Did They Get What They Deserved?

Did you know?

Located inside the beautiful Andersonville Cemetery, you’ll find six graves that are isolated.  Why they are separated from the rest is no mystery.  This is the story of the Raiders of Andersonville.  Before we get to the lore, we must first share the history.

It’s no secret that Andersonville was once home to one of the most horrific scenes the state has ever witnessed.  That is the prisoner of war camp that has now been immortalized (as it should be) and can be visited during the day.

Being established in 1864, it was formally called Camp Sumter, and it was a place you did not want to be in.  Andersonville was chosen due to it being located near fresh water and the railroad system.

Why was Andersonville so big?  Camp Sumter was built after a POW exchange between the Union and the Confederacy ended.  Because the two quit trading prisoners, there became a surplus, and it quickly became over crowded.  It resulted in unspeakable conditions for anyone who became a prisoner there.  Oftentimes, it meant you were about to die a slow death.

To make it worse, there was a group of men who went rogue.  These men were incarcerated among their peers but often times committed heinous acts against their fellow soldiers.  They did whatever it took to survive.  This included stealing, robbing, “terrorizing,” and even murdering fellow comrades.  It’s important to remember that these six men weren’t the only ones.  They had people under them doing their deeds for them. They were just the “heads of the snake.”  It’s estimated that there were actually somewhere between 75 to 150 raiders.  This would have made hell even hotter for the average prisoner.

Eventually, a group known as the “Regulators” was formed to combat the terrible Raiders.  Due to the actions of that group, the six leaders were arrested.  After a fair “trial,” they were hanged in gallows that were built the very same day they were executed, which was July 11, 1864.  Their graves were forever set aside as a warning to any other inmate factions that ever wanted to rise.

It’s said that sometimes you can hear chants of “Willie” and “hang them” when visiting the site.  William Collins was known to be theleader” of these six leaders.  Also, to note, people who have gone to curse their graves have reported being visited later during the night by “ghostly” apparitions, being scared for life.  This is a testament to always respect the final resting place, no matter who they were.

All of that, of course, is legend.  Please always remember, preservation, not desecration.  Especially when it comes to cemeteries.  Never visit this area at night. It is a National Historic Park.  Should you visit during the day, go only to pay your respects and learn about the past.  We went very light on the description of the conditions of the park intentionally for two reasons. The first being it is extremely graphic. The last is due to us wanting you to research this incredible place for yourself. There is so much to learn!

We hope you enjoyed this story. This is one of the MANY tales that come out of Andersonville. It’s a beautiful place to visit with a gorgeous cemetery to go pay your respects. Also, check out https://www.nps.gov/ande/planyourvisit/directions.htm to learn more about the park and how you can contribute to keeping it preserved and beautiful! Also, thanks to one of our Facebook followers, Tracy (who used to work here) we discovered that these tombstones do not get flags on memorial day.

Actual tombstones of the Raiders (courtesy of Pintrest)



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