November 1, 2016

Although I'd read a lot about the Civil War over the years, I never knew much about Andersonville Prison before my visit here.  I figured that, since it was a prison, it must be a giant brick or concrete building.  I was wrong.

In 1864 and with the Union army closing in on Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate army decided to move the Union prisoners there south to Georgia, near the town of Andersonville.  The "prison" was simply a giant, open field encompassing about 260 acres, with a single small stream running through it for drinking water and surrounded by a wooden palisade.  The Union prisoners were exposed to the elements and had little food or water so it's not surprising that, of the 46,000 Union soldiers who were incarcerated here, about 13,000 died from disease, malnutrition, poor sanitation and exposure.  It was a deplorable situation for the unfortunate soldiers who were imprisoned here and was a sad chapter of American history.

No original structures of Andersonville Prison remain but the National Park Service has reconstructed a portion of the wooden palisade, as well as several prisoner shelters to give visitors a better idea of the conditions.  I've visited over 200 national park sites around the country but Andersonville is unlike any park site I've ever been to.  I spent a few hours here and was deeply affected, and for many days afterwards, my thoughts lingered on the soldiers who had suffered and died here. 

To see my 360-degree panorama photo, click on the photo above. 



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