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Contact: Stephanie Steinhorst , 229 924-0343, ext. 203
Park staff and volunteers explore prisoner desperation at Andersonville
ANDERSONVILLE, Georgia – At the beginning of July 1864, over 26,000 United States soldiers were imprisoned in the newly enlarged 26 acre stockade at Andersonville.Some desperate prisoners turned to theft, assault and murder as the temperatures and tensions climbed.With the permission of Confederate authorities, vigilante groups of prisoners formed to arrest marauders, who fell under the term "raiders." Ultimately, a couple hundred prisoners were arrested and tried by fellow Union prisoners.Six men were found guilty and hanged in a public execution inside the stockade; while the reign of the Raiders was ended, violence continues to plague the prisoners. The experiences of July 1864 illustrate the disheartening reality of spending Independence Day as a prisoner and the grueling crucible of captivity as summer approaches and freedom remains elusive.
Join park staff and volunteers for special programs on the First Saturday of July (Saturday, July 5, 2014), to learn more about the Andersonville Prison. There is no admission fee and all programs are open to the public.
10:00 a.m. — Special Program—The Road To Andersonville: Arrival
Join a park ranger on a guided walk following in the footsteps of the 45,000 United States soldiers who entered into Andersonville prison from 1864-1865. The tour begins at the National Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville National Historic Site and lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes. The tour starts promptly at 10:00 a.m. Reservations are required for this program and may be obtained online at http://go.nps.gov/roadtoandersonville
11:00 a.m. — Prison Site Walk
Join longtime volunteer Jimmy Culpepper at the Wisconsin Monument to explore the history of the prison site.
1:00 p.m. — Special program: Father Peter Whelan
Living Historian Mark Hale will present a first person portrayal of Father Peter Whelan. A Catholic priest in Savannah, Father Whelan had been taken prisoner with the Confederate soldiers captured at the surrender of Fort Pulaski in 1862 and held as a prisoner of war in New York. In June of 1864, Father Whelan came to Andersonville to minister to the prisoners, staying until October.
Father Whelan will also be available on the grounds of the prison site throughout the day to interact with visitors and share his Andersonville experiences.
2:00 p.m. — Ranger program: Fort Delaware Military Prison
In the museum theater, park ranger Stephanie Steinhorst will discuss the history of Fort Delaware Military Prison and the experiences of southern soldiers and civilians on an island prison.
3:00 p.m. — The Raiders: Crime and Punishment Among Prisoners
Prisoners arriving straight from the battlefields of Virginia brought with them a wealth of supplies and the spring time saw a rapid increase in crime among the prisoners. This crime wave of "raiding" and "robbing" culminated in late June and early July 1864. Meet park ranger Eric Leonard at the Star Fort to explore this dramatic moment in the prison.
All programs are subject to change due to weather and other concerns.
First Saturdays are one of a variety of programs over the two-year period of the 150th anniversary of the prison in 2014 & 2015 that will explore the prison site and the prison experience at Andersonville while also addressing the larger story at other military prisons, in the north and south. Every two months during the anniversary period, the park will focus on a single word theme that represents the events, conditions, or emotions of prisoners during the war. To expand the prisoner story, the park will feature other Civil War prisons and draw on their stories to present a fuller picture of the captivity experience.
For more information on anniversary programs, themes and other featured prisons, please visit the park website at: http://go.nps.gov/cwprisons
Andersonville National Historic Site is located 10 miles south of Oglethorpe, GA and 10 miles northeast of Americus, GA on Georgia Highway 49. The national park features the National Prisoner of War Museum, Andersonville National Cemetery and the site of the historic Civil War prison, Camp Sumter. Andersonville National Historic Site is the only national park within the National Park System to serve as a memorial to all American prisoners of war. Park grounds are open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The National Prisoner of War Museum is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily. Admission is free. For more information on the park, call 229 924-0343, or visit at www.nps.gov/ande/ Visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndersonvilleNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/andeNHS
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.