7/16/21 – Well, this is NOT “Just Out of the Ground.” But, the young man who dug it is an old friend of mine, and he called early one morning in the spring of 2015, from the field. He said he thought he had found an artillery shell, but if so, it was the tiniest one he ever saw. He texted some pictures, and they Blew Me Away ! What Mr. Will McCain had recovered was an intact Confederate “Baby Mullane”, 2.25 inch caliber artillery shell. It must have been about 8 o’ clock in the morning, but Will was always early to rise when relic hunting. Less than a week later, Mr. Will was kind enough to take me to the spot where he had recovered it, on the west end of the Prairie Grove, Arkansas, Battlefield. We both dug several 12-Pound Shell fragments, lots of lead case-shot balls, and a few other items, but no more Baby Mullane Shells or even fragments. However, I wasgrateful that Will was even willing to show me the spot. At the time, I did not want to put the shell in “Just Out of the Ground” as I thought Will and I might have multiple future chances to check the ground again, and needed no uninvited help.
Aside from its monetary value, that little shell was important to local historians as well. It was pretty well known that Captain James C. Shoup had four of the little 2.25 inch caliber, “Confederate Mountain Rifles”, with at least a section, or two guns, at the November 28th, 1862, Battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas, but some historians thought they had all been sent to Fort Smith, Arkansas, for repair, before the December 7th, 1862, Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas. However, Will McCain’s discovery of the shell on private property, at the Prairie Grove Battlefield, proved that at least one gun, and possibly a section of the little guns was indeed at Prairie Grove.
Recently, Mr. Will was seeking a new collectible firearm, and sold the little shell to me. And, as the property where it was recovered is no longer open to hunting, I decided to post it here. What a neat, and historically important find Will McCain’s little artillery shell proved to be ! A Super Cool find Mr. McCain ! It is no longer for sale.
The first three pictures are the images Will McCain texted me, early on the morning of April 21st, 2015, of his 2.25 inch "Baby Mullane". Needless to say, even though I hadn't had breakfast, I was ready to race to the field and start digging like a dog after a mole ! This first pic shows the little shell just out of the ground beside Will's standard all metal digging tool, and the next two show him holding it. You can see how small it is compared to his hand. Right at 5 inches long from the end of the nose to the end of the bolt, it weighs just a bit over two and a half pounds.
What a Super Neat Find !
All three iron pins and the bolt are still intact in the base, though the wood dowel was gone.
The little 2.25 inch Baby Mullane after an initial cleaning in just water and dried.
The little "Baby Mullane" after a more thorough cleaning and wire brushing, and ready to be run thru electrolysis and preserved.
Will McCain's 2.25 inch Confederate "Baby Mullane" Artillery Shell after about an hour and a half of being suspended upside down in the electrolysis tank. Managed to keep the copper disc sabot out of the solution, preserving its wonderful green patina. Did not want to overdue it with the electrolysis, so after a visual inspection, concluded at that point.