Interview a Monument: Exploring the Monuments of Andersonville National Cemetery
OverviewIn the late 1800s and early 1900s several states, along with organizations like the Woman’s Relief Corps, began to erect monuments around the Andersonville Prison Site and the Andersonville National Cemetery. The purpose of this activity is for you to explore the monuments in the cemetery and to gain an understanding as to how and why people chose to build them.
At the end of the activity, the students will be able to:
Students will learn how survivors of Andersonville and other groups memorialized Andersonville after the Civil War.
Students will examine how the development of monuments in Andersonville National Cemetery reflected the development of the United States from 1890-1920.
"This is sacred ground, consecrated by the suffering of men who here gave the last full measure of devotion." - Governor A.T. Bliss at the dedication of the Michigan monument, 1904
In the late 1800s and early 1900s several states, along with organizations like the Woman's Relief Corps, began to erect monuments around the Andersonville Prison Site and the Andersonville National Cemetery. The purpose of these monuments was to honor the soldiers who were held captive here and to memorialize those who died. Most of the monuments were built with the support of Andersonville survivors, many of whom attended the dedications. The purpose of this activity is for you to explore the monuments in the cemetery and to gain an understanding as to how and why people chose to build them.
A Note about the National Cemetery
The Andersonville National Cemetery is an active Cemetery. If there is a funeral in progress please be respectful of the mourners. There are well over 20,000 American servicemen and their families buried here. At no time should there be running, loud talking, or horseplay. Respect the landscape and monuments of the park. Do not climb on the earthworks, monuments, or cannon. Park staff asks that teachers and chaperones be aware of student behavior at all times in the cemetery.
The Andersonville National Cemetery is an active Cemetery. If there is a funeral in progress please be respectful of the mourners. If a funeral service is occurring, students should at no time approach the rostrum area.
This is an Outdoor Program
For safety and comfort, students should wear close-toed shoes and be appropriately dressed for the weather. The cemetery is a large field, and may have uneven surfaces, long grass or insects.
Provided by Teacher - photocopies of the monument worksheet included with this lesson plan. Pencils and clipboards.
Park school busses adjacent to the picnic area along the road between the prison site and the cemetery. The roads in the cemetery are too narrow to accommodate bus traffic.
Distribute to each group the worksheet for a monument.
Tell the students to shade in Wisconsin, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, Rhode Island. These states all built monuments inside the prison. Note that the Oddfellows Monument and the Stalag XVII Monument are not state monuments, so the students wouldn't shade anything in on their maps.
Discuss with the students the follow up questions.
AssessmentDiscuss with the students the following questions as a follow up:
What slogan appears on several monuments? How many monuments have this slogan?
What do you think this slogan means?
Why do you think so many states and former prisoners here chose to use this slogan?
- Look at your maps - what part of the country put up most of the monuments. Why do you think this was the case?
- Why is Georgia the only state with a monument inside the National Cemetery? Why wasn't it built at the same time as the other state monuments?
- Why were so many monuments built 1899-1916?
- Andersonville National Cemetery is an active national cemetery and veterans and their spouses are still being buried here. If you were to design a monument in the cemetery today what would it look like and who would it be a monument to? What would your monument say?