Vietnam vet finds Civil War bullet at Myrtle Beach campground


A retired U.S. Army veteran unlocked a piece of South Carolina history.

He and his wife travel the country in their RV and this week during their stay in Myrtle Beach, they found a Civil War bullet--a rare find, but one that actually makes perfect sense.

"That means that 150-plus years ago, right here, on this little ground, there was a battle going on," said Kris Tourtellotte, aka "Turtle." He thought he'd seen the last of bullets and guns.

"The funny part of it is, I haven't touched a gun since I left Vietnam. I have never owned a gun; I know nothing about guns," he said.

Until he found the Civil War bullet, he and his wife were setting up a campfire in the Apache Campground. Then, there it was, showing but buried in the sand.

"Joking, I said, 'We're gonna find another one, the next thing I know my wife is gonna be at Walmart buying one of those metal detectors and we won't find anything anymore!'"

So, now what? He says, "If a collector or somebody really wanted it for their collection, have at it."

ABC 15 found someone who might just want to have at it.

"I'm a direct decedent of Peter Vaught Jr. And his father Peter Vaught Sr.," said Ben Burroughs, Director of Horry County Archives Center at CCU.

The Vaught Plantation was almost 5,000 acres in the same location as the present day Apache Campground.

"That area, around Singleton Swash, had a salt works during the Civil War. Our area was blockaded by the Union Navy," said Burroughs.

Which means no goods could get in or get out of the area, so people living there set up a place by the ocean to make salt.

"And, the fires would make the water evaporate leaving the salt behind," Burroughs added.

A lot of action there: Confederate cavalry, Union Navy invasions, and, Burroughs says, it was all along a path that was created in the 1700s that even George Washington had taken.

"Conservatively was around 5,000 people and they were headed to Charleston, they would have all come down that same path. So, no telling what has been dropped from the Revolutionary War days," he said.

Which may be something to think about the next time you're sunbathing, "A lot of these people lying on the beach have no idea what they're lying on top of," said Burroughs.

Burroughs shared a few other Civil War items that have been found in our area, a live cannonball was dug up in Conway, a button from a uniform found in Surfside, and a piece of a gun that was found in the ocean by divers.

Burroughs says he plans to get in touch with Turtle so he can get a closer look at that bullet.

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