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Andersonville, Georgia

Andersonville is a city located in Sumter County, Georgia. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 331 (174 in 1910). It is in the southwest part of the state, about 60 miles southwest of Macon, Georgia on the Central of Georgia railway.


Andersonville was the location of the largest Confederate military prison during the American Civil War. More than 13,000 Union prisoners died there, mostly of neglect. Major Henry Wirz , commandant, was the only Civil War soldier executed for war crimes.

From November 1863 until the end of the Civil War it was the seat of a Confederate military prison. A tract of 16 1/2 acres (67,000 m²) of land near the village was cleared of trees and enclosed with a stockade. Prisoners began to arrive in February 1864, before the prison was completed and before adequate supplies had been received, and in May their number amounted to about 12,000. In June the stockade was enlarged so as to include 26 1/2 acres (107,000 m²), but the congestion was only temporarily relieved, and in August the number of prisoners exceeded 32,000. No shelter had been provided for the inmates: the first arrivals made rude sheds from the debris of the stockade; the others made tents of blankets and other available pieces of cloth, or dug pits in the ground. Owing to the slender resources of the Confederacy, the prison was frequently short of food, and even when this was sufficient in quantity it was of a poor quality and poorly prepared on account of the lack of cooking utensils. The water supply, deemed ample when the prison was planned, became polluted under the congested conditions. During the summer of 1864 the prisoners suffered greatly from hunger, exposure and disease, and in seven months about a third of them died. In the autumn, after the capture of Atlanta, Georgia, all the prisoners who could be moved were sent to Millen, Georgia and Florence, South Carolina. At Millen better arrangements prevailed, and when, after General William Tecumseh Sherman began his march to the sea, the prisoners were returned to Andersonville, the conditions there were somewhat improved.

The execution of Henry Wirz before the US Capitol as the trap door is sprung
The execution of Henry Wirz before the US Capitol as the trap door is sprung

During the war 49,485 prisoners were received at the Andersonville prison, and of these about 13,000 died. The terrible conditions obtaining there were due to the lack of food supplies in the Confederate States, the incompetence of the prison officials, and the refusal of the Federal authorities in 1864 to make exchanges of prisoners, thus filling the stockade with unlooked-for numbers. After the war Henry Wirz, the superintendent, was tried by a court-martial, and on November 10, 1865, was hanged, and the revelation of the sufferings of the prisoners was one of the factors that shaped public opinion regarding the South in the Northern states, after the close of the Civil War. The prisoners' burial ground at Andersonville has been made a national cemetery, and contains 13,714 graves of which 921 are marked "unknown."


Andersonville is located at 3211'49" North, 848'30" West (32.197008, -84.141701)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.4 km² (1.3 mi²). 3.4 km² (1.3 mi²) of it is land and none of the area is covered with water.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 331 people, 124 households, and 86 families residing in the city. The population density is 98.3/km² (254.1/mi²). There are 142 housing units at an average density of 42.2/km² (109.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 65.26% White and 34.74% African American. 1.21% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 124 households out of which 34.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.0% are married couples living together, 17.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% are non-families. 26.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.67 and the average family size is 3.21.

In the city the population is spread out with 27.8% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 105.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 97.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $29,107, and the median income for a family is $30,972. Males have a median income of $26,591 versus $20,000 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,168. 23.0% of the population and 19.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 29.3% are under the age of 18 and 13.5% are 65 or older.

Original text for the history from an old encyclopedia

Last updated: 11-06-2004 12:32:09