The National Cemetary at Andersonville
The National Cemetary at Andersonville

The Andersonville National Historic Site
in Andersonville, GA

One of our first little day trips was to Andersonville, GA which is less than an hour away from Cordele. As Civil War buffs know, Andersonville is where the infamous Confederate Camp Sumter is located ...usually known simply as Andersonville, a prisoner of war camp built early in 1864 near the very end of the Civil War.

Although Andersonville was only in operation by the Confederacy for 14 months, over 45,000 prisoners passed through it, at one time over 33,000 prisoners were held in its 26 acre stockade, and over 13,000 died. Originally built for just 10,000 prisoners, the prison simply could not take care of its prisoners. "Handicapped by a deteriorating economy, inadequate transportation, and the need to concentrate all available resources on its army, the Confederate government was unable to provide adequate housing, food, clothing, and medical care." Simply stated, the Confederacy was losing the war, and its resources were very limited.

Meanwhile, early in the war, prisoners often were exchanged but eventually General Grant decided the war would come to an end earlier if they didn't release any Confederate prisoners.....and so prisoners languised for years in both northern and southern prisons.

Although many of the federal prisons in the north were just as bad, Andersonville has been singled out as one of the worse because so many men died there. One prisoner wrote that "it takes 7 of its occupants to make a shadow." And eventually after the war the Confederate stockade commander, Captain Henry Wirz, was arrested and found guilty of "murder and of violating the laws of war...and he was hung.

Today, in addition to the prison site itself and the Andersonville National Cemetary, a relatively new National Prisoner of War museum has been opened. The museum tries to help visitors understand the hardships and suffering of prisoners of war ....not just during the Civil war but in all wars.

The National Cemetary at Andersonville
Camp Sumter
In the picture at the right, you can see the white stakes which mark the outer wall of the camp and the inner "deadline", and then to the right of the "deadline" is where the camp itself was located.

When the prison was in operation, any prisoners which strayed inside the "deadline" were just shot, and many prisoners would wander there as a form of suicide. Meanwhile, in the middle of the camp was a stream which eventually became so polluted it became the source of disease and horrendous odors....and none of the prisoners could used it.

Bruce and Sara 2008---Opening Page

Jan to April 2008---The SAM Shortline in Cordele, GA

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