Thursday, June 9, 2011

Southern Hospitality

We experienced true Southern hospitality all day long.

Once again we started the day with the breakfast buffet that the hotel provides.
I'm going to miss grits when I go home.

I've become rather fond of them.

After breakfast we headed down the Interstate toward Montezuma.
We filled up with gas .... ouch .... and continued 
our journey to Andersonville.

Along the way we kept seeing this soft ferny tree.

We finally figured out it was bamboo!
Did you know that there is a species of bamboo 
that will grow in Nebraska?!

Our first stop was the Visitor's Center in Andersonville.
We had hit the Visitor Center in Perry last night and they 
gave us such good information that we decided to stop.

They also had a unique tree that could make
it's way to Nebraska.

I'm sure my better half would appreciate that!

We went to the National Prisoner of War Museum first.

I thought we'd spend fifteen minutes and then move on to the Andersonville prison site.
Boy, was I ever wrong.  We spent almost two hours in the museum.

One of the first displays was designed to give you a vague idea of what it might feel like to initially be captured and taken prisoner.
You're facing a concrete embankment with rifles pointing at and around you.
The slightest movement trips a sensor that starts a recording of people yelling,
shots being fired, directions screamed at you and spotlights dancing around and in your face.
It made the hair on my arms stand up.
It was hard to stand there through the full loop of the recording.

They had information about POWs in every war from the American Revolution to the Gulf War.
I honestly hadn't thought about prisoners of war with the American Revolution nor the War of 1812.  

During the Civil War, some of the women would go to the prisons where their
husbands were being held so that they could be together.  They ended up nursing the prisoners because there was very little medical care.

It was very educational and interesting and we could have easily spent another two hours or so, but I was on overload so we journeyed outside to the site of the Civil War prison.

It was only 85 degrees so we decided to walk the trail.

Visions of Devil's Tower came back to us as we realized

what goes down must come back up!

We were rewarded with a heron or crane of some sort.

Fortunately, we didn't see any of these:

These were the stockades outside the wall of the prison.
I'm not sure what they used them for because if
a prisoner crossed the "dead line"

 with so much as a hand or foot, they were shot
by guards in the pigeon roosts.

This was all the shelter they had from the elements.

45,000 men were imprisoned there.
12,913 died from starvation, disease, and malnutrition.

Captain Henry Wirz was convicted of war crimes after the war
and hanged in Washington D.C.  

From there we went to the Andersonville National Cemetery.

During July and August, 1865, Clara Barton, a detachment of laborers and soldiers, and a former prisoner named Dorence Atwater, came to Andersonville cemetery to identify and mark the graves of the Union dead. As a prisoner, Atwater was assigned to record the names of deceased Union soldiers for the Confederates. Fearing loss of of the death record at war's end, Atwater made his own copy in hopes of notifying the relatives of some 12,000 dead interred at Andersonville. Thanks to his list and the Confederate records confiscated at the end of the war, only 460 of the Andersonville graves had to be marked " Unknown U.S. Soldier."

Every guide was helpful in answering questions.  They were all friendly and very interested in what had brought us to Georgia and where we were from.

After I get home, I'll write about the Civil War Drummer Boy Museum, the site of Charles Lindbergh's first solo flight and our invitation to meet President and Rosalyn Carter.

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