Just the utterance of the word "Andersonville" would have ignited feelings of anger, repulsion and vengeance to the citizenry of the post-Civil War North! In the South it was just not talked about or mitigating reasons for the wretchedness of the place were given. Whatever the point of view, it was truly hell on earth!
Camp Sumter or Andersonville as it was commonly known, was a Confederate prison camp located deep in Southern Georgia. It was here that approximately 45,000 Union Prisoners would be sent (from the late winter 1864 until the spring of 1865) into a pen 1,620 feet long and 779 feet wide, with no shelter, extremely inadequate and unhealthy sanitary conditions, meager rations and practically no medical care. By the time the last prisoners left Andersonville at the end of the war, nearly 13,000 men had died.
This 90-minute presentation is brought to life by the use of period photographs and illustrations, as well as modern photographs and video taken by myself at Andersonville.
The talk will begin with an explanation of the causes of the overcrowding of Confederate prisoner of war camps that necessitated the creation of Andersonville Prison Camp. How the location was determined and the construction of the camp will then be discussed along with an introduction to the Confederate officers that were in charge of the Prison.
Then the focus of the presentation will be on the staggering overcrowding of the prison and sickening conditions. Highlighted areas will be lack of proper food, no prison provided shelter, the contaminated and noxious sanitary system, the abysmal medical care and the Medieval punishments doled out to prisoner for transgressions.
The talk will turn to a short discussion of prison life that will end with the retelling of the story of the infamous Raiders of Andersonville and the fate that they suffered.
The lecture will wrap up with a description of the last days of the prison due to the ending of the war and then will shift toward the aftermath. The valiant efforts of Clara Barton and Dorrance Atwater in the identification and marking of the graves of the nearly 13,000 Union dead will be discussed. Also, the trial and execution of camp commandant, Henry Wirz will be examined - asking the question of whether he was responsible for the conditions at Andersonvile or was he a victim of Northern fury after the war.