Saturday, February 13, 2010
Andersonville Prison Camp
Noah is only 11 years old but his grandfather was a POW in Germany during WWII (don't ask me how old I am...Ha!), so it was of great importance for me. It also gave Noah a chance to see what it was like for his Papa during the war. He passed away before Noah was born so we make sure all of the family stories are passed down & he knows the importance of their sacrifice.
After going through the museum we watched a 30 minute documentary on POW's from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, etc. It was difficult to hear some of the things they had to go through but also inspiring at the same time. Their courage & love of country was amazing to see.
After that we bundled up & headed outside to see the site of Andersonville prison. They have some reconstructed walls to show you what it was like & the site is laid out with markers so you can see the size of the prison itself. There are still some original earthworks left that are amazing to see as well.
You can see where prisoners dug tunnels trying to escape as well as deep holes where they tried to dig for water. When they were brought there nothing was provided as far as shelter. They made tents or lean-twos out of anything they could find. If they did not have that they just slept & lived out in the open.
The prison was originally 16.5 acres but was later enlarged to 26.5 acres. The prison was intended to hold 10,000 prisoners but its average occupancy was 26,000. At its fullest peak it held 32,000 at one time! The Confederate government was weak economically & could not provide adequate food, clothing, or medical care. So it turned out to be horrific for anyone who was imprisoned there.
The park is 10 miles northeast of Americus on Ga. 49. Along with the museum is a visitor center where rangers can answer questions, as well as a gift shop to purchase items from. My son chose an Andersonville build-a-fort set. He loves putting forts together & setting up scenes with all of his toy figures.
The amazing thing was that admission is free! I wasn't expecting that so it was a nice surprise. If you are going south on I-75 from Perry you would take a right off the interstate onto Highway 26, then left on Hwy. 49. It is really easy to find.
After we left Andersonville we headed back to Hawkinsville. We were hungry so we stopped at Yoder's restaurant on Hwy 26 to eat. It is a Mennonite restaurant & bakery with fresh from scratch food...yum! They also have a gift shop which we did not go in. It is out in the middle of nowhere with great views of pecan orchards & pastures. So if you are passing that way on any trip to or from Florida, it is worth the short trek off of the interstate.