Civil War Camp



I got permission yesterday to search a civil war training camp area, it was there for 3 months and over 800 men trained. There is a wooded area, and also a disked 4 acre field. This area has never been searched. It is located up on a ridge. They also told me that there was a dump used by the camp and I think they know where it is located. I am a total newbie, just got my first detector Wednesday, so I will need all the clues and tips I can get. I can't hardly wait to get started. I purchased a white xlt detector. I've been reading the manual and practicing with it, but am total lost so far about the meter. I get a reading of coins with a positive number, then the bars or bar, which ever it may be, and a pretty loud tone, then, turn on the trigger, when both of the bars are even, i assume that the target is right under the coil, I dig and find nothing, what am I doing wrong? I need some information so I can get started on the camp site. The detector has some preset programs on it, one is relics, is this the preset mode that I need to use when searching the camp site? If any of you are near So. Illinois, contact me, and I would be happy to have you search this area with me. Hoping for some great advice and information. Thanks

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tennessee jed

Jr. Member
Mar 27, 2003
dude, if you know this is a civil war site! be cool and do not let any one in on it!!!!!!. im not an a--! but you will find out that if you tell someone about a site,the next time you will see them is at that site!!! go digging at the site and you will learn your detector ! ! good luck D




Thanks for the advice, however, I am not a dude! lol, I am a, guess that would make me a dudette..hehe



Full Member
Apr 3, 2003
Detector(s) used
Whites GMT
Sandy; I know zip about relic hunting and being from Canada I know even less about the war between the states. I do agree with Jed though about protecting your site. In prospecting I find that about 50% of people are claim jumpers so tell no one unless you have to. I was going to say except a trusted friend or 2 but then someone else would know about you site and the cat might well get out of the bag.
I hope to be getting a Whites myself in the next week or so but I will gladly pay a premium to get it locally and with good after sales service/advise. I truly hope you have a fun and productive time. Fred


Jim Mayo

If it is a CW camp that has not been hunted you won't need to use the meter. Should be lots of stuff to find by sound. Be advised that camp stories are made up all the time. If the camp was there you may have to do some walking to find it. Seldom are they exactly where they are supposed to be. It almost seems like the CW soldiers enjoyed throwing a curve ball or two when it came to their camp sites.

Good Luck




I found my first mini ball, and the person with me found one a little larger than mine and a eagle infantry button, so, it looks like we may be near where the camp was! :-)


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Sr. Member
Apr 6, 2003
South Carolina
🥇 Banner finds
Detector(s) used
Teknetics T2 SE, Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Shadow X5, Fisher F75/F70, Garrett Infinium
Primary Interest:
Relic Hunting
If it's large enough, you'll know when you're in the middle of it....also, don't assume a site hasn't been hunted just because the landowner tells you it hasn't...if it't a known site (recorded training ground, etc.) somebody has probably been there...but don't let that discourage you already said you've made a couple of finds. As far as the meter goes...ignor it (I hate machines with any kind of TID anyway, because it makes you think too much about "to dig or not to dig") and dig everything. Set disc. just high enough to knock out the small iron like square nails, you'll be able to ID larger iron by the sound or broken signals, etc. whatever your machine does on iron...and dig everything else. Remember too, even iron in campsites can be good, ie., gun parts for example. HH...if I were in IL I'd be happy to help! Sorry, I'm in SC.


Jun 27, 2003
Hi Sandy,

I agree with most of what the guys are saying below. I have been CW relic hunting for the better part of 40 years now. When we first started around here the machines didn't have meters or even discriminators for that matter. You basically just dug everything that the machine detected.

Usually that is the best approch when in a Civil War camp. Dig every signal.......this will serve two purposes, you won't be worried that you have missed something good and secondly you will learn your machine much quicker by digging every signal and logging away in your mind what each one was and how it sounded and where it read on your meter. It won't take very long and you will be a pro.

After you are comfortable that you know your machine you will be able to disc. out all those junk signals. You will also learn that ground conditions will make a meter alot less reliable than what the tell you in the brochures and on TV. I still dig just about everything when in a known CW camp.

Good luck



Full Member
Mar 27, 2003
SouthEast NC
Detector(s) used
DMC-II,Cibola,Excaliber,Whites PI, AT Max
the guys are right on a lot of points.Dig it alone or with a trusted confidant.Digging is not a social activity.Dig all your readings until you get a good handle on what your machine will do,small buttons can easily be knocked out do to discrimination.The meter is a gimmick that will mislead you,don't trust it.Don't start telling about all your finds untill you are ready for others to come in.People will follow you and come right in,I know from experience.Get some reference books to help ID what you find and document everything.What you will be doing is a study and to properly document your finds will add to their value and add to the history of the area.Cover up all your digholes so the landowner doesn't get disgruntled and so other diggers won't happen on it.I have found good places to dig by finding fresh digholes in out of the way spots.And protect the relics,carry them in protective containers,film cans with cotton balls for buttons and coins,wrap other stuff.I don't let my bullets touch each other because it knocks off the patina.Good luck!!!

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