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Andersonville 1863 - 1865 In A Confederate Prison
During the later stages of the Civil War, many of the men who were taken prisoner by each side endured horrors beyond description. The prisons that housed these captives had been hastily erected when the prisoner exchange agreements of 1862 collapsed over the issue of slave exchange, the North insisted on treating slaves the same as any other prisoners, but the south insisted that slaves be treated as runaways. Attempts to revive the agreements had failed, and in August, 1864, Union General Ulyses S. Grant sealed their fate by announcing, " Every man we hold, when released on parole or otherwise, becomes an active soldier against us, either directly or indirectly."
One result of Grant's position was Andersonville, a Confederate prison camp which took its name from a small village in Sumter County Georgia, about sixty miles southwest of Macon Georgia. In November, 1863, the Confederates began construction of an open stockade on some 26 1/2 acres near the village. The stockade was enclosed by pine log walls some 15 to 20 feet high. The area was swampland bisected by a stream about five feet wide and a foot deep.
The prisoners, who numbered 49,485 during Andersonville's years of operation, were housed in tents that did little to protect them from the elements.
As many as 30,000 men lived in the prison at any given time under conditions so horrible that the death toll from typhoid, typhus, infected wounds, and starvation reached 3,000 a month between March and August 1864.
In all some 13,000 plus men died at Andersonville, and the rest suffered dreadfully from hunger, thirst, lice, fevers, and scurvy. In September, 1864, Dr. Joseph Jones of the Confederacy spent three weeks at Andersonville and issued a report stating that the place held " a giagantic mass of human misery ".
When his and other reports about conditions in the various Confederate prisons reached the North, there were outraged reactions. Secretery of War Edwin Stanton charged that " the enormity of the crime committed by the rebels towards our prisoners cannot but fill with horror the civilized world. There appears to have been a deliberate system of savage and barbarous treatment"
When the war ended, Captain Henry Wirz, the stockade commander at Andersonville, was tried, convicted of murder, and sent to the scaffold on November 10, 1865. It is Captain Henry Wirz is is most often seen in and around the old stockade grounds. His ghost appears to be one of the most active.
The Ghosts Of Andersonville Prison
It has always been said that you'll have paranormal activity and ghosts anywhere that you have the great loss of life and suffering like went on at Andersonville Prison. Andersonville Prison is located near Americus Georgia and it was a Confederate Prisoner Of War Camp during the American Civil War. Ten's of thousands of Union soldiers were imprisoned here during the American Civil War and the current Andersonville National Cemetery has 13,714 graves of former Union soldiers.
It is believed that so many men died there because the living conditions were so bad at the prison. The prison was on twenty seven acres of land and it was made up of mostly wooden tents and huts. Visitors today can walk the twenty seven acres and it is out lined with white poles so you know where the prison was. Two sections of the stockade fence have been put back up just like it was when prisoners were being held here.
Historians who have studied the prison and the way the living conditions were when the Union prisoners were held there are surprised that anyone lived through being held at Andersonville Prison. The main reason so many men died was because of the over crowding and the horrible living conditions.
The Confederacy and the Union both treated prisoners horribly. And it's said that any where that you have great suffering and death that you will have paranormal activity and death.
For at least a hundred years people have told of seeing and hearing things when the fog covers the old prison grounds as it often does in summer. Especially after an evening thunderstorm. It was last year when I was there after a thunderstorm in late August when the brand new batteries in our cameras and voice recorders all went out with in a couple of minutes time. We were not able to take photos or video and then the recorders both quit. Something in the area drained our batteries. At one point I opened a new pack of triple A batteries for one of the cameras and they were dead also.
It has been reported by many people over the years that they have experienced the same exact thing when visiting Andersonville.
