Jeffrey Rees, 33, of Bath Township near Akron, said finding the tag on the last day of the 2013 Grand National Relic Shootout near Richmond won him the March contest on behalf of team Teknetics, a brand of metal detector manufacturers, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Tuesday.
"It will probably be the best thing I'll ever find," Rees said of the tag. "This was great because it provided a lot of information that you normally would not obtain, such as the name and the soldier's unit. I thought, 'That's cool!."
Rees said the tag belonged to Union soldier John Brandt of Albany, N.Y.
"His tag was made with silver, which meant he paid a lot for it," Rees said. "Most tags were made with stamped brass. What also made it unusual was that all of the battles he fought in were listed on the backhand side."
He said his research discovered Brandt enlisted in the Union Army at the age of 27 in 1861 and lost his tag in 1863 before heading to Petersburg, Va.
Brandt continued to serve in the Army until 1866, Rees said.