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.