The Union Recorder

Local News

October 12, 2012

Remnants of Civil War lockup unearthed in east Ga.

MILLEN —  

Archaeologists say they've unearthed timbers hidden since the Civil War which are believed to be from Confederate Camp Lawton, a stockade used to hold more than 10,000 Union prisoners.

The discovery was made last week at the site in Jenkins County, now part of Magnolia Springs State Park, The Augusta Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/OXA31U ).

Geophysicists and students from Georgia Southern and the University of Georgia used ground-penetrating radar, magnetometry and other technology to search for anomalies that helped define the locations of the original stockade walls.

"We found it. Standing where the corner of the Camp Lawton stockade once stood was one of the greatest moments of my archaeological career," said Sue Moore, a professor of anthropology at Georgia Southern University, which has explored the site for several years.

Crews also extracted several wooden timbers that were submerged in Magnolia Spring, which provided water for thousands of prisoners housed at Camp Lawton. The timbers, including one that weighed about 400 pounds, were found where the stockade wall would have crossed the spring.

"In three days, we conducted more geophysical research than most sites ever do," Moore said Thursday in a news release. "This laid the baseline for years of future research for Georgia Southern students."

During Camp Lawton's brief existence in the final months of the Civil War, the 42-acre site housed more than 10,000 Union prisoners.

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