Civil War period relived - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Civil War period relived

March 13, 2004

Sumter-- The small city of Andersonville is famous for something that happened more than 100-years ago. The city's historic Civil War tales were passed on for generations.

The story takes place in 1864 in Sumter County. A man with a gun looming above is a sign that you've left your liberty at the door and it also sets the stage to tell the tale of the Civil War's most storied prison camp.

"Living historians and re-enactors are portraying various aspects of Andersonville prison. Andersonville was a Confederate run prison camp for Union enlisted men," says re-enactor Mark Stibitz.

Twenty-foot, wood log walls surrounded the 45,000 Union prisoners held here on 26 acres. Confederates choose the location for it's distance from the battle and the lush forest.

But even with it's beautiful surrounding, the prisoner's accommodations were poor.

"We have diary accounts of people building bricks out of clay and then laying their blankets over it like a roof," says Stibitz.

A lot of the names and faces connected with this time and place in history have been forgotten and that has driven a lot of the re-enactors here to commemorate and relive the lives of their ancestors.

"My great uncle William Henry Farley of the 14 New York heavy artillery was here," says re-enactor Addison Farley.

And now almost three generations later Addison Farley is here. He says he feels a personal link to the ground where his ancestor died.

"He joined up and paid the ultimate price so that's like any other veteran in our country should be honored," says Farley.

And there are others here with survivor stories like 22-year old Austin Murray who's great grandfather was also a prisoner at Andersonville. He contracted several diseases while imprisoned but survived and later escaped after being transferred to another holding area.

A violent part of American history recaptured to teach new lessons.

posted at 7:16PM by scott.hunter@walb.com