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Contact: Stephanie Steinhorst, 229 924-0343, ext. 203
Park staff and volunteers explore the prisoner evacuation of Andersonville
ANDERSONVILLE, Georgia – Following the dramatic overcrowding and deaths of August 1864, September brought dramatic change swiftly to prisoners held at Andersonville. Following the occupation of Atlanta by U.S. forces under General Sherman on September 2, five days later the Confederacy began evacuating prisoners from Andersonville. Replacement prisons at Florence, South Carolina and at Millen, Georgia were still under construction and not yet ready to receive prisoners. Fueled by the fear of an advance on the prison, in only seven days, Confederate authorities moved 17,000 prisoners of war. Told that they were being moved for an exchange, healthy prisoners were crammed into dozens of boxcars, leaving behind the sick and the dying. Private Samuel Melvin, 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, recounted, "…a great many detachments went out today, yet they are taking them just as fast as they can find cars."
Join park staff and volunteers for special programs on the First Saturday of July (Saturday, September 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: Departure
Join a park ranger on a guided walk following in the footsteps of the 45,000 United States soldiers held at 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.
2:00 p.m. — Special program: Recent Archaeological Investigations at Camp Lawton
In the museum theater, join Lance Green for a discussion of recent archeology field work at the Camp Lawton site. Field schools held by Georgia Southern University this spring and summer focused on identifying the location of the stockade wall and investigating subsurface features within the prison pen, including a prisoner's hut and the remains of a brick oven. Lance Greene is an assistant professor in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Georgia Southern University. He has worked as an archaeologist in the Southeast for over 20 years, on prehistoric and historic sites.
3:00 p.m. — The Burying Ground: A Walk through the Andersonville National Cemetery
Join a park ranger to walk through the Andersonville National Cemetery and learn more about the process of burying the dead at the Andersonville Prison. Meet at the Georgia Monument.
All programs are subject to change due to weather and other concerns. So that visitors can experience the Andersonville Fair, there will be no First Saturday program in October. However, a fall Living History Weekend will occur October 25-26, 2014.
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.