In addition to the living history outside, Civil War historian and author Michael J. Bennett lectured inside a warm museum theater about Confederate prisons in Richmond, Va.
He described the violence of war and how soldiers are affected by learning to kill and destroy. He explained in graphic detail how captured soldiers are "processed" - or robbed and humiliated - setting a cruel precedent for prison guards who were rewarded with paid furloughs for killing prisoners.
The miserable conditions are palpable around the small campfires outside. At one, a group of sailors huddled to cook salt pork and ground corn on a melted-down canteen.
The guards give them little food, the sailors complain, and nothing to cook it with. One pledges to drink the entire pond when he returns to his farm after the war.
“We were captured down around Savannah,” a sailor explains. “A cavalry of Confederates came riding up in the middle of the night and took us.”
Camille Bielby writes for the Americus, Ga., Times-Recorder.