3 Don’t Miss Sites at Andersonville, Ga.

Our 3 Don’t Miss Sites at Andersonville, Ga. is forever tied to American history.

Andersonville, Ga. is off the beaten path and home to the most famous Civil War prison camp in our nation’s history. The cemetery remains in use today. The museum honors POW’s throughout decades.

Volunteers place America flags at each and every headstone at Andersonville, Ga. jpg

Camp Sumter at Andersonville is the site where more than 45,000 Union soldiers were imprisoned after being captured by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. According to historical data, there were as many as 32,000 soldiers imprisoned at Camp Sumter at one time. The original plan for this property was a prison site for no more than 10,000.

Today is known as the Andersonville National Historic Site, visitors can tour the entire location. It’s divided into three sections; the National Prisoner of War Museum, the Prison site, and the Cemetery.

I recommend beginning at the museum. 

The Museum

Visit the National Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville, Ga. for a historical walk through history with some striking exhibits

We could easily have spent several hours in the museum. If you can, be sure to catch the short film in the theatre because we recognized several famous Americans in the film and I’m sure you will too.

Among the many artifacts and exhibits you'll learn about POW's such as Col. Hatcher who spent 7 years in captivity during the Vietnam War

I was so busy reading, listening, and watching I only snapped this one photo inside the museum. 

There are driving tour CDs available at the information desk. We checked out a CD which contains a wealth of historical facts.   The CD is kind of like having your own personal tour guide so I highly recommend it. Don’t forget to return it back to the museum before you leave. 

The Prison Site

You will be able to drive your vehicle around the site on roads with designated places to park, get out, and explore. 

Prisoners arriving at Andersonville were greeted by these heavily forged doors entering the prison site

There are two of these doors, which are replicas of the originals, one for entry upon arrival and one which enters into the actual prison camp. These doors must have had a reputation to be feared when someone referred to Andersonville, Ga.

The Commander's Perspective of the prison site at Andersonville Civil War Prison in Georgia

I snapped this photo of the prison yard from the Commander’s perspective. You can easily tell that you’re not looking at an area of land intended to house 32,000 people at one time.

The prisoners were not provided with tents or housing of any kind. They lived out in the open. They had precious little to eat and made makeshift tents for themselves. Conditions were deplorable. There are some replicas of cotton makeshift tents you’ll be able to see as you tour the prison site.

Off in the distance at the top of the hill, you can see some of the monuments which have been erected. The monuments, located at both the prison site and the cemetery represent each state which had prisoners at Andersonville.

A pair of cannons pointed into the prison site to ward off an uprising at Andersonville Prison

These two cannons were brought into the prison at Andersonville, Ga., and paraded passed the prison site to intimidate the prisoners. They were then positioned facing the prison site as a threat and remain in that position even today.

The Cemetery

Prisoners kept up with each name of the deceased for the purpose of records. Graves were numbered

Although this area of the cemetery is where Civil War soldiers are buried, the cemetery is still in active use today. In fact, if a funeral is taking place during your visit, that area of the cemetery will be closed to tourists.

Record keeping of the deceased was a volunteer job of the prisoners. The Union soldiers were afraid the Confederates wouldn’t be honest about how many people were imprisoned and died at Andersonville. They kept their own records including who died, where they were from, and even how they died. You can read some of those handwritten records in the museum.

Grave marker historial information at Andersonville Civil War prison camp

I was curious about those headstones and was happy to find this marker. It answered my question, “who put up all those stone markers?” They are all exactly the same throughout the vast cemetery.

According to the above sign, the tradition of the marble headstones began in 1878 and continues today. 

Avenue of Flags at Andersonville Civil War Prison Camp

We visited Andersonville, Ga. on Memorial Day weekend. Volunteers place American flags out for Patriotic holidays. It’s an amazing sight to see.

3 Don't Miss Sites at Andersonville, Ga. Plan that side trip as you travel down I-75 for an opportunity to experience the National Prisoner of War Museum and Civil War Prison Site

If your family enjoys historical sites, you’ll want to be sure to visit the Andersonville National Historic Site. Follow their Facebook page for tons of historic facts and interesting war stories.

Plan your time to be able to enjoy the Museum, the Prison Site, and the Cemetery. 

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One Comment

  1. Andersonville is only about 40 miles from my hometown, but I haven’t been in years. I remember going several times as a child and I was always overwhelmed (in a good way) with all the historically facts and the cemetery. I definitely need to plan another trip to Andersonville the next time I’m visiting Rochelle. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

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