A few years ago, I visited Andersonville. If you don’t know what Andersonville is, I suggest you read up on the American Civil War. In short, Andersonville was a POW (Prisoner of War) camp in Southern Georgia where Confederate troops housed Union prisoners.
As you can see in this photo, the prisoners there had the most rudimentary housing. If you look closely, you can see the tower where Rebel sharpshooters would watch over the prisoners and shoot any who would attempt escape.
Here is a better view of the tower.
The horror of Andersonville is apparent to anyone who visits the site. The mind stutters over itself to understand the horrors we, as humans, inflict on each other and ourselves.
The camp also is the home of the National Prisoner of War Museum, which houses information not only about Civil War era POW’s, but about POW’s in general. There are videos featuring interviews with POW’s describing what it felt like to be captured and what went through their minds during the first moment of capture.
The full-size reproduction of a cell from the Hanoi Hilton, the infamous North Vietnamese POW camp used to house downed American air crews during the Vietnam Conflict is particularly disquieting. For me, it was only a mock-up and I could leave at any moment. For the men who were there, it was pure hell.
The museum also features an in-depth listing of some of the more famous POW’s in American history, including Jessica Lynch who was a POW during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.
I urge anyone who can, who has an interest, to visit Andersonville and the National Prisoner of War Museum. The site is a vital part of American history and it benefits us all to keep the memories of those held there alive for future generations.
For more information about Andersonville and the National Prisoner of War Museum, please visit National Prisoner of War Museum.