Camp Lawton Archaeological Site
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How Camp Lawton Looked

 

The only known illustrations of Camp Lawton as it existed in 1864 are from the hand of Robert Knox Sneden (1832-1918), a Union private who was a prolific sketcher and illustrator during the Civil War.

An architect’s apprentice from New York, Sneden saw action at many battles, including the siege of Yorktown and Second Bull Run/Manassas, frequently drawing maps and making sketches of what he observed. He was captured by the Confederate Army in November, 1863, and began a 13-month odyssey as a prisoner, including a stint at Andersonville and another at nearby Camp Lawton. Whenever possible, he drew what he observed, frequently in secret.

Sneden was freed in a prisoner exchange in December, 1864, and returned home to New York. He wrote a memoir of the war, and converted many of his simple pencil sketches to watercolors. When he died in 1918, his work was unknown, but it was discovered in 1993 in a Connecticut bank vault and sold to the Virginia Historical Society. His illustrations and maps are the largest collection of Civil War art by a single individual known to exist.

The following are three of the illustrations made by Robert Knox Sneden.

Illustration of Camp Lawton circa 1865 Illustration of Camp Lawton circa 1865 Illustration of Camp Lawton circa 1865

Illustrations of Camp Lawton in 1864 by Private Robert Knox Sneden,  a Union prisoner in the camp. Used by permission of Virginia Historical Society.

 

 

Last updated: August 20, 2010