Our next stop was Americus, Georgia. While we were there we traveled Andersonville National Historic site. We learned about the hardships and suffering of the Union prisoners of war held here. In the fourteen months the prison existed, more than 45,000 Union soldiers were confined here. Some 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding or exposure. The Andersonville National Cemetery is the final resting place for these soldiers. After the war Clara Barton and a former prisoner, who had kept records of the deceased while he was there, came to Andersonville to mark the graves of the Union soldiers. Marcus was glad he had asked to visit this solemn place.
Our campground on Brickyard Plantation was along a rural road surrounded by cotton fields and pecan orchards. We were able to go to the cotton field and see how cotton grows. Caroline picked some and tried to remove the seeds. It is harder than you think. We remembered back to when we used a cotton gin at the Smithsonian American History Museum. We talked about why cotton was grown in the south and what effect it had on slavery and American history. We made a stop at a local produce stand. As soon as we went in the owner was giving us samples. The couple that owned the little market had been pecan farmers. They taught us about types of pecans and how they were harvested. We bought lots of pecans and yummy produce. It was Caroline’s favorite part of the day.
On Sunday morning we drove to the nearby town of Plains, Georgia. We arrived an hour before the service started at the Maranatha Baptist Church. We were screened by the secret service and our truck was checked out by a K-9 officer. At 10 AM President Jimmy Carter, who had just returned from a Peace Mission in Germany the night before, began his Sunday School class. He went around the room of approximately 250 people and asked where everyone was from. He taught a lesson on Saul/Paul while he was in prison. ( We just happened to have learned about him last week.) He talked about having a focus in your life and working toward it. He related events from his peace talks and his life. Also in the audience was the son of the founder of Habitat for Humanity. It was a humbling heartwarming experience.