Central Illinois Man Discovers Civil War Bayonet in Garden

Jacksonville Area Museum

A central Illinois man recently made quite the discovery while working in his garden as he unearthed a Civil War bayonet that could be connected to former president Ulysses S. Grant.

Bob Anderson, a resident of the 1500 block of West Lafayette Street in Jacksonville, Illinois, was tilling his garden when the tiller struck a metal object, according to the Jacksonville Area Museum.

Anderson recognized the bayonet as one that could have been used in the Civil War, and also found several badly-deteriorated and unfired lead musket balls nearby.

The bayonet, which was rusted but intact, may have came from a participant in Grant's March, the July 1861 journey that took then-Colonel Ulysses S. Grant and 1,000 soldiers from Illinois to the battlefields of the Civil War, the museum stated.

“Although we can't conclusively prove the bayonet came from a Grant's March participant, it's the same type carried by Union soldiers and was found just a few hundred feet from the site of Grant's July 5, 1861 encampment,” David Blanchette, board chairman of the Jacksonville Area Museum, said in a Facebook post. “It isn't hard to imagine a soldier who was being rushed off to war accidentally leaving it behind when the 21st Illinois left its overnight camp on the way to the Mississippi River.”

Anderson donated the bayonet to the Jacksonville Area Museum, which will open in mid-2021.

Until then, the bayonet can be viewed at Market House Antiques, 226 E. State St. in Jacksonville, on Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Tuesday, March 30.

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