Photo: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images
The remains of a 19th century hospital and cemetery were recently discovered in Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park.
The findings are the result of a 100-square-mile survey of the area that began in August as a collaborative project between park cultural resource staff, members of the National Park Service’s Center for Submerged Resources, the Southeast Archaeological Center and a graduate student from the University of Miami, as published CBSNews.
According to a Press release from the National Park Service, the location has been identified as the Fort Jefferson Post Cemeterywhere John Greer worked as a laborer until his death on November 5, 1861, whose grave was one of the few identified, although more information on the subject is unknown.
The National Park Service explains that while historical records indicate that American soldiers housed at Fort Jefferson may have been buried in the cemetery, the area was also populated with military personnel, engineers, support personnel, prisoners, and their families.
“Major disease outbreaks on the island took a heavy toll on those who stayed there, killing dozens during the 1860s and 1870s,” the statement explains, adding that the small quarantine hospital discovered patients treated for yellow fever. .
Josh Marano, the South Florida National Parks marine archaeologist and survey project manager, shared in a statement that the discovery “highlights the potential for untold stories,” as it the area was also used as a naval coal outpost, naval hospital, lighthouse station and quarantine facility.
“While much of the history of Fort Jefferson centers on the fort itself and some of its infamous prisoners, we are actively working to tell the stories of enslaved people, women, children and civilian workers,” Marano explained.
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