Q:

What role did the residents of Andersonville play in the Civil War?

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Quick Answer

Andersonville, Georgia, was a supply depot during the Civil War, and residents of the town worked at various depots and businesses. The town included a post office, a blacksmith shop and stable, general stores and saloons. It also had a school, a church and houses for residents. From 1864 until the end of the Civil War, the town supported Camp Sumter, a Confederate military prison.

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Full Answer

The town of Andersonville is most known for the notorious Camp Sumter. The prison was the South's largest and was used to hold captured Union soldiers. The facility first opened because of disagreements about how to handle black soldiers. It was put together quickly to house 10,000 prisoners, though more than 30,000 ended up imprisoned there. The overcrowding created inhumane conditions, and some guards brutalized prisoners.

During the 14 months the prison was open, 13,000 Union soldiers died there. The prison closed after the Civil War ended. A month later, Henry Wirz, Camp Sumter's commander, was tried, convicted and executed. Wirz was one of only a few convicted for war crimes after the Civil War.

Today, the town of Andersonville is the home of a museum and the preserved remains of the camp site. They also hold a yearly event during which people dress in Civil War-era costumes and stage mock battles.

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