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Drawing 2: Andersonville Prison as it appeared in August 1864. Drawn by Thomas O'Dea, former prisoner. [Graphic] Drawing 2 with link to higher quality drawing.

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

I never drew a picture before in my life. Were I an artist, I could have completed it in a short time. I commenced this work in the winter of 1879 and finished it in 1885 devoting to it my leisure moments for over 5 years....

...In executing the work, I had no picture, map, plan or scale to guide or instruct me, but I relied upon and drew the whole subject from memory. To the casual observer, such a thing may be looked upon as absurd and impossible, that it is impossible after such a length of time for "memory" to retain such a perfect list and one of details as here portrayed and that I must have had assistance from some other source to be able to present such a vast combination of characters and situations in so perfect manner. Ah my friends, had you been there and experienced the sufferings that, in common with the thousands of other unfortunates who "were there," you too, like myself, would have the whole panorama photographed in your memory to remain there to your dying day....

Thomas O'Dea, 1887

Questions for Drawing 2

1. Based on the portion of O'Dea's drawing shown above, how would you describe the prison and its surrounding area?

2. Do the artist's words help you understand the impact Andersonville prison had on its occupants? If so, how?

3.Why might he have drawn this image? Why did it take him so long to complete?

4. Find the prisoners who are on their way to the stockade from the railroad. How might prisoners in this situation have felt? How do you think they might have felt after they entered the prison?

* The image on the screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high resolution version of Drawing 2, but be aware that it will take about 50 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.

 

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