Recent Find Relics found at site of the great Union encampment at Raleigh NC at war's end

A. Roy

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Location
Raleigh, North Carolina
This week I visited the area of Dorothea Dix Park here in Raleigh, North Carolina. After the surrender of the city on 13 April 1865, the park, formerly the state psychiatric hospital (called the "Insane Asylum" during the Civil War era), was the site of the Union encampment when Gen. Sherman's army arrived -- troops might have been encamped all around the city, but the area to the south around Dix Hill had a particular concentration. For that reason, this area has always been of special interest to Civil War enthusiasts and relic hunters.

I had heard that there was a display of relics at the Raleigh Farmers Market off of Lake Wheeler Road near Dix Hill. I went to the administration building at the Farmers Market and found the relics displayed in two light boxes in the entry and lobby of the building. Before the market was built in 1988 (actually site work had already started), a group of volunteers got permission to spend a weekend investigating the site. They found a number of relics, including a bayonet, a cannonball (I think), and even a harmonica. Forum members here might be able to give a better identification of these items.


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One interesting detail is that the plaques in the two light boxes differ slightly in the way the Civil War is referred to. One plaque calls it "The War Between the States," but the other calls it "The War of Northern Aggression" -- a phrase I hadn't encountered for a while!


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One thing that has especially sparked my interest in Dix Hill and the surrounding area is that the City of Raleigh just released an ambitious new master plan for development of Dorothea Dix Park (the city bought the site from the state of North Carolina a few years ago). If development proceeds according to the plan, remaining Civil War sites and artifacts could be lost.


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Here on this detail from the Drayton map (drawn up by Union engineers after the war), I've indicated approximately where these relics were found. You can see where Dix hospital was. The city of Raleigh was surrounded by earthworks during the war, and the wall can be seen running across the hospital grounds, with two redans along that stretch.


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Al B.
 

nc native

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 30, 2011
Location
NC Piedmont
Development has gotten way out of hand in Wake County and threatens not only historical sites like Dix Hill but the few remaining open areas of natural beauty that surround Raleigh and in its suburbs. I've got an old metal detector that I received as a birthday present a few years ago and after seeing that collection of relics that were found around Dix Park, it makes me wonder what one might find in other areas along the path of Sherman's march through Wake County. I have never found any Civil War relics but I have found quite a few arrowheads, hide scrapers, stone knives and other artifacts from what was probably a Woodland Indian encampment on the small farm I grew up on not far from the Neuse River in Eastern Wake County.
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Laurinburg NC
Development has gotten way out of hand in Wake County and threatens not only historical sites like Dix Hill but the few remaining open areas of natural beauty that surround Raleigh and in its suburbs. I've got an old metal detector that I received as a birthday present a few years ago and after seeing that collection of relics that were found around Dix Park, it makes me wonder what one might find in other areas along the path of Sherman's march through Wake County. I have never found any Civil War relics but I have found quite a few arrowheads, hide scrapers, stone knives and other artifacts from what was probably a Woodland Indian encampment on the small farm I grew up on not far from the Neuse River in Eastern Wake County.
I have found stuff (mostly buttons and dropped bullets) left by Sherman army laying on top of the ground in ploughed fields while looking for Indian artifacts. I have friends who metal detect and they really find a lot.
 

A. Roy

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Location
Raleigh, North Carolina
Development has gotten way out of hand in Wake County and threatens not only historical sites like Dix Hill but the few remaining open areas of natural beauty that surround Raleigh and in its suburbs. I've got an old metal detector that I received as a birthday present a few years ago and after seeing that collection of relics that were found around Dix Park, it makes me wonder what one might find in other areas along the path of Sherman's march through Wake County.

I grew up in the area south of Dix Hill that used to be called Ramcat (Rhamkatte). Between our neighborhood and Dix was mostly woods and state farmland. I do remember stories of Civil War relics turning up in fields, and my brother found a beautiful arrowhead in the area once.

I have mixed feelings about development. People need places to work and to live, so I guess it's understandable and inevitable. I do think it would be wise and beneficial for property development to include archaeological evaluation and historic preservation in any project, as well as preservation of green and open space.

Al B.
 

A. Roy

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Location
Raleigh, North Carolina
I have found stuff (mostly buttons and dropped bullets) left by Sherman army laying on top of the ground in ploughed fields while looking for Indian artifacts. I have friends who metal detect and they really find a lot.

You're in Laurinburg, right? I guess that area would have been in the path of Sherman's army coming up from South Carolina. So that would be logical to turn up artifacts around there.

Al B.
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Laurinburg NC
You're in Laurinburg, right? I guess that area would have been in the path of Sherman's army coming up from South Carolina. So that would be logical to turn up artifacts around there.

Al B.
His army was all cover the county. I found a dropped .69 calibre mini ball in a field about a mile behind where I grew up. My friends with metal detectors later found six or seven more in the same field.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Development has gotten way out of hand in Wake County and threatens not only historical sites like Dix Hill but the few remaining open areas of natural beauty that surround Raleigh and in its suburbs. I've got an old metal detector that I received as a birthday present a few years ago and after seeing that collection of relics that were found around Dix Park, it makes me wonder what one might find in other areas along the path of Sherman's march through Wake County. I have never found any Civil War relics but I have found quite a few arrowheads, hide scrapers, stone knives and other artifacts from what was probably a Woodland Indian encampment on the small farm I grew up on not far from the Neuse River in Eastern Wake County.
Apparently you can't stop progress, just look what happened in Fayetteville at the arsenal with BR 401 bisecting the grounds...….
 
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