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Good For Kids
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A partially reconstructed wall and some tents give a perspective on how the prisoner of war camp may have looked.
Andersonville National Historic Site
Closest available address
496 Cemetery Road, Andersonville, GA 31711
Visitor center = 9-5, grounds = 8-5. Site is closed some holidays.
Best time to visit
The Andersonville National Historic Site serves as a memorial and a museum for the infamous prisoner of war camp located here during the US Civil War. The museum also covers prisoners of war in other conflicts. Visiting is a somber experience, but it is also poignant and worthwhile.
Andersonville, also known as Camp Sumter, was established as a prisoner of war camp by the Confederacy early in 1864. It was only intended to hold approximately 10,000 men but during the 14 months it was in operation it held upwards of 30,000 men at times. With barely enough resources to feed their own soldiers, the Confederacy had even less for Union prisoners. As a result of starvation and also due to filthy conditions and rampant disease, approximately 13,000 prisoners died. In one of the first instances of a trial for war crimes, the Confederate commander of the facility was tried and hung shortly after the war ended.
The historic site today includes a partially reconstructed stockade which provides a stark perspective of the past. The impressive museum is the key attraction here. It tells the story of Civil War prisoners and prisoners in other US conflicts. There is a particularly memorable section that covers US prisoners in the Vietnam War. The museum also offers two short films. US soldiers who were imprisoned in wars periodically volunteer at the site to discuss their wartime experiences.
Andersonville was chosen to be in a secure, rural area, and the closest major city is Atlanta which is 2.5 hours away. Even so, the site is definitely worth a visit and will have interest for a broad audience but may not be suitable for younger children.
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