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Text Box: Text Box: What type of CIVIL WAR BULLET do you have?
How to tell the difference between a 
Text Box: Here’s a simple way to identify the TOOL BOX civil war bullets… the same basic way as collectors and enthusiasts do it.  The difference between the Sharpe’s  and the Spencer bullets can be found in the rings.  The Sharpe’s rings have a distinct, square groove whereas the Spencer rings are smaller and not as well defined.  

Here’s a difference by comparison between the Sharpe’s and the Spencer bullets and the easiest way to identify which one you’ve received in your TOOL BOX....

A mold was used to take hot lead and shape it into a bullet.  Lead is a relatively easy metal to mold and melt, so an iron pot, or in some cases a small iron ladle, would be used to hold lead until it melted. Expended bullets, lead toys or a variety of other items could all be melted down over little more than a campfire. The mold had handles similar to a pair of pliers, but on the far end there was a small, round hole for lead to be poured into. The caster would squeeze the handles, and once the heat had dissipated, pop out the newly formed lead ball. There were other models that had multiple molds attached to a single set of handles so multiple bullets could be made at once.  

Two carbines came to predominate by the middle of the Civil War. The Sharps fired a paper combustible cartridge or could be loaded with a bullet and loose powder. Over fifty different types of carbines were made for the war. The carbine was made for the cavalry. The Spencer fired a metallic cartridge.  Approximately 150,000 of both makes were made during the Civil War. 
The Spencer repeating rifle was first adopted by the United States Navy, and subsequently adopted by the United States Army and used during the American Civil War where it was a popular weapon. The South occasionally captured some of these weapons and ammunition, but, as they were unable to manufacture the cartridges because of shortages of copper, their ability to take advantage of the weapons was limited. As the war progressed, Spencers were carried by a number of Union cavalry and mounted infantry regiments and provided the Union army with additional firepower versus their Confederate counterparts. President Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth was armed with a Spencer carbine at the time he was captured and killed.
Text Box: FALL HILL MANSION:  Some history and interesting facts about where those 
 were made and used you found in your TOOL BOX!

FALL HILL was built finished by Francis Thornton in 1756, is situated atop a high hill, overlooking the city of Fredericksburg, Va.   Butler Franklin Brayne, a direct descendent of Francis Thornton occupied the house until her death in 2004 at the age of 104.  I had the pleasure of meeting “Ms. Franklin” in the late 90’s when she contacted me do some repair work for her around the house.  She was particularly concerned that the blacksmith shop was in serious need of repair.  The shop was the first building constructed on the site and located not far from the main house.  The old cedar shake roof was rotten and leaking badly and she wanted it removed and replaced.  As I started to remove the old shake shingles I soon realized that the nails were not typical of those used in modern construction.  I immediately went to Ms. Franklin and informed her about what I had found. She said the roof was original and built in the late 1740’s, well  before the main house and any of the other buildings on the property were constructed.  Initially, the forged nails were made out in the open near the blacksmith shop while it was being built.  After the shop was partially completed, more nails were hand forged inside the shop by the blacksmith.   She didn’t feel there was any need to save any of the “rotted wood and rusted nails” and insisted that it all go to the dump.  I thought that it might be interesting to save some of the nails and salvaged them.  They ended up out of sight stored in an old can until I recently “rediscovered” them”.  
A historical fact is that George Washington had direct ties to Fall’s Hill.  Three of his first cousins where married there.   Ms. Franklin said that during the construction of the first buildings a young George Washington had frequently visited Fall Hill.  She had been told (but couldn’t prove) that “George” may have actually worked on the blacksmith shop and likely helped in forging some of the nails. 
Fall Hill’s proximity to the Rappahannock River made it a strategic point during the Fredericksburg Campaign of the Civil War.  General Lee created a breastwork at the bottom of the hill to guard the river.  According to Ms. Franklin, at one point, Lee ordered the mansion destroyed by cannon fire so he could better see the approach of the Union Army across the river.   The house was saved when the Union Army advance changed direction.  Miraculously the house was spared any damage. There was, however, a tree in the front yard whose top had been blown off by a cannon.
Photo of the Indian Punch Bowl Fredericksburg VAText Box: This old stone basin is said to have been used by the Indians during hunting festivals as a punch bowl. Found by Major Francis Thornton (1682-1758) on his plantation, it was inscribed by Thornton in 1720.
Text Box: The old slave quarters later converted to a school house.
On the heights one mile to the west, the home of the Thorntons from about 1786.  Francis Thornton 2nd was a justice.  A burgess 1744-45, and 2nd lieut.-colonel of his majesty’s militia for Spotsylvania county.  He and two of his brothers married three Gregory sister, first cousins of George Washington.  “Fall Hill” is still  (1950) owned and occupied by direct Thornton descendents.



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