Civil War Prison

August 20, 2011 by USA Post 

Civil War PrisonCivil War Prison, Camp Lawton was a prison in the Civil War little known but huge in Georgia. The camp was built in 1864, about 50 miles south of Augusta, the Confederate prison camp held about 10,000 Union soldiers.

The camp was short-lived, lasting only six weeks. When camp officials learned that the enemy army of General William T. Sherman approached, the officers of the Confederation of the field rounded up prisoners of war to a quick evacuation. Left behind were the rings, buckles, coins and other memorabilia that is left untouched for almost 150 years.

“These kids were brought out out in the middle of the night and loaded on trains, so do not have time to load all this up,” David Crass, an archaeologist who serves as director of the Historic Preservation Division of Georgia says. “Almost everything they owned was left behind. Not often seen in these archaeological sites.”

Camp Lawton was always a low priority among scholars of history. Archaeologists discovered the camp was too short to produce true historical treasures.

South Georgia archeology student Kevin Chapman accepted the offer by the Department of Natural Resources to pursue her master’s thesis for evidence of the palisade walls Lawton field on the park grounds.

Chapman finished the pros impressive, revealing much more than the remains of the fence posts 15 feet of pine. Chapman dug out of the neighboring land owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and found the remains of the prisoners themselves, like a corroded buckle tourniquet, a snuff pipe, with teeth marks on the trunk and a folded structure that once had a daguerreotype.

“Not only the buttons and bullets,” said Chapman. “They are small pieces of the story, and this is the story of the battles and generals. This is the story of the little people, whose names have been forgotten by the history we are beginning to rebuild and be able to tell.”

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