Site of Lost Civil War Prison Found in Georgia

Most everyone has probably heard of the infamous Andersonville prison camp where thousands of captured Union soldiers died of starvation and disease during the Civil War.  Andersonville’s Confederate commander, Henry H. Wirz, was later tried and convicted for war crimes. 

But probably few have heard of the prison which replaced it, Lawton Camp.  And now that prison’s location, long forgotten, has been rediscovered, it was announced Monday in Georgia. 

Hundreds also died there, but when invading Federal cavalry happened upon Lawton Camp in late 1864, they destroyed virtually every vestige of it, so enraged were they by the sight of a huge mass grave where their comrades in arms had been buried. 

Located in Magnolia State Park just north of Millen and in a section of Georgia which has been particularly hard hit by the Great Recession, residents are hopeful the prison camp site will attract visitors and help boost the local economy.  The far better known Andersonville site is visited by well over 100,000 people per year. 

If you’d like to learn more about Civil War prisons, Greensboro Public Library has plenty of resources.  Try some of these items:  Libby Prison Breakout: the Daring Escape from the Notorious Civil War Prison by Joseph Wheelan; The Horrors of Andersonville:  Life and Death Inside a Civil War Prison by Catherine Gourley (young adult); Escape from Andersonville:  A Novel of the Civil War by Gene Hackman (fiction); Andersonville (DVD of film drama); Andersonville Journey by Edward F. Roberts; Portals to Hell:  Military Prisons of the Civil War by Lonnie R. Speer.

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