FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Daniel T. Elliott, The LAMAR Institute, Inc., P.O. Box 2992, Savannah, GA 31402
LAMAR Institute Aids in Discovery of Confederate Prison Near Millen
(MILLEN, GA., July 31, 2010; UPDATE October 6, 2012) The LAMAR Institute, Inc. participated in a search for Camp Lawton, a military prison built north of Millen, Georgia by the Confederates in late 1864 to house more than 30,000 U.S. Army prisoners. The search for the prison began in December, 2009 with a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey for the southwestern corner of the prison stockade at Magnolia Springs State Park. After getting a feel of the topography and the likely layout of the prison site as generally conceived, some discrepancy in the only available historical maps became evident to the research team. The two maps available for reference seemed less accurate than previously thought. A minimally-invasive evaluation was performed with a metal detector . This tool, augmented along with GPR data, was used to get a feel of whatever prison “footprint” might still be present. Promising areas were immediately identified. One particular area, however, clearly stood out as likely being inside the prison and possibly adjacent to a stockade wall boundary, The discoveries were made south of a small creek documented as running directly through the prison yard. Armed with this new evidence, a quick reassessment of the prison layout was theorized. The long held belief, that the larger portion of the prison site was now the location of the Bo Ginn Aquarium facility and former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services fish hatchery, came in question. An unexplored wooded area just west of this facility was now suspected to contain a portion of the Civil War prison. A quick reconnaissance of the wooded tract was made. Our crew believed that this property was within the Magnolia Springs State Park property. This particular tract had changed hands several times in recent years and was currently Federally-owned property under the control of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As it turned out, this misunderstanding yielded huge dividends in unmasking the ruins of Camp Lawton, After a very limited and quick evaluation by Georgia Southern University (GSU) anthropologists, the true site of the prison was confirmed. The brick ruins of a documented brick oven complex built fot the use of the prison., was tentatively identified. If this is indeed one of the brick ovens, and the placement of this feature on historical maps was accurate, then the location of the prison shifts further to the west of what was previously theorized. Further testing by GSU confirmed that this was the correct prison site location. Camp Lawton, once thought to be an insignificant Civil War site in our state, now appears to offer a great opportunity for understanding the daily life of Prisoners of War during the War Between the States.
UPDATE!!! OCTOBER 4th 2012—
Here is video from October 4, 2012 showing the deep trench and palisade post remnant along the southern stockade wall at Camp Lawton. Unearthed by Time Team America–at the location where GPR survey by The LAMAR Institute’s geophysical team indicated a large, deep soil disturbance most likely to be Camp Lawton. Other video footage showing the feature is posted on youtube.com.