National Prisoner of War Museum
One of the most moving of NPS sites commemorates the infamous Confederate Civil War prison camp at Andersonville, officially known as Camp Sumter, which is located 26 miles west of I-75 Exit 127. During the scant 14 months that the camp existed more than 45,000 Union soldiers were imprisoned here, 13,000 of which died from disease, malnutrition or exposure.
Although camp was originally designed to house 10,000 prisoners, the pen was enlarged from 16.5 to 26.5 acres in June 1864. During the following month, a sergeant of the 9th Ohio Cavalry wrote in his diary “to describe this hell on Earth where it takes seven of its occupants to make a Shadow.”
In late 1890, the site was purchased by the Georgia Department of a Union veterans’ organization, the Grand Army of the Republic. The prison site was donated to the people of the U.S. in 1910, until it became a unit of the National Park Service in 1971.
Today, the prison site includes walking and driving tours, a historic cemetery, many state monuments and the extensive National Prisoner of War Museum. Both an orientation film and the museum detail the ordeals facing American POWs throughout the history of the nation.
‘Shebangs’ (prisoner shelters) and stockade
Andersonville National Cemetery