There are few Civil War artifacts in my collection—mostly I have books, books, books. Possibly there are too many books in my house, but I do enjoy them. About ten years ago, I decided to acquire a solid shot, but these are not readily available here in Oklahoma. On a visit to see relatives in Tennessee, I acquired a solid shot at an antique store in Franklin. When I purchased it, the storeowner told me that he had documentation concerning where the cannon ball was found, and it turned out to be from Pilot Knob, Missouri, the site of a significant battle on this date 150 years ago. (The massacre at Centralia also occurred on this date 150 years ago.) So, the cannon ball was brought back to the trans-Mississippi where it has sat on display in my den. It has also made some forays to my classes where my students have enjoyed looking at it and picking it up. Here is my 12-pound solid shot:
Is it Union or Confederate? At one time I did a bit of research and determined that it was more likely to be a Confederate solid shot.
Over the years, I have taken many artifacts to my classes and have noticed how they always lead to questions. In the case of this solid shot, a couple of immediate questions are where was the solid shot manufactured? Which unit fired it? And artifacts are great spurs for the imagination. Yes, this solid shot would certainly have a story for us.