The Civil War Village of Andersonville, Georgia is located just off Georgia Highway 49 between Americus and Oglethorpe and is some 21 miles northeast of Plains. The railroad terminal at Andersonville was the arrival point for 45,000 Federal prisoners destined for incarceration at Camp Sumter also known as the Andersonville Civil War Prison. Prisoners were marched the quarter mile from the depot to the prison.
On the main street of Andersonville is the Drummer Boy Museum which the Editor of Blue and Gray Magazine says is the best Civil War museum under one roof anywhere in the United States. We are open and ready to greet tour groups 364 days a year, every day but Christmas.
The Andersonville National Historic Site and Prisoner of War Museum is also located in this tiny town. From the Revolutionary War to Operation Iraqi Freedom, American prisoners of war have endured untold hardships, and shown tremendous courage. Andersonville NHS commemorates the sacrifices of these brave Americans through exhibits in the National Prisoner of War Museum; preserves the site of Camp Sumter(Andersonville prison); and manages Andersonville National Cemetery.
Camp Sumter, commonly called Andersonville, was one of the largest military prisons established by the Confederacy during the Civil War. In existence for 14 months, over 45,000 Union soldiers were confined at the prison. Of these, almost 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, and exposure to the elements. The largest number held in the 26½-acre stockade at any one time was more than 32,000, during August of 1864. Today the beauty of the prison site belies the suffering that once took place inside the stockade.
The 1970 legislation responsible for establishing Andersonville National Historic Site instructed the site "to interpret the role of prisoners-of-war camps in history" and "to commemorate the sacrifice of Americans who lost their lives in such camps." To that end, the exhibits in the National Prisoner of War Museum serve as a memorial to all American prisoners of war. The museum opened in 1998 and is dedicated to the American men and women who have suffered as POWs.
The cemetery is the final resting place for those who perished while being held as POWs at Camp Sumter. It is now a National Cemetery, serving as a honored burial place for present-day veterans. The National Park Service maintains fourteen National Cemeteries nationwide. Only two of these, Andersonville National Historic Site and Andrew Johnson National Historic Site are classified as active, continuing to bury veterans and their dependents.