Great info here! I'm in middle GA and noticing that Wilson's Raiders passed through my area. Been meaning to try and find some sites for some time.
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  #12  
Old 10-01-2020, 12:29 PM
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Check with the local Historical Society if there is one in your area. They can suggest reading material, are normally very knowledgeable and eager to share information until you mention metal detecting. Just my opinion, some HS members would rather see artifacts rust away in the dirt than be saved in a private collection.

Ken
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  #13  
Old 10-02-2020, 04:38 PM
cruisaire cruisaire is offline
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Follow Duggaps advice!


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  #14  
Old 11-29-2020, 02:49 AM
roaddust66 roaddust66 is offline
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Find two towns that had armies camped there , find the original road bed that ran between the two towns , find a large spring , look across the road from the spring where the really high ground is , that is where they camped. Across from a spring on very high ground.
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  #15  
Old 11-29-2020, 02:53 AM
roaddust66 roaddust66 is offline
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they did not have a problem camping in or around an old cemetery , the wanted a very high defensible position and they wanted to be dry
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  #16  
Old 05-02-2021, 12:55 AM
metalNovice metalNovice is offline
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Originally Posted by 7centsworth View post
The official records of the civil war helps. I have a subscription to newspaper.com and it has a ton of info also.
Interesting information. When you search newspaper.com what terms are you searching? Can you give a few examples of your process from start to finish?

By the way, cool god in your picture.
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  #17  
Old 05-02-2021, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by duggap View post
First, get as many maps as possible and match them to current maps so you know the roads they would have traveled. When the roads cross waterways, remember that the manual of arms says "always camp on the side of the water you plan on leaving from." If the water is fordable be sure to hunt the fords. Look for mill sites. We have found that the best way to find camps around the mills is to look for the highest grounds around the mill and check those sites. Old home sites that existed during the war would almost always have soldiers around them. Just a few of my techniques.
Where can you find old maps? I tried loc.gov and didn't seem to find much helpful.
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  #18  
Old 05-02-2021, 08:10 AM
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On the internet, the secret is "Digital Libraries". You can get maps from the Library of Congress web site, the NOAA site is excellent. State archives is also helpful.
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  #19  
Old 05-02-2021, 01:53 PM
quicksilver82 quicksilver82 is offline
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I just downloaded an app this morning. Itís called civilwarbattlemaps, I havenít really gotten into what it can do yet, but it may help.
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  #20  
Old 05-25-2021, 03:28 PM
bugman bugman is offline
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I stumbled on a Confederate calvary camp by detecting around some overflowing artisan wells. Troops had to have a water source. EU
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