Andersonville Living History Weekend
This weekend, a living history re-enactment will take place at the Andersonville National Historic Site in Georgia. The event will feature prisoners, guards, and the grim living conditions that took place at what was originally known as “Camp Sumter.” Two authors are also slated to attend. A candlelight tour of the cemetery is planned for Saturday evening. There is no admission fee, but reservations are recommended. More information is available at www.andersonvillegeorgia.com.
Andersonville has acquired the most notorious reputation of all Civil War POW camps, although such atrocious camps existed in the north as well. Prisons on both sides combined totaled three dozen, ranging from Texas to New York. Andersonville was built to hold 6,000 men, but swelled to over 45,000. Prisoners had to endure rancid conditions in all kinds of weather. The prison was plagued with disease, vermin, contaminated water, and attacks by fellow inmates who called themselves “Raiders.” Over 13,000 perished, and during the summer of 1864, 100 prisoners died every day. Andersonville’s commandant, Captain Henry Wirz, was the only Confederate to be tried and hanged for war crimes on November 10, 1865.
The site is located on Georgia Highway 49, approximately 10 miles northeast of Americus and 10 miles south of Oglethorpe. Andersonville National Historic Site is a unit of the National Park System. It includes a reconstructed section of the prison, many monuments, (among trees with cavities dug at their roots by POW’s for water or escape) and a museum which houses artifacts and is sectioned off to display and honor POW’s from other American wars. Andersonville is not an easy place to visit, but is a standing reminder of the horrible conditions that prisoners of war were forced to endure.