Researchers say they solved a decades-old riddle this week by discovering remnants of the stockade and subsequently the location of a jail camp in York, Pennsylvania, that housed British troopers for almost two years in the course of the American Revolutionary Battle.
The situation of Camp Safety was thought to have been on land acquired by the native authorities almost a decade in the past. On Monday, an archaeological group working there situated what they consider to be the jail camp’s exterior safety fence.
The camp housed greater than 1,000 English, Scottish and Canadian privates and noncommissioned officers for 22 months throughout conflict, beginning with a gaggle of prisoners who arrived in 1781, 4 years after their give up at Saratoga, New York. By the subsequent 12 months, there have been some 1,200 males on the camp, together with a whole bunch of ladies and youngsters.
Fieldwork on the web site, which additionally contains the lower-security Camp Indulgence, has gone on for many years, however the actual spot of Camp Safety — the place prisoners from the 1781 Battle of Yorktown, Virginia, had been saved — had been unknown till a telltale sample of publish holes in a foot-deep trench was uncovered.
“This has been an extended undertaking, and to lastly see it come to fruition, or at the very least know you’re not nuts, that’s great,” mentioned Carol Tanzola, who as president of Associates of Camp Safety led fundraising for the undertaking.
Lead archaeologist John Crawmer mentioned the situation web site had been narrowed down after about 28 acres had been plowed for steel detection and floor assortment of artifacts in 2020. That additional decreased the search space to about 8 acres, the place lengthy exploratory trenches had been dug final 12 months.
These trenches helped the group determine publish holes that in flip led to the sample of holes and a stockade trench that matched stockades at different 18th-century army websites, Crawmer mentioned.
Subsequent spring, Crawmer and different researchers hope to find out the complete measurement of the stockade and carry out a targeted seek for artifacts inside and round it.
“Was it round or sq., what’s inside, what’s outdoors?” Crawmer mentioned. “As we do this, we’re going to start out discovering these 18th-century artifacts, the trash pits. We’ll be capable of begin answering questions on the place folks had been sleeping, the place they had been residing, the place they had been throwing issues away, the place the privies are.”
Crawmer mentioned there may be proof the vertical posts that shaped the safety stockade weren’t within the floor for very lengthy and that they might have been dug up and reused after the camp was closed in 1783.
A contemporaneous account of camp life by a British surgeon’s mate mentioned there was a “camp fever” that may have killed a few of the prisoners, and an inventory of Camp Safety inmates was situated within the British Nationwide Archives. No human stays have been discovered on the web site.
Historians confirmed native lore in regards to the basic location of Camp Safety and Camp Indulgence after a 1979 archaeological research of a small portion of the property produced buckles, buttons and different gadgets related to British troopers of the interval. That survey additionally discovered 20 cash and 605 straight pins that will have been utilized by prisoners to make lace.