Historic Markers Across Georgia

Father Peter Whelan

Marker ID: NPS 
Location: near the large monuments on the Andersonville Prison Site.
County: Macon
Coordinates: N 32° 11.800    W 084° 07.735
  32.19666666    -84.12891666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMAFX5
Father Peter Whelan Marker
Photo by Ken Moser


Father Peter Whelan , an Irish-born Catholic Priest from Savannah, arrived at Andersonville on June 16, 1864, to minister to the sick and dying. While other priests visited for brief periods, Whelan remained for nearly four months during the hottest season and the time of highest mortality.
At the end of his stay, Whelan borrowed money to purchase ten thousand pounds of wheat flour. Baked into bread and distributed at the prison hospital, this food became known as "Whelan's bread". It lasted several months and probably saved many lives.

"By coming here he exposed himself to great danger of infection¨. His services were sought by all, for, in his kind and sympathizing looks, his meek but earnest appearance, the despairing prisoners read all that humanity had not forsaken mankind."

Private Henry M. Davidson
1st Ohio Light Artillery

The prisoners never forgot Father Whelan. When the survivors returned home and wrote their memoirs, they often mentioned Whelan's name and works.

National Park Service


For more information on Andersonville Prison (Camp Sumter):