TwHP Lessons

"Comfortable Camps?" Archeology of the Confederate Guard Camp at the Florence Stockade

The burial trenches of the Union prisoners who died at the Florence Stockade
(Paul G.Avery, photographer)

...the men have constructed for themselves as comfortable camps as circumstances allow, being without plank or nails. Some, who were able, have brought cloth and made themselves tents, in which they can keep dry.

Thomas J.Eccles of the 3rd Battalion, South Carolina State Reserves described the camp of the Confederate guards stationed at the Florence Stockade on November 11, 1864. The guards included a mix of regular Confederate Army troops and South Carolina State Reservists. Eccles wrote a column for a local newspaper during his service as a guard at the Florence Stockade and described many of the aspects of life at the camp.

The Florence Stockade had been constructed in September 1864 in a large field surrounded by dense pine forest and forbidding swamps near Florence, South Carolina. Built on a similar pattern to the prison at Camp Sumter in Andersonville, Georgia, the stockade consisted of a large rectangular opening surrounded by walls built with vertical logs. The prison population peaked at approximately 15,000, and of these, nearly 2,800 died in captivity. The dead were buried in long trenches that formed the nucleus of what is now the Florence National Cemetery Archeological investigations in 2006 revealed a portion of the campground of the Confederate guards. The project area included the remains of at least eight structures, three possible tent stands, three wells, and a large number of latrine trenches, privies, pits, post holes, and other archeological features. Over 5,000 artifacts were recovered, including a wide variety of food and beverage containers, military equipment, camp hardware, and personal items. This material can tell us a great deal about what life was like for the guards at the Florence Stockade.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
  1. Map 1: The Locations of Civil War Prisons

Determining the Facts: Readings

  1. Reading 1: The Florence Stockade
  2. Reading 2: Life as a Prisoner of War at Florence
  3. Reading 3: The Confederate Guards
  4. Reading 4: Archeology in the Guard Camp

Visual Evidence: Images
  1. Site Plan of Archeological Excavation
  2. Aerial view of the Florence Stockade, the Florence National Cemetery and the campground of the Confederate guards.
  3. Artifact A
  4. Artifacts at the bottom of a well
  5. The Florence Stockade
  6. In a hole.

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Design a Campground
 2. Archeology of Your Room
 3. Learning about war veterans buried in your         Community
 4. Women in the Civil War

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This lesson is based on the Florence Stockade Civil War prison camp .It is among the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.



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