Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Friday, April 01, 2016

FMCA rally and Civil War history

We attended the Perry GA FMCA  rally.  This was our third FMCA rally and certainly the biggest of the FMCA rallies we have attended.  There was a total of around 2800 motorhomes.  The fairgrounds is a very large facility and it was about a mile walk from our coach to the events area.  There was lots to do with two buildings of vendors and a long list of seminars.  Most of the motorhome manufacturers had their newest models available along with various customized units to explore.  I found the wildly updated 1974 Winnebago very interesting.

We enjoyed ourselves but found the logistics of the operation a bit cumbersome.  Compared to the entertainment we have seen at other rallies, the threesome of Lorrie Morgan, Joe Diffie and Mark Chestnut seemed uninspired.  I had the feeling they were not really into their performance.

Of course, the really fun parts of these events is the people you meet, including folks we have met over the years and get a chance to reconnect.  Our FMCA club, the BATS, had a good turn out here and we enjoyed spending time with them.  Our happy hour event was a good way to catch up with everyone.

The Civil War has been an interest of mine for many years and while we were full timing, we have visited many sites across the country.  So it was a natural next stop to visit the Andersonville POW camp site located with the National POW Museum and a national cemetery just a short distance away.

This POW camp was perhaps the most infamous of the Civil War POW sites.  Its history is worth studying in detail, to realize just how cruel mankind can be.  A short version of this history is that the camp was started in Feb of 1864 and was abandoned at the end of the war.  It was nothing more than a wooden stockade that in the end covered just over 26 acres.  It had no shelters or any other provisions for the prisoners.  They were exposed to the elements year around.  Little food or supplies was funded for the camp.  The only available drinking water came from the  spring fed ditch that ran through the middle of the stockade after first passing through the barracks for the guards and other contaminated areas.  In dry spells there was no water and in heavy rains , it flooded the camp with contaminated water.

The camp was originally planned to hold about 15000 prisoners, but after the two sides stopped the common practice of exchanging prisoners, it swelled to over 45000 men.  Of those, nearly 13000  died. 

The commander of the Prison,  Lt Henry Wirz, was charged with war crimes after the war and was hanged in Washington, D.C.  No one else was charged for the atrocities that occurred there.

After the war, a former prisoner of the camp personally visited the burial site and with the help of Clara Barton ( who started the Red Cross) was able to identify many of those unknown victims.

Also on site, the National Prisoner of War Museum relates the history of US prisoners of war throughout our countries history.  In the museum, there is a short but powerful movie about Andersonville that should not be missed. 

Where these prisoners were buried in mostly unmarked graves is now a part of the Andersonville National Cemetery. 


Judith Bell said...

I found my visit to Andersonville and the National Prisoner of War Museum to be a very emotional experience. My eyes tear up just remembering it.

Rick and Kathy Rousseau said...

Even after all the past wars it seems that even today man sadly has not gotten the message of "Peace on Earth."
Be Safe and Enjoy!

It's about time.

Laura Skjenna said...

Those prisoners experienced hardships that I can't even imagine.

Paul and Marsha Weaver OCT. 17, 2009 said...

Beautiful header photo.

2800 motorhomes....egads. That is ginormous! Oh my gosh...Andersonville POW camp site is disgusting! I cannot believe anyone would have survived being exposed to the elements year round. We have never visited that area, but I do want to now. Added it to our Pinterest. Thanks so much for doing this blog. Excellent info.

Sherry said...

I've never been to a rally that big. Not sure I could handle so many people. You can hardly tell that is a 1974 rig with those new "up to date" colors. Just goes to show what you could do with a vintage coach if money were no object. Andersonville is so very sad. I read the book and am not sure I could go there. Like the concentration camps in WWII it is just amazing how horribly men can treat other men.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

Just another example of the senseless loss of life that occurred in the Civil War. Neither side was innocent of the dastardly treatment of prisoners. It's so sad to think of so many going to their graves as unknowns, their families tormented for the rest of their lives never knowing what happened to their loved ones.

Nickie Jim said...

We've never been to Andersonville, either. Like Sherry, I don't know if I could go there. Appreciate reading about it on your blog. What is FMCA? Huge Rally!!

Wanderin' said...

I've always wanted to visit the Andersonville Prison. I had a great uncle (or was it a gr gr uncle) that spent some time there. We had it in our plans this last year but the nasty weather chased us in another direction.

Gypsy said...

Now you need to visit Ft. Pulaski (outside Savannah) and get the story on horrible treatment of prisoners from the other side's point of view.

Peter + Beatrix said...

2800 rigs would be too big a crowd for us. Interesting visit to the museum.

Erin Erkun said...

Interesting ... and I'm sure, emtotional visit to Andersonville. I can't even grasp the concepet of 2,800 rigs in one place.

Bob and Jo said...

Civil war history is fascinating.