Camp Lawton artifacts debut Sunday - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Camp Lawton artifacts debut Sunday

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By Dal Cannady - bio | email

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Amanda Morrow and Matthew Newberry spent Thursday preparing pieces of an historic puzzle for a public debut. The buttons, buckles, and other items came from Union prisoners of war held in a Confederate camp unearthed months ago in Jenkins County.

"One of the coolest artifacts I was present for was the cut coin, the large cent. That was exciting when they pulled it out of the ground," Amanda confided.

"When (classmate) Kevin (Chapman) brought back the pipe, that did it for me. When you see an artifact like that, which has been altered. That is so unique," Matthew noted.

He was referring to a broken tobacco pipe that a POW modified, 150 years ago, to keep smoking. One particular buckle came from a strap medics used to amputate arms or legs. Over the summer, university professors and others announced they'd discovered the remains of Camp Lawton inside what's now Magnolia Springs State Park. Searchers said the camp's place in history does not come from any big-name general or battles.

"This is about the artifacts that belonged to normal people who went to war and maybe didn't come back and their artifacts that tell the story," explained GSU professor Dr. Sue Moore.

The exhibit on Camp Lawton opens this Sunday inside Georgia Southern University's museum.

"It's a great opportunity to come here and see it and we'll encourage them to head up there and see the actually site," assured museum director Dr. Brent Tharpe.

Right now, Amanda and Matthew can't wait to share their part of history with the world.

Camp Lawton existed for only six weeks or so. It held prisoners transferred from a camp in Andersonville, Georgia. The camp was quickly closed and emptied in advance of Sherman's March.

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