We were there from 10.30 P.M. through 2 A.M. and we heard many sounds that have no logical explanation. We heard sounds that sounded like a huge group of men out in front of us talking. At one point we heard a man with a strong southern accent yell, " Who Goes There ". It was loud and plain as day. It was no one in our group. We could not cross the road and go on the prison grounds because the old prison grounds close at 5 P.M. so we stayed where we had permission to be.
At one point we heard a sound that sounded like someone was beating on a pan with a spoon. And then just after midnight we heard a mans pleas of mercy and they were coming from where the old prison had stood. Later we heard several men talking in that direction and then we heard a horse run by though there was no horse there. Around 1.30 we heard several rifle shots from the direction of the prison and at the same time we heard running and shouting from that direction. Something was going on over on the grounds where the prison had once been but there was no one there. At about 1.40 P.M. we clearly could see a fire over in the fog on the grounds where the prison had once stood and there were clearly men moving around that fire. We left at 2 A.M. as we had agreed to do so with the man that owned the land where we were set up. It was very clear that paranormal activity was clearly going on over there. We also smelled what was I think meat cooking just before we left. We drove around the area several times but we never found where the smell of meat cooking could be coming from.
Several people over the years have told of seeing civil war soldiers on the grounds where the old prison once stood and in the Andersonville National Cemetery. A man with one leg and walking on a crutch is often seen in the area. He is almost always described exactly the same. The only problem is that some people say he is hobbling along just above the ground. I'm sure that would be rather spooky.
We stayed just down the road in a cheap motel and just before daylight the next morning I woke up feeling great sorrow in the room with us. I saw what looked like a man in a confederate uniform look right at me and he walked right through the door. I know I was awake. I have seen things all my life and the confederate soldier had been there in the room with us. I don't know why it followed us but it had to of. When I first saw it there in the motel with us it had looked solid but when it noticed I was staring at it the ghost dressed in a confederate uniform walked right out of the room right through the door. It is one of the clearest ghosts I've ever seen. I just wonder why it followed us. Did it have something to tell us or was it watching us to see what we were doing. I will always wonder about that.
Andersonville National Cemetery
Andersonville National Cemetery
Ghost Stories Of Andersonville Prison
Sherry From Alabama
Me and my husband went to the Andersonville National Cemetery last year and after just a few minutes I had to leave there. I saw a young woman all dressed in black setting on the ground up in the cemetery. As me and my husband started to walk past her she vanished. And I could feel a horrible feeling of doom surround me. I told my husband we had to leave. And we did.
Adam From Florida
I went to Andersonville with a school group and about half of us saw two soldiers who were dressed in Union uniforms standing talking at the edge of the cemetery. My friend Shiela walked towards them going to ask if she could take their photo when they were just gone. I had never seen anything like it and it shook me up. We talked later on the bus and about half of the people on the bus including three teachers from our school saw them. They were there and then they were gone. No way it was a trick or anything.
Karen From Tennessee
I and my Grandma have always seen ghosts and things. I went to Andersonville with my boyfriends family and when we drove up I saw the prison the way it was back when it was running. I wouldn't get out of the van and my boyfriends family thought I was nuts. We are no longer together and I think its because of what happened at Andersonville. The day I was there it was just like I had gone back in time to when the prison was running. I sat in the van while they walked around but I never did get out of the van. I never want to go back there again.
Those are three stories sent into us about paranormal happenings at Andersonville Prison. If you have a story you would like to share just post it below in the comments section.
Hometown Tales - The Horror of Andersonville
The Ghosts Of Andersonville Prison
The current Andersonville Prison National historical site opened in 1970. Currently the site does not tell you or show you anything about the horrific happenings that went on during the civil wartime. Currently the site honors all the American Prisoners of War.
It is believed that over 13,000 Union soldiers kept under horrible conditions died at Andersonville Prison. The man who was in charge of Andersonville Prison during the time it was a prison was camp commander, Captain Henry Wirtz. After the war ended he was tried and convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity and hung for brutality. He refused to speak at all on the day he was hung.
