Sunday, October 31, 2010
Andersonville was the site of one of the biggest tragedies during the War Between the States. Although there were Union prisons with as gruesome carnage as what was seen at Andersonville, this prison is often remembered for its emaciated bodies, starving Union soldiers who suffered because there was a lack of food, and the awful stench of death associated with the place. However, there is another story about Andersonville that has endured in Georgia myth and legend.
Apparently, there was a group of Union prisoners called the Andersonville Raiders. This group stole, and in some cases, did physical harm to many of their fellow Union prisoners while in the camp-all in an effort to survive. Their bullying and pillaging became so intense, that when they were caught and brought to trial, it was their fellow prisoners who tried them and then sentenced them to hang, right there in the prison yard. Personnel and vistors to the site say that the apparitions of Union soldiers can still be seen here on these grounds. The phrases "Had to rob them," and "Couldn't have survived otherwise" can be heard floating through the air.
The legend is best described by the famous folklorist, the former Nancy Roberts in her book Civil War Ghosts and Legends. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in folklore and legend, particulary in the area of the War Between the States. Roberts, who died a few years ago, did a marvelous job of retelling the famous legend of the Ghosts of the Andersonville Raiders.