Historic Markers Across Georgia

World of Lost Spirits

Marker ID: NPS 
Location: Andersonville NHS, Andersonville, GA
County: Macon
Coordinates: N 32° 11.768    W 084° 07.637
  32.19613333    -84.12728333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMWJ14


World of Lost Spirits

When the inner gates swung open, new prisoners had their first vision of life inside. The noise, the stench, the crowd of the emaciated men desperate for news, must have been overwhelming.

New arrivals were known as "fresh fish." Anything of value -- Money, buttons, clothing -- might be conned or stolen from them. Even worse was the sight of other prisoners; in those skeletal forms and lifeless eyes, a new prisoner could foresee his own fate.

Directly ahead stretched "Market Street," the only defined path through the jumble of shelters. Food wagons stopped there, prisoners had bartering sites, and prison merchants set up stalls in a pathetic parody of a commercial street.

"Once inside . . . men exclaimed: 'is this hell?' Verily the great mass of gaunt unnatural looking beings, soot-begrimedd, and clad in filthy tatters, that we saw stalking about inside this pen looked, indeed, as if they might belong to a world of lost spirits."- W. B. Smith, 14th Illinois Infantry, October 9, 1864


For more information on Andersonville Prison (Camp Sumter):
Historical background about the infamous Andersonville Prison.
angelfire - Andersonville Civil War Prison
wikipedia - Andersonville Prison, February 1864 - April 1865
U.S. National Park Service - Andersonville National Historic Site
thewildgeese - Father Peter Whelan: Serving the Blue and the Gray
Wikipedia - Father Peter Whelan