Friday, September 4, 2009
Andersonville National Historic Site - Andersonville, Georgia
Home to the National Prisoner of War Museum, Georgia's Andersonville National Historic Site is a place for reflection on the cost paid by America's prisoners of war throughout the centuries.
Located at the site of Camp Sumter, a major Confederate prisoner of war camp, the national historic site interprets both the importance of Andersonville during the Civil War and the story of American prisoners of war in all conflicts.
Established in 1864 to relieve overcrowding at Confederate prison camps, the facility at Andersonville was originally designed to house up to 10,000 prisoners. Captain Henry Wirz, its commandant, soon found himself overwhelmed by more than 30,000. Conditions deteriorated and by August of 1864 more than 100 men were dying each day at the stockade from exposure, disease and malnutrition. By the end of the war, 13,000 men died at Camp Sumter. Despite evidence that showed he tried desperately to secure relief for the prisoners, Captain Wirz was the only man tried, convicted and executed for war crimes at the end of the Civil War.
The park today preserves the site of the original prison, small sections of which have been reconstructed. Other features of the park include escape tunnels and wells dug by prisoners, the well-preserved Confederate forts that ringed the prison, the National POW Museum and Andersonville National Cemetery. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/andersonvillenhs.