Day 17: January 7, 2015
Pillar, Piano, Prison

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With this stop, I've visited all ten of the known Dixie Highway-Robert E Lee markers. It stands beside the southbound lanes of US-319 not quite a mile south of the Florida-Georgia line. Since I was traveling north, I had to make a couple of U-turns to see reach the marker and get back on course but convenient crossovers made them easy to do. This marker is near N30° 40.123' W84° 09.812'.

As I drove by the Thomas County courthouse, I decided I needed a picture of it and turned down a side street to circle back and that's how I found the tree. I parked near that great looking courthouse and walked completely around it before going back to the tree. It's not just a tree, of course. Called The Big Oak, it's more than three centuries old and lovingly cared for. I had to back up quite a ways to get the whole thing in the frame. Cables and turnbuckles support various parts of the giant tree and a metal frame (shown in last picture) holds up a huge limb growing over the street.

Calling a telephone number given on the back of the sign activates a camera and snaps a picture that is posted online. I'm guessing that the instructions also say to stand by the sign. I say "guessing" because everyone else seemed to get that right while this instruction shunning Ohio boy stood next to the tree. The result looks like a jacket and jeans dangling from the tree while leaves cover my face. All for the best, I'm thinking.

Both of these pictures are from GA-3. The first is just a couple of miles north of Thomasville and the second is entering the town of Meigs about ten miles farther on.

The tall white obelisk stands at the north edge of Meigs at the Thomas-Mitchell county line. I had no idea what it was when I first saw it but was very pleasantly surprised to see DIXIE HIGHWAY on its face after I turned around. I've heard that there are more of these at Georgia county lines but this is the only one I've seen.

Another Mitchell County neighbor gives their shared border a nice treatment with this arch over the road as it enters Dougherty County. The power company's brick pillars are pretty classy, too.

It is certainly fitting that the plaques in Albany's Ray Charles Plaza contain braille versions of their text. In addition, there is a small touchable version of the statue (I failed to get a picture.) and Ray Charles classics playing through nearby speakers. Some nearby bridge construction currently clutters up the place (and disrupts the Dixie Highway) but that is temporary. This is an extremely attractive memorial. Well done, Albany.

War is ugly and prisoner of war camps are some of its ugliest parts. The Civil War's Andersonville (officially Camp Sumter) was one of the ugliest. It may or may not have been the worst but it was not alone. "Whether held in the North or South, a prisoner of war was more likely to die than a soldier in combat."

There are three parts to the Andersonville National Historic Site that now occupies the former prison camp. One is the National Prisoner of War Museum. American prisoners from all wars are represented here. The photo is of a Korean War related display. Andersonville naturally gets some extra attention. The display case holds the original lock, hinge, and key from the prison's south gate. A board in the lobby provides statistics synchronized to the war's sesquicentennial.

Andersonville National Cemetery makes up another part of the site. Most, but not all, of the burials here were of prisoners. Nearly 13,000 men died here while in captivity. An estimated total of 30,000 Union and 26,000 Confederate soldiers died as prisoners. Prisoners were buried side by side in trenches. To illustrate this with a picture of closely placed stones, I centered on the marker of a soldier from Ohio and by coincidence included one of the few wreaths in among the tightly packed stones. In another section which, because of the spacing, I assume holds later non-prison burials, wreaths mark almost all of the stones. There is no Ohio section and no large Ohio monument so I've included a picture of a neighbor's impressive monument.

The third part of the site is the prison area. What started as a 16 1/2 acre "pen" grew to 26 1/2 acres holding 32,000 prisoners by war's end. White stakes mark the perimeter and two sections of the stockade wall have been reconstructed.

The day was partly cloudy and often gray but shortly after I passed Marshallville the sun broke through to give me a nice shot (if you can look past the dirty windshield) of the two-lane road and the rusty rails running beside it.

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