A correspondent of the Boston Herald
who recently visited the site of the prison at Andersonville
, writes as follows:
Anderson is the name of a station on the Southwestern Railroad, about sixty miles, or two hours ride, from Macon.
It is nothing but a railroad station, and the only other thing besides the railroad which characterizes the spot, is the immense Union Cemetery, of some twenty acres, over which floats the Star-Spangled Banner.
The Cemetery is located on the spot where the prisoners were buried and the trenches were dug with such precision and regularity that the soldiers were not generally disturbed, but allowed to remain as their comrades interred them, working under the watchful eyes and fixed bayonets of the
The Cemetery is surrounded by a stout brick wall, with an iron gate, and is under the supervision of a Superintendent, who lives on the grounds.
It is a plain spot.
There is not much attempt made to ornament this city of our martyred dead.
It would take a great deal of even such influences as plants and flowers possess to dispel the melancholy memories that haunt this hill in the pine woods of South Georgia.
Southerners shun the spot, but the Cemetery is much visited by Northern travelers, and the register in the Superintendent's lodge contains many strange inscriptions besides the names of the visitors.
One lady asks the forgiveness of God for the murderers of her brother, who sleeps in the Cemetery.
Sentiments of passionate denunciation are more frequent.
Occasionally a man who was in the stockade turns up among the visitors.
These men, whatever their natural temper, the Superintendent says, can almost be distinguished by the effects of fear, dread, and vivid recollection, which come back like a shock into their faces as they again stand on the now quiet and sunlit scene of their war experiences.
In the Cemetery the ground is of a general level, and the graves of the known and
unknown, properly separated, range in rows, closely laid, as far as the eye can reach.
There are actually buried on this elevation thirteen thousand, seven hundred and fifteen men! The soldier whose identity was preserved by his comrades is marked in his resting-place by a white marble stone, rising eighteen inches above the level of the ground.
A square marble block with the word “Unknown,” is repeated about one thousand times in the Cemetery.
There was no necessity for the contractor to swell his bill with mule-bones in filling up this burial-place.
There were bones, and millions of bones; bones ready at hand when he began his work to occupy him till long after he was wearied of it and longed to see it done.
The bodies of fourteen thousand men, who perished not where death was neck and neck with life — on the battle-field --but in the comparative (?) security of prison walls.
Part of the stockade is still standing.
There were two rows of trees, one inside the other.
The outer row has fallen down, save for a few posts here and there, but a large part of the inner wall still stands.
Trees have grown up around the old pen, and a thick growth of underbrush now covers the site of the prison.
No traces of
the famous brook that ran through the stockade remain, nor the wonderful wells dug by the prisoners.
It is all now a mild and peaceful section of the country.
Many of the soldiers in the Cemetery have handsome headstones erected to their memories by friends in the North, and efforts are frequently made to have certain graves “kept green” with flowers and a showerpot.