CAMDEN BURIAL PROJECT: SC archaeologists work to give proper resting place to 14 Revolutionary War soldiers

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — For more than two decades, 14 soldiers who died on South Carolina soil during the Revolutionary War have never been given a proper burial.

Now, thanks to several organizations in the state, these men will soon be laid to rest with full military honors.

“It’s one thing to write about military history, map battles and talk about things. When you find people buried only six inches deep, it’s another experience,” said Doug Bostick, South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust director.

Humvees transported the coffins of 13 Revolutionary War soldiers, draped in the flag of their service. The procession made a stop Thursday morning at the statehouse. 

Recovering the remains included the help of the Richland County Coroner’s Office as well as many organizations. 

“We approached it much like we do our forensic work by creating a biological profile,” said Dr. Mattie Atwell, a forensic anthropologist with the coroner’s office. 

“The Department of Natural Resources provided equipment and personnel to help us. This was a major team effort,” said Dr. Steve Smith with the South Carolina Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology. “It was not focused on one individual, but on getting these individuals out of the ground. Hopefully, we can get them reburied soon.”

Thursday afternoon, 13 coffins passed through Fort Jackson as today’s Army paid its respects. 

A Catawba native soldier whose remains were also discovered at Camden will be returned to his people to be buried. 

“That will take place later privately with the Catawbas and the Lumbees,” Bostick said. “That person will not be part of this initial ceremony, but will certainly have an honorable burial later on.”

Saturday, a funeral service will take place honoring the fallen soldiers. They will all be buried together at a cemetery on the Camden battlefield. 

“It is a very important piece of history. It’s the turning point of the war. It’s a devastating loss but it’s so important,” said Historic Camden director Cary Briggs. “These men were never buried and now they will be buried with the full military honor like they deserve.”

Categories: Kershaw, Local News, Richland