Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sallie Visits Andersonville

Hi there!

I am already on my way to Virginia but in the mean time, I wanted to tell you of my travels to Southwest Georgia. I arrived at Andersonville National Historic Site right in the middle of the Memorial Day events. When I got there, I saw 400+ boyscouts and volunteers from all around the area, placing a flag on each grave. There are over 16,000 graves in the cemetery, so that was a sight to see.

During my trip to Andersonville, I learned soooo much! Originally known as Camp Sumter, this was one of the largest military prisons established by the Confederacy during the Civil War. In existence for 14 months, over 45,000 Union soldiers were confined at the prison. Of these, almost 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, and exposure to the elements. The largest number held in the 26½-acre stockade at any one time was more than 32,000, during August of 1864.

There is also the National Cemetery at Andersonville. The cemetery is the final resting place for those who perished while being held as POWs (Prisoners of War) at Camp Sumter. It is now a National Cemetery, serving as a honored burial place for present-day veterans. The National Park Service maintains fourteen National Cemeteries nationwide. Only two of these, Andersonville National Historic Site and Andrew Johnson National Historic Site are classified as active, continuing to bury veterans and their dependents.

I went on a guided tour with one of the Park Rangers and learned about the Prison Site and how the park became a National Historic Site. Of course, it was so hot outside and humid, that this made me understand what the prisoners went through when they were here for the 14 months, with little to no food or water.

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