Thursday, July 2, 2009

Saving our Revolutionary War P.O.W. Camp

On June 27th The Friends of Camp Security held a public program at Schultz House in Springettsbury Township, York County to raise public awareness and support for saving this very important historic site. Camp Security served as a Revolutionary War- era prisoner of war camp from 1781 to 1783, possibly housing as many as 1500 English, Scottish and Canadian soldiers along with their wives and children. Archaeological investigations conducted in 1979 by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) archaeologists recovered artifacts which were linked to the occupation of the camp. The site is currently privately owned and is slated for development, destroying the only undisturbed Revolutionary War P.O.W. camp in the Nation.

Archival records indicate that Camp Security housed the remnants of Burgoyne’s Convention Army regiments after their surrender at Saratoga on October 17,1777. The force was composed of both British and allied troops (Hessians, Brunswickers and Canadians) with British troops numbering in the majority. Their arrival in July of 1781 required preparations by local carpenters for the construction of huts and fences. The troops performed the actual labor of creating their internment camp under guard of York County militia. The soldiers and the families who had followed them remained here until June 1783 and engaged in “mechanical trades” in the surrounding communities. These trades reportedly included making lace, spoons, and buckles. Archaeological evidence suggests they were also producing straight pins and bone buttons.

Plans for an archaeological excavation this fall by The Friends of Camp Security hope to further document the presence of troops at Camp Security and the significance of Schultz House which is believed by some to have served as the headquarters while the camp was in operation. The archaeologist hired to conduct the excavations, Steve Warfel, gave a presentation to over one hundred attendees on Saturday and was overwhelmed by the public support and enthusiasm of the local community. For additional information on the efforts of the Friends of Camp Security, please visit their web site

For more information, visit or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .

1 comment:

  1. Just like when Pittsburgh paved over the remaining corner of Fort Pitt for a parking lot for tailgating for concerts.