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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Andersonville Civil War Prison and POW Museum - Andersonville, Georgia

The Andersonville National Historic Site, located near Andersonville, Georgia, preserves the former Andersonville Prison (also known as Camp Sumter), a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp during the final fourteen months of the American Civil War. Most of the site lies in southwestern Macon County, adjacent to the east side of the town of Andersonville. As well as the former prison, the site contains the Andersonville National Cemetery and the National Prisoner of War Museum. The prison was created in February 1864 and served to April 1865.

The site was commanded by Captain Henry Wirz, who was tried and executed after the war for war crimes. It was overcrowded to four times its capacity, with an inadequate water supply, inadequate food and unsanitary conditions. Of the approximately 45,000 Unionprisoners held at Camp Sumter during the war, nearly 13,000 died. The chief causes of death were scurvy, diarrhea and dysentery.

The prison, which opened in February 1864, originally covered about 16.5 acres of land enclosed by a 15-foot high stockade. In June 1864, it was enlarged to 26.5 acres. The stockade was rectangular, of dimensions 1,620 feet by 779 feet. There were two entrances on the west side of the stockade, known as "north entrance" and "south entrance". This allows for a space of about 5 feet by 6 feet for each prisoner.

The Andersonville Raiders as listed in the photos below were a band of rogue soldiers incarcerated at the Confederate Andersonville Prison during the American Civil War. Led by their chieftains – Charles Curtis, John Sarsfield, Patrick Delaney, Teri Sullivan (aka "WR Rickson", according to other sources), William Collins, and Alvin T. Munn – these soldiers terrorized their fellow prisoners, stealing their possessions and sometimes even committing murder.

Today the site is a memorial and burial location for eligible US Veterans.

Coversations/Things we learned:

This is a location you should go out of your way to visit. The museum and entire site can be visited easily in one day and it’s well worth it.

The National Parks Service offer an audio tour as you drive through the cemetery and prison. The link to play the audio on your smartphone is listed below:

This made our drive through the site even more impressive and made the visit more informative.

The park service also offers information on the radio at 1610 AM.

The museum should be your first stop which has exhibits which rival the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. From there you can walk to the prison site and cemetery. There is also a nice gift shop located at the museum entrance.

Today military Veterans who were discharged under honorable conditions are eligible to be buried at Andersonville upon death. Family members should contact the park staff and must provide a DD Form 214 for verification of eligibility.

Contact information:

Andersonville National Cemetery National Prisoner of War Museum 496 Cemetery Road Andersonville, GA 31711

Phone: (229) 924-0343


Prisoner of War (POW) Museum - the museum honors all American POWs and includes exhibits from multiple wars which the US was involved.

Other United States Wars

The Andersonville Prison Grounds and Cemetery

The Garrison Surrounding the Prison

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