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  1. #1
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    Camp Lawton Archeaology.

    Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- The discovery of the exact location of a stockade and dozens of personal artifacts belonging to its Union prisoners is one of the biggest archaeological Civil War finds in decades, federal and Georgia officials said Monday.

    Outside of scholars and Civil War buffs, few people have heard of the Confederacy's Camp Lawton, which replaced the infamous and overcrowded Andersonville prison in fall 1864.

    For nearly 150 years, its exact location was not known, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Georgia Southern University said.

    Georgia Southern students earlier this year began their search at a state park and federal fish hatchery for evidence of the wall timbers and interior buildings.
    Map: Lawton, Ga.

    "Archaeologists call it one of the most significant Civil War discoveries in decades," a joint statement read.

    Officials would provide no details until the formal announcement Wednesday morning at Magnolia Springs State Park, five miles north of Millen in southeast Georgia. An open house for the public will follow from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

    Life at Lawton, described as "foul and fetid," wasn't much better than at Andersonville, with the exception of plentiful water from Magnolia Springs.

    In its six weeks' existence, between 725 and 1,330 men died at the prison camp. The 42-acre stockade held about 10,000 men before it was hastily closed when Union forces approached.

    Monday's announcement follows weeks of speculation that began after a locked chain-linked fence went up around the hatchery adjoining the state park.

    Townspeople in nearby Millen made the secrecy part of their water cooler discussions.

    "It's created a lot of buzz, what's going on out there," said Connie Lee, owner of Cindy's Cafe, a popular meeting place in the town of about 3,500.

    Rumors have included the discovery of a chest with important papers, gold, a burial trench and, yes, even Union Gen. William Sherman's horse.

    There are no photos of Lawton and few visual stockade details, although a Union mapmaker painted some important watercolors of the prison. He also kept a 5,000-page journal that detailed the misery at Camp Lawton, which was built to hold up to 40,000 prisoners.

    "The weather has been rainy and cold at nights," Pvt. Robert Knox Sneden, who was previously imprisoned at Andersonville, wrote in his diary on Nov. 1, 1864. "Many prisoners have died from exposure, as not more than half of us have any shelter but a blanket propped upon sticks. . . . Our rations have grown smaller in bulk too, and we have the same hunger as of old."

    The impending arrival of Federal forces during Sherman's March to the Sea soon forced the Confederates to move the prisoners elsewhere, including Florence, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia.

    In early December 1864, Union cavalry found the empty prison, a freshly dug area and a board reading "650 buried here."

    Outraged, troops apparently burned much of the stockade and the camp buildings, and a depot and a hotel in Millen, which was a transportation hub.

    Many of the state park facilities -- including a pool, houses and the main office -- sit atop the prison site. Some earthworks, long known to visitors and historians, survived.

    The artifacts will deepen the knowledge of the tough daily life of prisoners and guards alike, said a historian who has completed a manuscript on the camp.

    "[Lawton] illustrates almost every Civil War POW issue," said John K. Derden, professor emeritus at East Georgia College which has campuses in nearby Statesboro and Swainsboro.

    Derden cited health conditions, death rates, prisoner exchanges and the South's dwindling ability to manage a population where disease and poor sanitation were in abundance.

    Until now, Andersonville was the sole POW camp in the South to capture the public's attention and imagination.

    Besides the camp's own horrors, Clara Barton made Andersonville famous through her extensive campaign to have POW graves found and soldiers reinterred at a national cemetery. The prison's commandant, Henry H. Wirz, was hanged in 1865, the only man to be hanged for war crimes during the Civil War.

    Monuments dot Andersonville National Historic Site, which drew 136,000 visitors last year. A 1996 movie tells its story.

    None of that happened at Camp Lawton, where time and its remote location put it on the road to obscurity, fortunately for archaeologists.

    That promises to change beginning Wednesday, when the public will get its first glimpse of what life might have been like for prisoners, many of whom had been moved to Lawton from Andersonville.

    Lee and Walter Bragg, owner of Millen Auto Parts, hope anything associated with the discovery will boost the depressed area, where a 10.7 percent unemployment rate exceeds the state average.

    "Our county [Jenkins] needs something to revitalize Millen," Lee said.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/08/14/geo...ex.html?hpt=C1
    Drew Gruber

    3rd Regiment USV- Buffington's Boys,

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/drewgruber

    "God knows, as many posts as go up on this site everyday, there's plenty of folks who know how to type. Put those keyboards to work on a real issue that's tied to the history that we love and obsess over so much." F.B.

    "...mow hay, cut wood, prepare great food, drink schwitzel, knit, sew, spin wool, rock out to a good pinch of snuff and somehow still find time to go fly a kite." N.B.
    Now thats living history.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Williamsburg, Va
    Posts
    697

    Re: Camp Lawton Archeaology.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=129278077

    Another article with photos!

    Archaeologists said Wednesday they have uncovered a Civil War site in Georgia containing potentially hundreds of artifacts that have been hidden for 150 years.
    A piece of silver jewelry.
    Amanda L. Morrow/Georgia Southern University

    A piece of silver jewelry.

    The artifacts were left behind by Northern soldiers as they and their captors fled Camp Lawton, a Confederate prison camp, during Union Gen. William Sherman's march toward Savannah in 1864.

    The rural site, in Millen, Ga., about four hours southeast of Atlanta, is now under tight security. A brand new, 8-foot high, chain-link fence topped by barbed wire runs right through the middle of a driveway near one of the fish ponds on the property of the Bo Ginn National Fish Hatchery.

    "We are most likely standing just inside the stockade wall — and I have found artifacts within about 20 feet of where we're standing," says Kevin Chapman, who oversees the team of student archaeologists with Georgia Southern University.
    A soldier's clay pipe, with an improvised lead bowl and teeth marks on stem.
    Amanda L. Morrow/Georgia Southern University

    A soldier's clay pipe, with an improvised lead bowl and teeth marks on its stem.

    Several months ago, the archaeologists were on an exploratory dig and discovered this ground where 10,000 Union prisoners lived over six weeks in late 1864. There are buttons, buckles, a tourniquet, jewelry and European coins most likely left by members of an Ohio regiment made up largely of German and Austrian immigrants.

    At least one of the items is unique among Civil War artifacts — a modified white clay pipe. The soldier "improvised a bowl onto the end of the pipestem by melting down lead bullets, Minie balls or musket balls," Chapman says.
    A U.S. large cent, also known as a Matron Head.
    Amanda L. Morrow/Georgia Southern University

    A U.S. large cent, also known as a Matron Head.

    A Civil War pipe can go for hundreds of dollars on eBay. Historian John Derden says these artifacts are priceless because they paint an unbiased, firsthand picture of Civil War prison life. Written accounts tend to focus on Georgia's other, more notorious camp, Andersonville, where 13,000 Union men died.

    "Most sources deal with Andersonville. Even POWs who were here, most of them had been at Andersonville," Derden says. "But when they wrote their books, what the people wanted to hear about was Andersonville, so there's not as many written sources for this camp."

    Historians now hope to find new sources of information from Camp Lawton. So far, less than 1 percent of the site is excavated, leaving many stories still be to be taken from the earth.
    Drew Gruber

    3rd Regiment USV- Buffington's Boys,

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/drewgruber

    "God knows, as many posts as go up on this site everyday, there's plenty of folks who know how to type. Put those keyboards to work on a real issue that's tied to the history that we love and obsess over so much." F.B.

    "...mow hay, cut wood, prepare great food, drink schwitzel, knit, sew, spin wool, rock out to a good pinch of snuff and somehow still find time to go fly a kite." N.B.
    Now thats living history.

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