Andersonville National Historic Site
Andersonsville National Historic Site, a 475-acre park consisting of the national cemetery and prison site, exemplifies the grim life suffered by prisoners of war, North and South, during the Civil War. Here, however, the harshness of war is tempered by a landscape of beauty which raises the hope that reason and harmony may still prevail in the affairs of men.
Andersonville, or Camp Sumter as it was known officially, was the largest of many Confederate military prisons established during the Civil War. It was built in early 1864 after Confederate officials decided to move the large number of Federal prisoners in and around Richmond to a place of greater security and more abundant food. During the 14 months it existed, more than 45,000 Union soldiers were confined here. Of these, almost 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, or exposure to the elements.
The National Cemetary, established on July 26, 1865, continues to provide a permanent resting place of honor for deceased veterns. Today, the cemetary is composed of 17 sections that contains more than 17,000 interments.
The Site is unique in the National Park System as the only park to serve as a memorial to all Americans ever held as prisoners of war. The Congress stated the purpose of the park in the authorizing legislation: "to provide an understanding of the overall prisoner of war story of the Civil War, to interpret the role of prisoner of war camps in history, to commemorate the sacrifice of Americans who lost their lives in such camps and to preserve the monuments located" within the site. Their story is told at the park's National Prisoner of War Museum.
Begin your tour at the visitor center. The center contains exhibits on Andersonville prison, the national cemetary, Civil War prisons in general, and the systems of exchange and parole used during the war. There is also a 12-minute audio-visual program and a computer database listing prisoners and guards at Andersonville. A variety of informational sales publications is available to help you understand the role of Civil War prison camps, and National Park Service personnel will answer your questions and provide additional information. Schedules of daily activities and special events are posted at the center. Picnicking is allowed in the designated area.
LOCATION: Route 49, Andersonville 31711. Phone 912-928-9640.
HOURS: Daily 8 AM to 5 PM.
DIRECTIONS: From Americus, take Route 49 north 10 miles. The Site is on the right past the intersection with Route 149.
Recommended BooksAndersonville Civil War Prison (GA) (Civil War Sesquicentennial)
History of Andersonville Prison