The FBI came out empty handed at the remote Pennsylvania site where Civil War-era gold treasure is rumored to be buried, officials said Monday.
Dozens of FBI agents, Pennsylvania state officials and members of a treasure-hunting group dug in a rural site where local lore has it that a Civil War-era gold shipment bound for a U.S. Mint in Philadelphia was either lost or hidden around the time of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
President Abraham Lincoln reportedly ordered the shipment to pay Union Army soldiers, according to a local treasure-hunting group called Finders Keepers.
The FBI said it conducted a “court-authorized excavation” at the site, about 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, but did not reveal whether it was related to the legend of a lost treasure.
The agency added it did not find whatever it was looking for and will not be releasing any additional details, only noting that it was related to an “ongoing investigation.”
The 155-year-old legend caught the attention of the FBI after locals and officials went on a chase for the lost treasure. Some locals promised to pursue the rumored gold up until their death.
"I’m not going to quit until it’s dug up," Dennis Parada told The Philadelphia Inquirer, "and if I die, my kid’s going to be around and make sure it’s going to be dug up.
“There’s something in there and I’m not giving up,” he said.
The exact value of the gold is unclear – the shipment was reportedly composed of either 26 or 52 gold bars. The value of the bars could range between $27 million to $55 million.
"If I die, my kid’s going to be around and make sure it’s going to be dug up."
Historians have long expressed doubt about the existence of the treasure. Pennsylvania’s Historical and Museum Commission claims the lore is nothing more than a myth, according to the Inquirer.
But Finding Keepers insist the treasure exists. As evidence, they point out to their discovery of gold in a state forest within the township using a high-powered metal detector. They never saw the gold, however, due to federal laws prohibiting an excavation, The Courier-Express reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.