Digging Civil War artifacts more than hobby for re-enactor
Originally published August 17, 2012
By Ike Wilson
C. Paul Martz routinely spends entire weekends digging for Civil War artifacts he describes as buried treasure that should be appreciated and preserved.
Since 1997, Martz, a janitorial custodian at The Frederick News-Post, has devoted his spare time to finding the objects.
He and colleague John Barone established the Civil War Artifact Preservation Association.
"Our mission is the recovery of artifacts and to preserve them for years to come, and for the public to see, " Martz said.
"When I find an artifact, it is very special to me for the simple reason that I found it. It is a piece of history, and once a man like me owned it."
Martz and Barone have collected enough remnants of the everyday soldier's life and war to fill 14 display cases in museums in Harrisburg, Pa., Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Richmond, Va.
One of the displays is currently in The News-Post lobby.
The two men have found exploded cannonballs, bayonets, belt buckles, bullets, cannon fuses, butt plates, pieces of oil lanterns and Civil War trunks, parts of a reed pipe and harmonica, melted bullets from fire pits, and a fence post with bullets.
They have also recovered drumsticks, forks, knives and teaspoons; pocketknives, an Eagle breast plate; clay pipe; breech plug; buck and ball ammunition and artillery shells.
Martz and Barone will display some of their finds Sept. 14-15 during a celebration at the Sharpsburg town square.
A Keedysville resident and Civil War re-enactor, Martz has found the most objects in Sharpsburg, he said, but not on battlefields.
You can not dig or hunt on State land or battlefield park land.
Martz and Barone dig on private properties, with permission,
The not-for-profit preservation organization lends the displays to schools so that children can learn about the Civil War, Martz said.
"The lesson is to let them know how bad war is," Martz said. "We also hope there won't be another."
Recovered artifacts are documented using five books.
Civil War objects are deteriorating rapidly in the ground and will be lost forever unless they are properly preserved, Martz said.
The men also work with state and local archaeologists.
They use their metal detection equipment to home in on potential finds, then the archaeologists take over with the dig, Martz said.
Rapid development and growth today have created an urgent need to preserve our history by recovering pieces of our past, and collecting data that will be useful in telling the history of each archaeological site, Barone said.
"We go to great lengths to provide the most accurate history or documentation available for the items we examine," Barone said.
Martz found a Rhode Island state seal coat button and through research linked it to the 9th Corps at the Battle of Antietam. "It was a nice button," Martz said.
Each item is numbered according to the location it was found, or from whom it was donated.
"We believe historically significant artifacts should not be traded or sold randomly without regard to their historic significance," Martz said.
Clarence Paul Martz stands next to a display case containing artifacts from the Civil War,
which he recovered from private property with the consent of the owner.
July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the
American Civil War.
The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, halting Lee's invasion of the North.
After his success at Chancellorsville in Virginia in May 1863,
Lee led his army through the Shenandoah Valley to begin his second invasion of the North—the Gettysburg Campaign.
With his army in high spirits, Lee intended to shift the focus of the summer campaign from war-ravaged northern Virginia
and hoped to influence Northern politicians to give up their prosecution of the war by penetrating as far as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, or even Philadelphia.
Prodded by President Abraham Lincoln, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker moved his army in pursuit, but was relieved of command just three days before the battle and replaced by Meade.
Elements of the two armies initially collided at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, as Lee urgently concentrated his forces there, his objective being to engage the Union army and destroy it.
Low ridges to the northwest of town were defended initially by a Union cavalry division under Brig. Gen. John Buford, and soon reinforced with two corps of Union infantry. However, two large Confederate corps assaulted them from the northwest and north, collapsing the hastily developed Union lines, sending the defenders retreating through the streets of the town to the hills just to the south.
On the second day of battle, most of both armies had assembled.
The Union line was laid out in a defensive formation resembling a fishhook. In the late afternoon of July 2, Lee launched a heavy assault on the Union left flank, and fierce fighting raged at Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Devil's Den, and the Peach Orchard.
On the Union right, Confederate demonstrations escalated into full-scale assaults on Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill.
All across the battlefield, despite significant losses, the Union defenders held their lines.
On the third day of battle, fighting resumed on Culp's Hill, and cavalry battles raged to the east and south, but the main event was a dramatic infantry assault by 12,500 Confederates against the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, known as Pickett's Charge. The charge was repulsed by Union rifle and artillery fire, at great loss to the Confederate army.
Lee led his army on a torturous retreat back to Virginia. Between 46,000 and 51,000 soldiers from both armies were casualties in the three-day battle, the most costly in US history.
My Great - Great Grandfather
Pvt: Richatd Cole
35th Regiment 6th Pennsylvania Reserves
6th Pennsylvania Reserves/
35th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers
Battle of Gettysburg
Marching via Dranesville, Edwards' Ferry and Frederick, the regiment joined the army on the 28th, and was again assigned to the Fifth Corps, which was commanded by General Sykes.
Continuing the march through Uniontown and Hanover it reached Gettysburg at two o'clock P. M. of July 2d, and made a charge from Little Round Top with but small loss. Remaining in front during the night,
on the morning of the 3d skirmishing commenced which continued through the entire day.
Towards evening another charge was made, capturing a number of prisoners, re-capturing one gun and five caissons and relieving a large number of Union prisoners. In this encounter the Sixth remained on the skirmish line until two P. M. ot the 4th, when it was relieved and bivouacked on Little Round Top.
It sustained a loss of two men killed, and Lieutenant Rockwell and twenty-one men wounded.
Pursuing the retreating rebels to Falling Waters, constantly skirmishing on the way, it encamped on the 14th, after having captured some prisoners near Sharpsburg, when it was ascertained that the rebel army had escaped across the river. Marching and an occasional skirmish and reconnoissance occupied the time until August 18th, when the regiment arrived at Rappahannock Station, and remained until the 15th of September.
In the meantime Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Ent was promoted to Colonel, Captain W. D. Dixon, of Company D, to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain W. H. H. Gore, of Company I, to Major.
Leaving Rappahannock Station on the 15th, it reached Culpepper Court House on the 16th, and went into camp two miles beyond the town, where it remained until October 10th. Returning, it re-crossed the river on the 12th, and encountered the enemy at Bristoe Station on the 14th, having three men wounded by his shells.
On the 19th, it crossed Bull Run and bivouacked on the old battle-ground.
The march was continued on the next day through New Baltimore to Auburn, and from thence, on the 7th of November, to Rappahannock Station, crossing the river on the 8th, and on the 10th taking possession of rebel barracks, where it remained until the 24th.