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Dedicating the Camp Wilson marker
Camp Wilson Marker
The Camp Wilson historical marker will be dedicated Friday.

On Friday, a historical marker will be dedicated in a program to begin at 10 a.m. in front of the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office. The marker shown in the illustration will commemorate a short-lived Confederate convalescent camp that operated there from July 1862 through January 1863.

It was named for a civilian named Dr. William Watson Wilson, who owned the land upon which it operated. He was hired as the camp doctor by the Confederate Army to oversee this temporary facility which operated as a tent hospital, perhaps using Wilson’s barns or outbuildings for storage. The camp operated along with the Guyton Confederate Hospital that was in operation over a longer period of time during the Civil War.

This camp housed the less serious cases of the Guyton Confederate Hospital. Most of these men needed good nourishment and were not sick enough to be bedridden but too sick to perform their duties.

When the camp opened, it had 107 patients, plus a small staff. There were 626 in September 1862, according to local historian Norman Turner. Most were ill in addition to having endured less than adequate clothing causing exposure, crowded, often damp or nonexistent sleeping arrangements and a very poor diet. Some who had been in the Guyton Hospital and were improving were moved here to free space for those who were more seriously ill.

Documentation Turner discovered shows that six died at the camp due to pneumonia, typhoid fever or other causes. Turner documented 772 he could find reference to who stayed in Camp Wilson but he believes there were hundreds or even a thousand more he cannot prove. The goal at the camp was to get the men well enough to return to the battle lines with rest and good food, along with medical treatment, as soon as possible.

The camp had many names found in the Confederate records. Some were: The Convalescent Camp, The Sick Camp, The Convalescent Camp near Whitesville, Georgia (the name was later changed to Guyton), The Convalescent Camp at Springfield, Georgia and The Springfield Hospital. Some time ago I dedicated a column to Camp Wilson.

The ceremony on Friday has been brought about through efforts of: Norman V. Turner, Historical Effingham Society, Camp Davis Sons of Confederate Veterans No. 2073, United Daughters of the Confederacy Effingham Hussars Chapter No. 2285, city of Springfield, Effingham Sheriff’s Office and the Effingham Hospital Authority. The public is cordially invited to attend on Friday at 10 a.m.

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Historic Effingham Society along with other sponsors will host Olde Effingham Christmas at the Living History Site from noon-4 p.m. on Dec. 13. Discount coupons can be found at the Living History Gift Shop. Our new ornament in the Barlow Series is Guyton Christian Church, founded in 1819, and we have a 2015 HES calendar with a historical places theme. Living History Site buildings will be decorated according to period. Characters with local narratives will be stationed at the site. A bake sale and local arts and crafts gifts will be available. There will be pictures with Santa available for $5 and Christmas music performances.

Shopping hours in Springfield businesses will be 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. From 5-7 p.m., a sausage and grits supper will be available at City Hall for $5. Pre-order tickets are available at City Hall. Free drawings for $100 and Mars Theatre gift cards will be held. The day will end with a live performance, “A Magical Grassical Christmas,” available by ticket at the Mars. Winners of the drawings will be announced before the concert in the Mars. Check out “Olde Effingham Christmas” on Facebook.

Come out on Dec. 13 and support Historic Effingham Society and the city of Springfield in this event. You will have lots of opportunities to shop, enjoy music and enjoy a country breakfast supper at City Hall. For further information, contact Historic Effingham at 754-2170 or Springfield City Hall for supper or Mars Theatre ticket information at 754-6666.

This was compiled by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society from information provided by Norman V. Turner. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Exley at (912) 754-6681 or