Fifth Grader Finds Unusual Civil War-Era Bullet On Field Trip

VAN BUREN (KFSM) -- It was just your typical school field trip, until Sammy Lunsford, 11, made an atypical discovery Tuesday.

He was with his fifth grade class from Rena Elementary at the Drennen-Scott House in Van Buren. It’s a national historic site that was formerly the home of Revolutionary War descendant John Drennen and his family. The site is also used by the University of Arkansas Fort Smith for laboratory work.

“I saw something that looked like a rock,” said Lunsford.  However, he explains he knew the object was important because it was shaped like a bullet.

Lunsford then took it to his teacher, who then brought it to the director of the Drennen-Scott House.

“I was really surprised to see a bullet,” said Tom Wing.

Wing referred to his 1863 ordinance manual to gather more clues about the bullet and found that it was a carbine bullet from the Civil War era. He says it was typical of the Federal weapons the cavalry carried between 1862 to 1865.

“Federal troops were probably here. This was one of the most wealthy homes in the area at time, but I don't have documentary proof of that, so when we find something like this in the ground, that confirms soldiers here. That’s a win for us,” Wing said.

Meantime, Wing says the bullet will be on display at the Drennen-Scott House among other artifacts excavated on the site over the years. The discovery will even include Sammy’s name on it.

As for Lunsford’s find, his classmates think it’s cool, and so does his family. In fact, Lunsford’s grandfather played a role in renovating the Drennen-Scott House in the early 2000s. During that process, his grandfather says they also excavated a few historic objects.

Wing also has a reminder for people since this home and its contents are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He says there are antiquity laws the prevent people from coming onto the property to search for artifacts.