Andersonville National Historic Site in SW Georgia obviously didn’t depress me enough yesterday. We went back today. Actually we went back because we had just scratched the surface; I have guidelines on how I see a national park unit.
If any one wanted to know what fun things we did on my birthday weekend (very belated birthday celebration), I can say that we went to a prisoner of war camp and a cemetery. We walked through the stockade that held more than 32,000 captured Union soldiers in 1864.
The signs, literature and plaques just hammered us about the terrible conditions in the camp. There was little food, water, sanitation or shelter. Over 12,000 men died in Andersonville. It was so bad that the Confederate Captain Henry Wirz was tried and hung in Washington for the way the prisoners were treated.
To prevent prisoners from escaping, the guards had created a line a couple of feet inside the stockade fence called the deadline. If anyone went past the deadline, he would be shot. Let’s remember that original definition when someone complains about having to meet a deadline at work or school.
The camp wasn’t depressing enough. We then went to the cemetery which holds the men who died in Andersonville plus more recent deaths. Andersonville is one of two National Park cemeteries that is still open, i.e. still buries veterans. Some graves are as fresh as last month.
After a picnic lunch, we headed north to Macon for another national park unit tomorrow. We had an hour to walk around downtown Macon, also preoccupied by the Civil War. But we also enjoyed a cup of coffee and a walk around the gallery at Taste and See, a modern downtown coffee shop.