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The site of Camp Sumter (Andersonville Prison) is preserved as part of the the National Historic Site. The historic prison site is 26.5 acres outlined with double rows of white posts. Two sections of the stockade wall have been reconstructed, the north gate and the northeast corner. 

Camp Sumter was established in late 1863 and early 1864 to provide an additional place to hold Union prisoners captured by Confederate forces. The first prisoners were brought to the new prison in February 1864 from Richmond, Virginia. Camp Sumter was built to help lessen the crowding in the facilities in and around Richmond. The new prison was orginally designed to hold a maximum of 10,000 prisoners and was 16.5 acres in size. Overcrowding was an almost immediate problem and by early summer an expansion of 10 acres was completed. By August of 1864, Camp Sumter held over 32,000 prisoners and the death rate was a staggering 100+ daily. In 14 months, nearly 13,000 Union prisoners persished.  



The idea of a Museum to commemorate the sacrifices of all American prisoners of war took root many years ago, when in 1970, Congressional legislation was passed to create Andersonville NHS. This legislation mandated that the new historic site should tell the story of Andersonville and other Civil War era prisons, protect the physical features of the historic prison site and Andersonville National Cemetery, and should “interpret the role of prisoner of war camps in history and to commemorate the sacrifices of Americans who lost their lives in such camps”. 

For a number of years, the park maintained a small historic building as the POW museum, with exhibits developed by park staff. In the mid-1980’s the park staff began to work with American Ex-Prisoners of War (AXPOW) a national organization of former POWs and their families, setting in motion the idea that a National Prisoner of War Museum should be a part of this National Park Service unit. It was not until the 1990s when Congress appropriated funding for planning and development of the Museum that the project began in earnest. The NPS and AXPOW continued to work closely together to raise funding and corroborate on both design for the building and for the interpretive exhibits. The overwhelming goal for the project was that the Museum would be a fitting visitor center for the public and give visitors a total understanding of the story of all POWs. 

As the project continued, another partnership group joined the effort. The Friends of Andersonville, a group of local and national supporters of the park, became involved in the fund raising process and also served as a petitioner to the state of Georgia for assistance with construction of a new entrance road for the park which would lead directly to the site of the new Museum. Finally in the summer of 1996, construction of the building began. April 9, 1998 not only commemorated the 56th anniversary of the fall of the Island of Bataan during World War II, but marked a new era of interpretation at Andersonville NHS. Thousands of former prisoners of war and their families along with national and local supporters of the park gathered to dedicate the National Prisoner of War Museum.

...some monuments when you first arrive at the prison site...these "stokade" markers go all around the perimeter  to give you the outline of the prison....

More monuments...the prison stretched to the hill in the background. The clearing at the top of the hill to the left was the hospital, and to the right, the "star" fort, with cannons aimed into the prison to quell any uprisings...

...view from the far end of the prison...

...see the hills on both sides. A creek runs down the middle, by creek I mean something on th elines of a ditch....this was the only source of fresh water and also carried sewage out of the prison...


...these llittle tents were called she-bangs...

...see the "dead line"...if a prisoner crossed that line towards the walls, he would be shot by a guard from a tower...

markes like this dot the fields, they mark places where prisoners dug small shallow wells for water...

...this tree wasn't here 150 years ago...

...another overall view...

the north fence, reconstructed with guard towers...

...the creek...for drinking and sewerage...35000 men drinking and excreting into this...

...this spring 'just showed up" in 1864

Prisoners entered Camp Sumter through the North Gate...

...view of the inside from the North Gate....

...the creek once again...

The Star Fort was designed to fire inot the stockade to quell uprisings...

Star Fort batteries....

...cannoniers view of the prison...

30,000 sitting targets....

Here the prison hospital once stood...in the 1800's hospitals are where people went to die, not to be cured....

The Honorable Mayor of Swampyville '10 Triumph Tiger 1050 '09 KTM690R '07 Kawasaki KLX250 (Mrs Swampy's bike) '03 Triumph Speed Triple '02 Honda CR250R tagged

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Reply with quote  #2 

I'll add a few more pictures to this report.

The grave sites seemed to go on forever.

This post paints a very slobbering story of what to expect each day.

As does this picture

Our country is only 200 years old, but this was a truly sad time. Brothers against brothers.
And this is the marked result

Artist rendering of what the prison looked like. 

You can see the creek that swampy talked about running dividing the area 1/3 by 2/3. The creek flowed from far to near.
Prisoners would drink upstream (far) and use the near (downstream) as the latrine. As a side note.. They now have a sign in the downstream area that warns you of poisonous snakes. I'm sure that made for some interesting sights. Must have been tough to run with your pants around your ankles.

The prisoners would camp together by states and troops as much as possible. Monuments dot the prison grounds by state showing the area where these troops where located.

This was Wisconsin's monument

Take a trip and stop by Andersonville. As with all stops you see posted...make sure you give yourself plenty of time. You'll need it.

Bert   09 KTM 530 07 Triumph Tiger 1050  06 Kawasaki KLR650 07 Yamaha YZ 250 1976 Husky WR250 1978 Suzuki RM250 1981 Honda CM 400 W/Velorex Sidecar Because the ride shouldn't end just because the pavement does! May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Harold McAlindon

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Posts: 45
Reply with quote  #3 

Excellent report men!
I would like to visit there one day...

Doug Coles
1999 KLR 650
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