Highway 49 is the road that leads to the prison and over the years many people have told of seeing a man who can only be Captain Wirtz walking along the road on his way to the prison. Many people over the years thinking he is an actor dressed as a confederate have stopped to offer him a ride but he vanishes when they stop to pick him up.
When there is fog on the grounds of the old prison many people have told of seeing and hearing strange things there in the fog. Strange sounds including pleas of mercy have been reported. Horses are often heard though rarely seen. Sounds of men laughing, talking and crying are also reported. The smell of meat or food cooking have been reported often. I saw and heard most of these things when I visited the area.
If you have your own stories of paranormal things going on at Andersonville Prison please feel free to post them in the comment section below. And thanks for reading this Hub Page.
Please Post Your Comments About Andersonville Prison And Thanks For Reading.
Ster 19 on April 14, 2018:
The Union Blockade cut off all supplies for the South and the North stopped prisoner exchanges. Please find another party to blame for this human atrocity.
C & T G on September 22, 2016:
Visited with my husband one mid morning till early afternoon. While in the prisoner entry gate/blockade area, my husband started talking and at the same time I heard 2, 3 or 4 other people talking a bit above a whisper, almost told my husband to be quiet so I could make out the conversation, but he had stopped talking and I couldn't hear them any longer. We were alone in the whole prison field/complex. Thought it was my imagination. No other incidences.
Blake on January 10, 2016:
My mother worked at Andersonville for several years. One night, I rode out to the Museum with her to get something from her office. Upon my request, we rode into the cemetery. Under the full moon's light I saw multiple Union and Confederate soldiers walking around and socializing throughout the cemetery. And where the Raiders are buried were 6 alone bandit-looking men. Around their necks were hangmen's ropes. If you didn't know, that is how the Raiders were killed. They were lynched by other camp members.
Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on July 03, 2012:
Thank you I appreciate your short story and comment. Andersonville was a Horrible place. Today it is a part of history and I believe there are many unhappy spirits there.
moonlake from America on July 02, 2012:
I love your stories of ghost in Andersonville. I would love to go there. My great-great-grandfather was a union prisoner there. His health was never good after getting out of Anersonville so told by the family. Voted up and Shared.
Kitty Fields from Summerland on July 02, 2012:
Very good! Voted up and interesting. :)
Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on July 02, 2012:
I to believe they can see us. Thanks for your comment and kind words. They are appreciated.
Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on July 02, 2012:
An interesting notation. I believe that these events occur like a tape playing over and over again in another dimension, as none of these problems have ever been solved or justice served. I also believe that these people see us, just as we see them, and they disappear because they fear that we will harm them, too. Perhaps someone that works with ghosts can give these people the true rest that they deserve. You did a wonderful job on this hub.
Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on July 01, 2012:
Fascinating, crazyhorsesghost! Loved every word of it. I would love to visit Andersonville if I'm ever down that way again. VUMS.
Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on July 01, 2012:
Thanks very much for your comment. I have been there three times and all three times something has stopped us from investigating the site. The first time a hurricane came through the area and stopped us because of the rain. The second time we were held by local police all night because they would not believe us we had permission to be there. We were released after 9 AM the next morning. The last time we had permission to be on a piece of land near the prison site and our batteries even new ones in the packs went dead. We have permission to be on the prison site on the property this coming August and I hope this time we will be able to get something done. Alastar I appreciate your comment Mate. Thanks.
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on July 01, 2012:
Nice write on Andersonville 'Ghost. Here's one incident to go with the others: My moms a sensitive in the manner of being able to pick up on past feelings, emotions, etc in her surroundings. Last year she and her husband visited the site. Within 15 minutes she was physically ill from what she was picking up and they had to leave. She told me the whole area was giving off intensely negative vibes. On another thought, any remaining rebel soldiers spirits may be rather unhappy since the Feds took the place away from the State and removed everything southern to be replaced by hundreds of US flags and such.