South Georgians revisit Civil War - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgians revisit Civil War

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March 9, 2003

Andersonville- Dozens of men camped out at the Andersonville historic site portrayed a group of Union prisoners of war. For 14 months during the Civil War, men came to the Andersonville prison camp, but often times they never left.

"Basically from February 1864 through April of 1865 during that time frame approximately 44,000 prisoners came through the gates. Out of that 44,000; 12,920 men died," explains re-enactor Mark Stibitz.

Re-enactors from all over the country participate in the two day event. One New Jersey man demonstrates harsh conditions as he wrings out his wet shirt to gather drinking water. Something he said many had to do while at the prison.

"The water in the sinks they bathed in them and they used it as the latrines and guys were dying from it," says Frank Congemi.

Though conditions may have been bad for Union soldiers, re-enactors say they hope visitors won't focus solely on the poor living conditions and high death rates.

"Although we talk about Andersonville, all prison camps during the Civil War could be and were just as severe at any given time. We use Andersonville because its the best preserved and first preserved," adds Stibitz.

Re-enactors hope visitors will walk away with a greater understanding of the history behind the men of Andersonville, and the role they played in Civil War history.

One re-enactor says participating in living history programs throughout the country has even prompted him to research his own family history.

Posted at 6:10 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com