Pat Shingleton: "Relief for Prisoners in Andersonville"
More than 13,000 prisoners died at Camp Sumter, also known as Andersonville, during the Civil War. On August 9, 1864, a severe thunderstorm hit the camp. The torrential rain rolled across the hillside. As noted in Monday's column, Stockade Branch overflowed, broke the stockade's pilings and created a flash flood. Sentries contained the prisoners by firing cannons, preventing escapes while scrambling to repair the stockade. The next morning the contaminated water from human waste, laundered clothes and cookhouse grease was washed away. Prisoners experienced a single lightning bolt that struck a pine stump inside the prison camp. The bolt of lightning also penetrated an underground spring that spewed fresh water to prisoners inside the stockade. A few weeks later, these prisoners were relocated as Union General William Sherman burned Atlanta, located 125 miles from the camp.