Andersonville, the rebel Civil War prison usually paired with the word “horror,” opened in central Georgia in late February, 1864.
It was an open stockade with high wooden walls and no shelter for the captives except tents, lean-tos and huts they built themselves out of salvaged wood.
A fence was erected a short distance from the high walls, It was dubbed “deadline” because guards had orders to shoot any prisoner who went past the fence line.
Thirteen thousand Union soldiers died at Andersonville in the 14 months it was open. The prison was built for 10,000, but housed 33,000.
Captives received meager or no rations. Some days, the ration was a tablespoon of grain or meat, often contaminated. Diarrhea, dysentery, pneumonia and scurvy were all rampant within the camp. The water supply was inadequate and conditions were unsanitary.
Andersonville commander Maj. Henry Wirz was tried and executed for murder after the war.