Blackshear is located deep in the Heart of southeast Georgia, in Pierce County. During the month of November in 1864, some 5,000 Union Soldiers began arriving by rail along the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad into the small community of Blackshear Georgia.
Many prisoners were being evacuated from a number of P.O.W. camps and sent to Blackshear Prison. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman was making his push toward the coast during his Savannah Campaign. At the outbreak of the war, the town contained just 333 households. Most of the men had gone off to fight in the war.
The first shipment of 600 prisoners from the Millen P.O.W. camp arrived at Blackshear Georgia Prison on November 16, from Savannah. The prisoners were brought to the prison by taking the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad. The trains kept bringing prisoners to the camp until the Union prison population reached just over 5,000.
There were a number of prisoner escapes at night despite heavy patrolling by the guards. Col. Forno was the first prison commandant.
When these prisoners of war began arriving, the citizens were not prepared to handle such large numbers of starving human beings. Nevertheless, they shared what little they had.
By the beginning of January, 1865, the Union prisoners and their guards had moved on either northward into South Carolina or westward to the prison camp in Thomasville.
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