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Indian Territory Treasure Hunters Club
Tulsa, Oklahoma


Action Near Old Fort Wayne, Cherokee Nation

The ITTHC Saturday, March 19th was a return to the area where the “Action Near Old Fort Wayne” took place during the Civil War. The weather was good for this time of year, sunshine with the high near 55°, and wind a little strong, 20 to 25 mph. Got a little windburn to go with the sunburn.

The ITTHC first started having outings to the Old Fort Wayne (second location of Fort Wayne) area in March 1992 with the idea to try and find the area where the Civil War “Action” took place. Also detecting the Old Fort Wayne (1840 – 1842) and the companies of First Dragoons camp that was established during the building of the fort.

We started working around the area section by section to locate the battle area. And we started in the wrong direction, East of the fort site. Not too bad, we did find a lot of artifacts that related to the old fort site and the period of the Civil War action. One site found was a regimental camp along a creek branch to the East that turned up quite a few relics. In talking to the landowner’s mother in the past she related an incident told to her by her grandmother. Her grandmother remembered as a child during the Civil War that the the Union Army had camp on their property and slaughtered & butchered all of their cattle. The camp to the East was probably that camp.

And a side note; the youngest member of the landowner’s family is the 8th generation of the family to live on this property. The below is a page from the book “A Traveler in Indian Teritory” edited by Grant Foreman and first published in 1930. This is an edited edition of Ethan Allen Hitchcock’s journal that the Major keep during his investigation into charges of massive fraud in the supply of provisions to the Indians, especially the Cherokees and Chickasaws. This investigation took place in 1841 & 1842 which are the years of this journal. The current landowners mother was a Thompson.

After 7 to 8 outings we finally got into the area of the Civil War “Action” which was West of the old fort site on an outing in January 1993. The first indication was a quantity of lead case shot which are lead round balls that are suspended in a matrix inside a cannon shell. These shells would have a timed fuse and were set to explode 15 to 20 feet above the enemies lines, very anti-personnel. All of the timed fuses that have been found at the site were Borman time fuses.

The area that battle related items; cannon ball fragments, James shell fragments, fuses, case shot, bullet, etcetera, were found in is approximately ¾ of a mile wide and 1½ miles in length. The engagement lasted less than one hour.

The Union artillery were using both 12lb. cannon balls with Borman time fuses and the James shells with the impact fuses. Can recall over the years at least 10 to 15 Borman time fuses that were found and even some of the brass nose pieces, called the anvil, from the James shells have been recovered. Gary Carnes finding two of the anvils on one outing. And up until this time the ITTHC has had 15+ outings to the area with as many as 85 members at one outing.

For this March 19th outing we had 21 ITTHC members in attendance. Did not get checked out with all that attended. Judging from what was shown and what was emailed there were still probably close to 200 bullets & case shot found this outing. Ranging from pistol balls, Remington .36 cal. pistol bullets (Teardrop), "round ball thingies" which most were case shot, a few shell fragments, and a few Minie´ bullets of various calibers.

There were several members that found their first Civil War bullet. The best item to show up was a fired Confederate .69 cal. Gardner bullet in good shape found towards the Union line. That bullet is a rare find in the Trans-Mississippi Department area. There have been 3 “dropped” .69 cal. Gardners found at an outing in the past in the Confederate line.

It was an enjoyable day and hope everyone had a good time, see ya at the next one.