Named in honor of Thomas Lawson, the Surgeon General of the Army, it was staffed by the Chief Medical Officer of Twiggs' Brigade, Surgeon John B. Porter, and Assistant Surgeons Glover Perin and Lyman Stone, U.S. Army. Located on the southern point of Greenwood Island, one half mile to the southeast, Camp Lawson was a hospital complex built in July, 1848, to care for returning soldiers of the Mexican War, especially those of Twiggs' 2000 man brigade camped one quarter mile behind you. The property was purchased by the government from Jacob Baptista.
The hospital consisted of 4 large wooden barracks arraigned in a square with several store houses with a wharf nearby. The open shell barracks could accommodate 300 soldiers. It was erected in an isolated location because of the significant threat of an outbreak of highly contagious Yellow Fever in the summer months.
Porter wrote, "The troops arrived at the installation are in pitiful condition, suffering mainly from chronic dysentery they had acquired in Mexico 4 to 13 months earlier. They were emaciated, exhausted and required round-the-clock nursing care from an overworked medical staff. A typical patient had to have his soiled clothing and bedding changed three times a day. From July to November 1848, 100 of 449 hospitalized dysenteric patients died, a mortality rate of 22%."
During the 5 months of its operation, 757 patients were treated in the hospital and 137 perished, including one hospital matron (the hospital employed about 25 laundresses). Of the dead, several were buried near the hospital, but most were buried on the mainland near Camp Jefferson
Davis, in what was later referred to as the "Asylum Lot." then the hospital closed in November, 1848, the remaining patients were transferred to New Orleans, and the site became an abandoned "military reservation" until sold in 1907. The hospital buildings were destroyed during the 3 hurricanes of 1860.
Legacy: Between 1979 and 2010, the remains of six soldiers have been recovered and reinterred with full military honors in the Biloxi National Cemetery.