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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We visited Andersonville, Ga. on Memorial Day weekend. Volunteers place American flags out for Patriotic holidays. It’s an amazing sight to see.
Plan your time to be able to enjoy the Museum, the Prison Site, and the Cemetery.
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