Civil War artifacts go on display

MILLEN, GA (WTOC) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Georgia Southern University announced Wednesday some major Civil War archaeological discoveries.

The Georgia DNR and GSU began discussions about an archaeological survey at Camp Lawton in late 2009, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Georgia Southern anthropology professor Dr. Sue Moore, graduate student Kevin Chapman and a team of students from GSU designed the survey plan to locate the boundaries of the stockade, the place where the prisoners had lived.

For nearly 150 years, the exact location of a stockade at Camp Lawton, had been unknown. An estimated 10,000 soldiers stayed there and hundreds died there before William Sherman's march shut it down.

Archaeologists from GSU located the stockade site and found several personal artifacts that were left behind by Civil War soldiers.

Several cases of items went on display Wednesday morning, such as a coin, an 1834 U.S. Large Cent; a tourniquet buckle, which was used to hold injured limbs; and an improvised 3-inch clay pipe that still had indentations from a soldier's teeth.

The findings were announced at a news conference at Magnolia Springs State Park in Millen, Ga.

"What we did find has been called one of the most significant archaeological finds in the history of the state of Georgia," said Chris Clark, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, who had the original idea to dig at the site.

Clark said that DNR and GSU's President Brooks Keel signed an memorandum of understanding on Wednesday morning that ensures that the research will be ongoing and will lay the groundwork to continue the excavation for the indefinite future.

All of the artifacts will be on view at GSU's Discovery Day event that is open to public from 1-5 p.m.

"This site is precious and unique and we owe its inhabitants their chance to speak through its archaeology and history," GSU's Moore said.

Camp Lawton was the largest Confederate prison camp of the Civil War and was built in 1864 to relieve overcrowding at the notorious Andersonville prison, according to

The artifacts will be on display at the GSU museum beginning Oct. 10.

For more information on Camp Lawton, visit :


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