Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Andersonville National Historic Site

On our way south to Florida, we stopped for a 2 night stay in the town of Unadilla, Georgia. We arranged for a camp site at the Southern Trails RV Park, which is in our membership system. While in the area we planned a trip to the Andersonville National Historic Site. It is not far from Unadilla.

So, this morning we packed our picnic lunch, got the camera and the dog and set out for Andersonville. The National Historic Site consists of three things: National Prisoner of War Museum, Andersonville National Cemetery, and the prison site.
This first photo shows the exterior of the Prisoner of War Museum. This building also serves as the site visitor center. There are 2 orientation films shown plus many exhibits on display. The museum examines the American POW experience throughout our nation's history and has information on the POW experience from the Revolutionary War up to the Gulf War of the 90's. There are numerous video displays with testimony given by former POW's that are still living. Many of their stories are heart-wrenching to hear. The museum stands as a memorial to the 12,920 Union soldiers and civilians who died at Andersonville during its 14 months of existance.
This second photo was taken in the National Cemetery at the historic site. As in all national cemeteries the simple white headstones mark the graves. These graves are from the Civil War era and simply have the soldier's name and home state indicated (although some have rank, as well).
This photo shows the remnants of the stockade from a distance. Originally there were 2 rows of fencing. An inner row of posts marked the location of the deadline and prisoners were forbidden to cross that 4-foot high rail. The outer of posts marked the location of the stockade wall. It was 20-feet high. If a prisoner crossed the deadline...they were shot and killed on site.

Closer view of the stockade wall.

This is a depiction of the type of shelter the soldier's had as prisoners at Andersonville. The confined soldier's suffered terribly. This prison, like so many others, was overcrowded, had poor sanitation, and inadequate food...even for the prison officials. There were soon over 26,000 men confined in a space intended for less than 10,000. These conditions accounted for a high mortality rate.
This was our second visit to Andersonville. We came the first time in 1989, but we wanted to return to see the addition of the POW Museum and Memorial. It was worth our time and effort to make the return trip.

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