Stop by Old City Cemetery to watch archaeologists at work and share their discoveries on Saturday, April 11, 2015, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Professional archaeologists will continue their excavations in the Confederate Section of the Cemetery to uncover the 140 previously unmarked graves of “Yankee Square.” The plot was opened in 1862 for Union prisoners of war and Confederate disease victims.
This is the third year archaeologists have been working in Yankee Square. They found 40 unmarked graves in 2013, and 43 last spring. This project has received national attention, including a special feature on Foxnews.com in May 2014.
Archaeologists are trying to identify a pattern in the location of the graves, which will hopefully match the layout of “Yankee Square” as described in the records of Lynchburg’s Civil War undertakers David and George Diuguid. Their goal is to identify each grave so they can be marked in a permanent way.
The Diuguids opened Yankee Square on June 30, 1862, for the burial of Union prisoners of war. By late August 1862 it was redesignated exclusively for Confederate soldiers who died of disease in local hospitals. Almost all of them died of smallpox in the nearby “Pest House.” Yankee Square was filled to capacity and closed in April 1863, with a total of 143 soldiers in six rows of about 30 graves each.
The Civil War Archaeology Open House is free and open to the public. Meet just inside the archway of the Confederate Section.