Thursday, April 24, 2014

Digging at SC's Camp Asylum

From the April 23, 2014, WFAE 90.7 FM NPR "Race to Unearth Civil War-Era Artifacts Before Developer Digs In" by Kevin Kniestedt. //// A dozen archaeologists are busily working in downtown Columbia, SC, on a 165 acre fornmer site of a prisoner of war camp for Union officers named Camp Asylum. //// Come April 30th, they'll have to vacate it so that a developer can start work. //// During the winter 1864-1865, some 1000 Union officers were housed here in a prison that was originally the exercise yard of the state insane asylum, which gave the camp its name. //// The prisoners were being moved around as Union General Sherman was moving his army through Georgia and South Carolina. The first prisoners arrived December 12, 1864, most with just a single blanket and there were no barracks, so they had to dig holes for warmth. //// So far, archaeologists have found buttons, combs and a few other items. Surprisongly, there was only one recorded death during the time it was a prison, mostly because the cold weather prevented the spread of disease, the biggest killer in prisons. //// --Old Secesh

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