The Minié ball is a lead, conical bullet with three exterior grooves and a hollow base. It was the first bullet to accommodate the rifling of gun barrels which significantly increased range and accuracy—just in time for the American Civil War. The Minié ball was used extensivley by both sides of the conflict. This particular fired bullet was excavated from the site of the Battle of Brandy Station, fought on June 9, 1863 in Culpeper County, VA.
This bullet was excavated with proper respect for those who fell on that field, and is meant to serve as a reminder that scientific innovations aren’t always made with the best of intentions. You may not receive the exact artifact in the picture, but one very similar.
The Battle of Brandy Station
The Battle of Brandy Station , also called the Battle of Fleetwood Hill , was the largest predominantly cavalry engagement of the American Civil War , as well as the largest ever to take place on American soil. It was fought on June 9, 1863, around Brandy Station, Virginia , at the beginning of the Gettysburg Campaign by the Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton against Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart 's Confederate cavalry. Union commander Pleasonton launched a surprise dawn attack on Stuart's cavalry at Brandy Station.
After an all-day fight in which fortunes changed repeatedly, the Federals retired without discovering Gen. Robert E. Lee 's infantry camped near Culpeper . This battle marked the end of the Confederate cavalry's dominance in the East . From this point in the war, the Federal cavalry gained strength and confidence.