Hometown Tales Podcast

Monday, December 29, 2008

Andersonville, GA - The Horror of Andersonville

Still recognized as one of the vilest testaments to man’s inhumanity, Andersonville was the largest Confederate prison of the Civil War.

45,000 Union soldiers were confined here. Of these, almost 13,000 die from smallpox, typhoid, scurvy or diarrhea. Prisoners lived in huts constructed of scrap wood. When the building supplies ran out, they dug holes to live in, escaping the summer heat and humidity. Rations were not given on a daily basis. Because of this “Raiders” (lawless mobs) began to rob, beat, and kill other prisoners…feeding off the weak.

Mosby Collins of the 144th New York was leader of “Mosby’s Raiders”. His 700 raiders were armed with clubs and homemade knives. Usually they would steer newly arrived prisoners to the “best” available spots in Andersonville. That spot was in fact best of a quick mugging and a beat down.

And through it all, Confederate Captain Henry Wirz just watched the bodies pile up. He was the only confederate officer tried for war crimes. He was found guilty and hanged. Perhaps Wirz’

s one moment of human compassion came when he allowed the prisoners to put Mosby and six of his raiders on trial for terrorizing the camp. They were found guilty, hanged and buried away from the rest of the dead.

The sounds of moans and marching feet are still heard today. Apparitions of soldiers on the prison grounds have also been seen as well as the sounds of gunfire heard after dark. Local legend tells of Civil War re-enactors, wearing Union uniforms encountering fog, shadows, walking into cold spots and a feeling of dread.

Historic Re-enactor Ed Crowe and several of his colleagues were camping out at Andersonville in 1984. It was a hot August night however they would all feel uncanny chills and sudden illness throughout the night. The symptoms did not appear to be a food sickness because each had eaten different and separate items. The strange event would sent them packing early in the night as each member of the camp felt a sudden urge to leave. Hometown Tales caught up with Ed on our vidcast. Ed would also uncover the Civil War Ghost often seen by Truck Drivers along the highway in Andersonville.

Years ago a tractor trailer truck came to a screeching halt after seeing an odd figure mysteriously appear along the side of the road. A figure decked out in a Confederate Civil War uniform who appeared and disappeared from the brush. The legend has grown since and is often repeated by Andersonville Prison Rangers. Was it a lost soul of the war, a ghost from the past? Hometown Tales caught up with the legend behind the ghost. See it on the Vidcast