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Contact: Eric Leonard, 229 924-0343, ext. 201
Contact: Stephanie Steinhorst, 229 924-0343, ext. 203
Park staff and volunteers explore the winter of Andersonville
ANDERSONVILLE, Georgia – At the beginning of December 1864, Andersonville was a shell of its former self; since September over 25,000 prisoners had been relocated from Andersonville to other military prisons in Georgia and South Carolina in order to prevent Sherman from liberating them. Andersonville had become a hospital prison, with most of the remaining population sick, dying, or tending to those in need. Sherman's march to the sea resulted in the abandonment of Camp Lawton, one of these replacement prisons. In the days around Christmas, over 3,400 prisoners were returned through the gates to Andersonville. Their holiday season was one of uncertainty. In his diary, George Clarkson despaired, "my heart almost fails me, hope I shall never see another such a black Christmas."
Join park staff and volunteers for special programs on the First Saturday of December (Saturday, December 6, 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 https://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. —Prison Site Talk: "Freedom's Winter"
For the 4,000 prisoners at Andersonville by the end of December, the smaller prisoner population in the stockade brought no increase in comfort or rations. Hope for exchange or rescue had faded, and prisoners relied on each other for support and survival. Join a park ranger at the prison site to explore the winter experiences at Andersonville.
3:00 p.m. —Prison Site Talk: "The Fugitives"
Prisoners attempted escape as a calculated act of resistance against their captors and only if they felt the risk of recapture and punishment were low. Most of the very few successful escapes from Andersonville occurred during the fall and winter of 1864. Successful escapes relied on more than luck and ingenuity; join a park ranger at the prison site to explore the circumstances of escape.
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. For more information on anniversary programs, themes and other featured prisons, please visit the park website at: https://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.