Visiting Andersonville was near top of places in Georgia that Donna wanted to visit. It is amazing that we lived in Georgia close to 20 years and never made it. It was just a short three hour drive from where we used to live. What I really enjoyed about this somber museum is that it took you through the process of being a POW after explaining what is and is not a POW. Each section gives you an example of what a POW may have gone through. First up is capture. You walk into a room and there are guns pointing at you telling you to surrender. You march to the next section. You get to see what types of food you might have been fed. How you might been allowed to write letters but all the rules that go into letter writing due to censorship. In the rear of the museum is the family of POWs wall. You got to hear from family members as well as POWs talking about how they wanted to live so that they could see their family again. This room was the most impactful to me. Watching and hearing the family stories from wives to children talking about their service member. It was heartbreaking.
This is a two part museum. It starts with POWs from all conflicts involving the US. Outside is the Andersonville Prison Site and National Cemetery. I found it amazing that some 45,000 POW were kept in this camp. The men had to be close quarters since not all of the land was habitable. The site is marked where the original wall would have been, the gun line and where men lived. I could imagine the squalor. The cemetery is adjacent to the park. It is still an active cemetery to this day. While the total number of black men that were held in Andersonville is unknown; those buried in the cemetery have a gravestone marked as USCT. Donna and I walked the rows until we could find such a marker.