On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog





State Monuments

Entrance to cemetery - Georgia monument



N.Y. had the most prisoners and the most fatalities

One prisoner looks down in despair, the other looks up with hope

Drove from the Whistle Stop to Andersonville National Historic Site. I thought I would just be visiting the famous Civil War prisoner of war camp but when I arrived I learned that the National Prisoner of War Museum was on the property.

First I watched a movie documenting the horrible conditions during the 14 months that Andersonville prison existed. Originally built to hold 10,000 men in 16 1/2 acres the pen had to be expanded to 26 1/2 acres because the prisoners just kept coming. Over 13,000 prisoners died in 14 months from starvation and disease. The movie described the conditions of hunger, contaminated water, and vermin infestation. The place looks so peaceful now it's hard to imagine how awful it was.

Next I watched a movie about POW's from all wars. Written letters and diaries of POW's from the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and WWI were read interspersed with interviews of surviving POW's from WWII, Korea, Viet Nam and the Gulf War. Don't ask how many tissues I went through.

I left the building with the free CD for the driving tour around what was the stockade. After that I drove around the cemetery. It is an active military cemetery but since there were no scheduled services today I got to ride around the entire area. Visiting the museum and the hallowed ground was an emotional experience. Very, very worthwhile and I am so glad I decided - last minute- to go out of my way to come.

I was so lucky to have dry conditions for my tour of Andersonville. It is extremely hot and humid in Georgia - may possibly hit 100 degrees this week. I drove through a tremendous downpour on I75 just 20 miles from my hotel in Valdosta. I have never driven through as much rain as I have since leaving Michigan. Can't say I enjoy it.

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