This musket ball still has remnants of the dried, chalky clay-like dirt it was found in. It was either fired from a smooth bore musket, or a rifle that fired round balls. This type of weapon had been in use since the 16th Century, and was not very accurate, hence the phrase, “Wait until you see the whites of their eyes!” first used in 1743 when Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw warned his Regiment, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, not to fire until they could “see the white’s of their e’en.”
This artifact was legally recovered by friends metal detecting in Civil War activity areas that include Gettysburg, PA; Mumma Farm, Antietam, MD.
The bloodiest single-day Civil War battle took place on September 17, 1862, at Antietam, Maryland (according to historian and author James M. McPherson, 22,717 dead, wounded, or missing). The battle ground included Mumma Farm, its structures being burned by Confederate soldiers to prevent Union soldiers from utilizing them as sharpshooter positions. It was the only civilian structure destroyed during the battle. The Union’s tactical victory allowed President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22.