View Full Version : Costly Minie Balls

August 5, 2010, 04:47 PM
rome news-tribune
Rome Ga.

Man pleads guilty to digging for treasure at Chickamauga battlefield
by Lydia Senn
19 hrs ago
When park rangers caught Eric George Blaasch inside the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, he was covered in mud and carrying tools and a flashlight. He told them he had gotten lost hiking.

But when police found he was in possession of war artifacts, Blaasch came clean and admitted he had been treasure hunting.

Blaasch, 53, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Rome, admitting to digging 15 holes in the park and stealing three Minie balls, Civil War-war era bullets.

Blaasch had left his metal detector and shovel near the holes.

Blaasch was indicted in 2009, but the charges stem from a February 2005 incident. The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Roemer, said the park had to bring in an archaeologist to assess the damages, which totaled more than $9,400.

The defendant was charged with knowingly excavating, removing, damaging and otherwise altering and defacing archaeological resources located on public lands without having a permit to do so.

Blaasch will not be ordered to pay restitution, but he could face up to two years in prison and 94 days public service. He will be sentenced on Oct. 8.

Fingers McGee
August 5, 2010, 06:36 PM
Fortunately, some people get what they deserve. Hopefully, they will not be lenient.

August 5, 2010, 06:39 PM
I bought several hundred dug up minies from a dealer in the city of Gettysburg many years ago. I gave away most to friends and school kids. Still have a couple dozen. Supposedly they were dug up outside the park limits.

4V50 Gary
August 5, 2010, 07:26 PM
One of the few times when someone is caught. I'm glad he got nailed.

August 7, 2010, 04:17 AM
The ARPA law has some teeth! (Archelogical Resource Protection Act)

Shiloh NMP (or is it NB) made a case in the last 5-10 years or so and the guy had to sell his house to pay the fine. He told us it was a $15,000 dollar fine!

How did I come to have this conversation? Said subject had a trophy deer head in his possession, which had been killed illegally, (unlicensed hunter), and had transported head across state lines. Another serious violation, the Lacey Act.

August 7, 2010, 08:12 AM
Supposedly they were dug up outside the park limits.

They probably were. A NMP only covers a small portion if the actual battlefield. Chickamauga is the largest but is still only a small portion of the original battlefield. The neat thing about Chickamauga is it's been virtually untouched since the war.

August 7, 2010, 09:21 AM
My cousin and his friend were amateur archaeologists and anthropologists. They looked for and found all sorts of fossils and Indian artifacts; whenever they found anything, they would contact experts and donate their finds to local museums.

One time they found a horse skeleton in a river bank that still had the remnants of a saddle and a minie ball where the horse got shot during a battle, bolted, and laid down to die in a creek. They reconstructed the horse skeleton and made a lightweight mold of it's skull for display purposes with a wire framework to hold the saddle and bullet in place.

August 7, 2010, 10:45 AM
I dug out the dusty box of my Minie's. Also found about a dozen dug up old indian clay trade pipes.
Had more of the Minie's than I remembered, probably more than 80. Here are some representative ones. All are three ring. If I remember correctly, the Union used three ring and Confederate two. Someone correct me if that is wrong.

August 7, 2010, 02:01 PM
Three ring is most common for both sides. Enfields used a smooth sided Gardner bullet but the three rings worked in a pinch. They just fouled up faster.

August 7, 2010, 06:06 PM
I'm with Gary on this one, too. Every so often, we hear about some yahoo messing up a historically significant (and protected) site in my neck of the woods and every now and then they catch one of 'em.

As far as I'm concerned, they're stealing from you and me when they take this stuff. And, oftentimes, the damage that they do while they're retrieving their souvenirs cannot be repaired. When that happens, a little bit of our heritage and history is gone forever.

August 7, 2010, 06:12 PM
The confederates used a lot of captured stuff. Its impossible to tell which side fired them.