MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The low water level in the Mississippi River is allowing modern-day treasure hunters to uncover Civil War relics along the river bank.
Over the weekend, Riley Bryant found some Civil War-era bullets and a U.S. plate typically found on the cartridge bags of Civil War soldiers under the bridges at the south end of downtown Memphis.
“I was freaking out,” said Bryant. “You never find those, much less just laying on the ground like. So, it was pretty neat.”
He estimates the plate is worth up to $250, but he has no plans to sell it. Instead, Bryant said he would add it to the collection he takes to artifacts expos across the country.
“I just move it around to educate people. I would never sell anything I find. Honestly, it just has too much sentimental value to me,” Bryant said.
The area where Bryant found the civil war relics is right below the bluffs where the Confederate Army manned Fort Pickering during the Civil War.
Bryant said he had searched the bluff before for artifacts, but when he saw how low the river was, he decided to see what he could find washed up on the shore.
“This is ten times lower than it’s ever been in my lifetime,” said Bryant. “I said there is got to be stuff down here that nobody has ever been able to get to because it’s been in the water the whole time.”
Monday, Bryant found more Civil War bullets, a glass bottle from the J.J. Henrich Bottling company that bottled soda water in the 1880s, a meat hook likely used by a fishing boat in the 1800s, and an old oar lock for a row boat.
Bryant is a chief videographer for American Digger Magazine, but the college student said treasure hunting is also a hobby he’s been doing for years and enjoys sharing with the public.
Follow Bryant and his finds on Instagram.