Sunday, August 30, 2009
Andersonville National Historic Site - Andersonville, Georgia
In February of 1864, the Confederate government began shipping Union prisoners of war to a new prison stockade deep in the farm country of South Georgia.
Designed to house 10,000 prisoners, the stockade at Camp Sumter - better known as Andersonville - was soon overflowing. Despite a 10 acre expansion, the situation continued to get worse until more than 100 men a day were dying in the prison due to malnutrition, exposure and disease. In just fourteen months, roughly 13,000 Union soldiers died at the camp, more than on any battlefield of the Civil War.
Although it was the best known prison of the war, Andersonville was not alone. Elmira prison in New York was just as bad and other camps - both North and South - were not far behind. Tens of thousands of men died not in battle, but in confinement as prisoners of war in both large and small prison pens that dotted the territory of both the Union and the Confederacy.
The site of Camp Sumter is now part of Andersonville National Historic Site. Located not far from President Jimmy Carter's hometown of Plains, the park is also home to the National Prisoner of War Museum, a facility that examines the sacrifices made by America's p.o.w.'s from the American Revolution through today. Also adjoining the grounds is the Andersonville National Cemetery, where visitors can walk among the graves of the thousands of men who died in the prison stockade.
To learn more about Andersonville National Historic Site, please visit the new Andersonville pages at www.exploresouthernhistory.com/andersonvillenhs.