Did you know that when the Civil War ended, that didn’t mean the end of the struggle for some men?
Step back in time with the Andersonville National Historic Site in Georgia, which is now a memorial to all of American prisoners of war across history, but was once Camp Sumter military prison – one of the largest military prisons for Union soldiers during the entire Civil War.
The prison existed for only 14 months, but during this time over 45,000 Union soldiers were forced to call it home. Of these 45,000, around 13,000 never made it out again.
It’s a fascinating experience for the family to really explore another side to the Civil War that you might not know about.
Andersonville National Historic Site actually began as a stockade which was built around 18 months before the end of the war, with the sole purpose of holding Union prisoners which were captured by the Confederate soldiers.
Can you imagine the conditions that these men would have found themselves in? The camp was 26.5 acres, and designed for 10,000 men. At one time there were nearly 32,000 men – over three times what could fit! Many of them were starving, and wounded, and in horrific conditions.
Those 13,000 unfortunate men who died within the walls are now buried in a cemetery just outside the prison walls which you can explore also. It’s an invaluable learning experience for the kids.
When you arrive at the Andersonville National Historic Site, why not start your experience at the National Prisoner of War Museum, which is also where the visitor center is. There are two films which can give kids an insight into the Civil War as well as the experiences of the POWs. There are some great artifacts within the exhibit that will bring the stories to life for the kids.
You can explore the Andersonville National Cemetery and Camp Sumter with brochures and audio tours if you like.
History really has come to life!