Letter from Fitzgerald, Georgia (May 31, 1919)Golden New Era Golden, Illinois June 12, 1919
I thought the readers of the Golden New Era might enjoy a few items from the Southland.
As yesterday was Decoration Day , I had contemplated for sometime to spend the day at Andersonville where one of the national cemeteries is located. I with a number of others were disappointed last year in not getting to go. The G. A. R. Post of Fitzgerald for the past number of years has chartered a train to make a trip from Fitzgerald to Andersonville and return. But last year the government needed all trains to carry soldiers and supplies for the war. (Great War…WWI)
We left Fitzgerald at 7 o’clock a.m. and arrived in Andersonville in a down pour of rain which was very distressing and unnecessary for the ladies wearing white shoes as there was an abundance of red clay to be encountered in the trip from the station to the cemetery and old stockade where so many noble men of the North are sleeping the years away.
The cemetery comprises 30 acres and is a beautiful place. It is enclosed with a brick wall 5 feet high. A nice brick building situated at the main entrance where the superintendent who has charge of the ground resides. I made a hurried examination of the grounds between showers. If there are any old soldiers in or around Golden, (Illinois) imagine a squad of 50 or more coming up that steep hill from Providence Spring and the rain pouring down they can imagine the picture. In the cemetery there are buried 13,728 of the boys who wore the blue. There are several fine monuments erected by some of the states. I will give names of the states that erected them: Illinois, New York, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota and are located in different parts of the cemetery. The following are placed on the old prison grounds: Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.
I also viewed the monument erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy to captain Wirz erected in the principal street of Andersonville, which caused quite a sensation lately in the South. Three of the soldier boys from Camp Gordon took a joy ride over to Andersonville and gave the monument a coat of paint using the German national colors. One of the boys has since been caught and given three months of hard labor at half pay, the other two are supposed to be on their way to the far west.
For fear my letter is getting too long I will close by giving you the inscription on the side of the Wirz Monument. (Signature absent)
“When time shall have softened passion and prejudice. When reason shall have stripped the mask from misrepresentation. Then Justice holding evenly Her scales will require much of past censure and praise to change places.” Jeff Davis
The following are CorinthRose publications focused upon “Decoration Day.”
- Poppin’ Peonies…a Cemetery Banquet
- In Honor Of…a Pictorial
- A Monumental Family Project
- Names and Memories
As I continue to delve into these turn-of-the-century Golden New Era newspaper articles, my learning curve and future travel destinations increases. The Andersonville National Historic Site less than seven hours away and definitely a doable excursion into Civil War history. For me, it is yet another heroic story written in blood for my freedom as an American citizen. (image below from the FDR National Monument in Washington DC)
Visit http://www.corinthrose.com for images of yet another story written in blood…Shiloh National Military Battlefield, Tennessee.