Military, News, Pre-WW1

Treasure Hunter Finds Relics of the American Civil War in River

  • The water in the Mississippi River has reached a historical low due to climate change.
  • The phenomenon resulted in several war artefacts being washed up on the riverbank.
  • Riley Bryant, a treasure hunter, discovered remains dating back to the American Civil War.
  • The trove include rusted bullets, coins, and a ‘US’ box plate.
  • Bryant owns a private museum where he displays his collection of historic items.

A number of war relics have started emerging around the Mississippi River in America. But why? The short answer: climate change. For more than a decade now, Riley Bryant has been on a mission to uncover historic artefacts across the United States. Some of his recent finds date back to the American Civil War that occurred from April 1861 to May 1865.

Riley Bryant’s Viral Hunt

Riley Bryant has a knack for exploring historic sites. Currently, he works as a videographer for the American Digger Magazine. The American treasure hunter has been uncovering historic remains from battlefields for more than a decade now. During this time, he has collected more than 75,000 relics from all over the country!

On one of his recent trips, Bryant took advantage of plummeting water levels in the Mississippi River to look for the remnants of an old fort occupied by Union soldiers during the Civil War.

Read More: Civil War Cannonball Found in River & it Was Live

Bryant was confident he would find some elusive war mementos lying around the river.

As expected, he hit the jackpot. The treasure hunter found items dating all the way back to the early 1800s. In addition to rusted bullets and coins, Bryant found a box plate with ‘US’ etched on it. The explorer shared his discoveries on TikTok and Instagram, quickly sparking interest among history buffs.

A Union soldier with box plate on his cartridge bag.
This soldier’s cartridge case is on his left hip. You can see the box plate marked US.

Well-Preserved Artefacts

The metal buckle, rusted bullets, and the box plate were all in a good condition despite being under water for more than a century. Professor Helen Farr of the University of Southampton (UK) elaborated on the phenomenon.

She explained, “technically, metal degrades and corrodes over time in the water. However, if the artefacts are buried in the riverine mud and sediment, they can be well preserved.”

The professor added that organic materials like leather or wood, on the other hand, only survive in very arid or humid conditions, and that river flow acts as an excellent transporter of items hidden deep underwater.

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“The river flow erodes and excavates previously buried materials. It also reburies them under transported sediment and mud,” the professor explained.

Bill Shaner, 63, an American Civil War historian, remarked on the rarity of Bryant’s discoveries. “They are in exceptional condition. It is very difficult to come across a box plate that’s that undamaged,” Shaner admitted. “I couldn’t believe it was sticking up in the rocks like that.”

The Mississippi River
The Mississippi River starts in Northern Minnesota and ends at the Gulf of Mexico. It was an important strategic location during the American Civil War.

Climate Change and Recent Discoveries

The Mississippi River is the second longest river in the U.S. It begins in northern Minnesota and pours into the Gulf of Mexico below New Orleans. The river was a strategically significant position during the American Civil War.

Drastic climate change and unprecedented heat waves have significantly reduced its water level however. According to National Weather Service reports, the river has dropped by an amazing 10.75 feet. With the dwindling water levels, a number of relics are emerging across the riverbank.

Due to climate change, other fortune finders have started finding relics all across the country. For instance, in Lake Mead, locals discovered five historic human remains. Similarly, some found remains of a steamboat from the 1800s in the Missouri River.

Partially owing to climate change, Riley Bryant has uncovered many relics across the United States in the past decade. Remarkably, he has found piles of ballast stones from cargo ships, an old oar lock, bullets, and a glass bottle from the famous 1880s J.J. Heinrich Bottling Company.

One of his most notable discoveries includes a button from the inauguration of George Washington in the 1700s.

Bryant owns a private museum and adds to it after his hunting adventures. He also shares his experiences on social media where he has thousands of followers. “Though I’ve found many valuable things, I’ve never sold any of them, as the history means too much to me,” he added.