Primary Sources

Document Based Questions: Conditions at Andersonville

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Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade
Social Studies


This activity is modeled after the College Board’s Advanced Placement United States History Course Document Based Question (DBQ). Its purpose is to have students work with primary sources related to Andersonville Prison and to evaluate and find meaning from these sources. Students are asked to write an essay that answers the question while utilizing the provided documents as sources. It is designed for use in high school Advanced Placement Courses, but
could certainly be used in other courses.

This DBQ is neither sponsored nor reviewed by the College Board and was created by park staff at Andersonville National Historic Site. For more information on the College Board’s Advanced Placement United States History program visit


The following question requires you to construct a coherent essay that integrates your interpretation of Documents A-H and your knowledge of the period referred to in the question. High scores will be earned only by essays that both cite key pieces of evidence from the documents and draw on outside knowledge of the period. Some of the documents have been edited, and wording and punctuation have been modernized.

Download Conditions at Andersonville: Document Based Questions

Last updated: January 18, 2018