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Bob Ellis shares
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My White XLT meter read 78 “maybe a large cent,” I thought.  Even though this house was late 1700’s, so far, this time,  it had been stingy.  A large cent was recovered a few months ago.  The detectors depth meter read one inch & pin pointed it with my Garrett Pro pointer probe.  From the small plug I could see a large copper object.  After carefully removing the clinging dirt, all I could see was a large eagle.  A little disappointed it wasn’t a large cent, I brought the object closer to my eyes to see if I could read what appeared to be lettering above the eagle.  “WAR OF 1861,” the words rang through my head and a big smile appeared on my face followed by a vocal “WOW.”  I knew I had in my hand a Civil War “Dog Tag,” I immediately turned it over hoping to read the soldiers name, hoping it would be a former owner of the property I was detecting on.  I could see some lettering, however it would have to be cleaned more before I knew more.
The quick ID of the object was possible because about 15 years earlier I had recovered my first Civil War “Dog Tag” followed by lots of internet research on the subject.  A Civil War “Dog Tag” is an identification disc, many of which are about the size of a large cent with a pre-stamped image on the front with the words WAR OF 1861. On the back of the tag are usually the soldiers name, company, regiment, hometown and state.
After cleaning my new found dog tag, the lettering on the back revealed the disc belonged to Jacob Irving Whittemore, Company E 15th regiment from Manchester, NH.  It’s so cool to just find out that much. But with some internet research you can find out so much more.  My guy was born Nov. 3, 1838 to Robert Parker Whittemore and Hannah J. Cheney.  He enlisted Sept. 25, 1862 and was mustered in on Oct. 15, 1862 as a private.  He was wounded in the foot on May 27, 1863 at Port Hudson, LA and was mustered out Aug. 13, 1863.  There are even regimental histories on the internet that tell you when and where the soldier went.  I detected the dog tag in East Windsor, CT so I plan on trying to find out if he ever lived in that area.
Because of the information that the Civil War “Dog Tags” can lead you to, they are highly collectable with a dollar value from one hundred dollars to thousands depending on the condition and who the dog tag belonged to.
I consider this Civil War “Dog Tag” as one of my top ten lifetime finds.  I’m thankful that we have the internet to do the research to make it more meaningful.
Happy Hunting
Bob Ellis
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