Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp (Orienienburg, Germany)
A Morbid Must-See!
I visited this compelling concentration camp in the former East Germany in the summer of 2014 with a couple of friends who are of the non-morbid persuasion. I didn’t think they’d be very interested, so I tried to be polite and only allowed a few hours for the visit. As it turned out, they were every bit as fascinated by this tragic site as I was and we all wished that we’d had a full day to explore. They have done an incredible job of reconstructing the horror of life and death in the camp via first person accounts and memorabilia, with an especially huge collection of medical history memorabilia. I highly recommend that if you go, you allot a full day and get there early!
The account of my visit can be read on my Forlorn Photography site:
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Hiroshima, Japan)
The Peace Memorial Park was built to commemorate the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. It is located near ground zero of the bomb blast, and houses the Peace Memorial Museum and many other a-bomb related monuments. The Peace Memorial Museum graphically displays the atomic bomb’s horrible effects on the city and its inhabitants. The Atomic Bomb Dome in the park is one of the few buildings around the epicenter to survive the blast and the only remaining bomb-damaged building in the city. Definitely a must-see for the morbid Japan visitor!
Elmira Civil War Prison Camp (Elmira, New York)
Lady Hourglass writes: “Saw that you mentioned Andersonville, and thought I would share the Yankee version. Twisted little muffin that I am, I have been on an American Civilwar prison camp kick and have been doing a little research into the topic. Elmira Prison Camp was 1/3rd the size of Andersonville, but had a higher mortality rate, 31% or more, and had none of the Confederacy/Andersonville’s excuses (ie. a lack of supply, rural environment, lack of trained staff)”
Point Lookout (St. Mary’s County, Maryland)
“One of the most haunted places in Maryland, Point Lookout was one the largest confederate prison camp during the Civil War. There are so many ghost sightings that the rangers keep a log of them.” (Thanks to Myponine for the suggestion.)
Antietam National Battlefield (Sharpsburg, Maryland)
This Civil War site marks the end of General Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North in September 1862. The battle claimed more than 23,000 men killed, wounded, and missing in one single day, September 17,1862, and led to Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.
National Museum of Civil War Medicine (Frederick, Maryland)
I went to this museum back in 2001, but I couldn’t do a travelogue on it because they did not allow me to take pictures. I can tell you that it is an interesting place to visit, with dioramas depicting injured soldiers and the techniques that were used to tend to the them. There are lots of scary looking old amputation kits, as well as stories and photos of injured individuals. Recommended.
Mine Creek Battlefield (Pleasanton, Kansas)
Per the website, “In October 1864, Federal forces attacked the retreating Confederate Army along the banks of Mine Creek. One of the largest cavalry engagements of the Civil War, Mine Creek was the only major battle fought in Kansas. This dramatic story comes alive in the visitor center where you will see Civil War era uniforms, weapons and photographs. Walk the trails for an up-close look at the battlefield.”
Massacre Rocks State Park (American Falls, Idaho)
“Gate of Death and Devil’s Gate were names given to this area during the Oregon Trail period. These names referred to a narrow break in the rocks through which the trail passed. Emigrants apparently feared that Indians might be waiting in ambush. Diaries record a series of skirmishes between the Shoshone Indians and emigrants on August 9 and 10, 1862. Ten emigrants died in the fight, which involved four wagon trains. The skirmishes took place east of the park and not at Devil’s Gate as commonly believed. Some confrontations may have occurred there, but they remain unverified.”
Sounds like a fun, historic site to visit!
(Thanks to HB for the link.)
Colonial Park Cemetery (Savannah, Georgia)
A Comtesse Travelogue to Savannah’s oldest cemetery – a site of duels, lush shrubbery, tragic tombstones, and Civil War marshmallow roasting.
A Campsite For The Ages
Colonial Park Cemetery
Savannah, GA – July 20, 2001
Colonial Park Cemetery
Corner of E. Oglethorpe and Abercorn
|Ah, Colonial Park Cemetery! Definitely one of the highlights of my trip to Savannah. What a marvelously morbid place. I first heard about it on an episode of “The Scariest Places On Earth” — an episode which discusses a mythical man-beast named René who had supposedly been imprisoned at the Cemetery and had been accused of killing a couple of children whose corpses wound up at the site. Unfortunately, after discussing this story with local historians, it appears that it was a figment of a feverish network imagination, with no real basis in fact. Pity…However, what I did find out about Colonial Park Cemetery definitely places it high on the morbidity scale:
- Colonial Park Cemetery is either Savannah’s oldest or second oldest cemetery (depending on the source), founded in 1750 and used as a burial ground until the 1850’s
- Colonial Park Cemetery is the final resting spot for over 700 victims of the 1820 Yellow Fever epidemic
- Colonial Park Cemetery was the site of numerous fatal duels [Elizabeth writes to correct me on this one: “First of all you should know, that contrary to what tour guides tell you, there were NO duels, fatal or otherwise, fought in or even near Colonial Cemetery. The duelists buried in the cemetery (there are only a few) did their duelling elsewhere. One popular spot was on Hutchinson Island. There were also a few at Tybee Island. The duel between Button Gwinnett and Lachlan McIntosh was fought a few miles from town on what is now Wheaton Street at a place known as Governor Wright’s meadow.” Oops… my bad.]
- Colonial Park Cemetery is the resting place of many notable Georgia citizens, including 5 governors and several Revolutionary War soldiers
- Colonial Park Cemetery was used as a campground by General Sherman’s Soldiers during the Civil War
And Colonial Park Cemetery is just a damned cool place to take a short stroll and ponder the long night of the soul… or, you know, how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop… or whatever else you feel like pondering. Without further ado…
This is the lavish front entrance to the Cemetery, which was erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1913 in memory of the Patriots of the Revolutionary War. (Hence the ‘D.A.R.’ in the center – kinda self-serving, don’t you think? Shouldn’t it say ‘C.P.C.’ for Colonial Park Cemetery, or something? Some people…)
This is a nice view of the Cemetery as you enter through the front gate. It was an overcast, rainy day when we were there but you can still grasp the pastoral beauty of the site.
You may have noticed the oddly shaped crypt to the left of the path in the previous picture. Well, so did I. I found these crypts to be positively strange, and even stranger still when their unique shape was explained by our Ghost Tour docent a couple of nights later. You see, these crypts were built in the shape of a bed (with the headboard to the right), to imply everlasting rest. The funny thing is that typically each of these crypts held an entire family – buried one on top of the other. It must be hard to get much rest under those circumstances!
(Death’s Head Detail)
I fell instantly in love with this ‘Death’s Head’ tombstone. I wish we had them like this in California!
HERE lies interrd the
Body of Doct. Samuel
Vickers who departed
this Life Octo. the 15th
Anno Domini 1785. In
the XXX Year of his Age ~~~~~~~
Was born in New Brunswick
Received the honours of the
College at Princeton in N. Jersey.
This Monument is erected to his Me
mory by his affectionte Brother. TLV
So, I have to wonder — do you suppose that the ‘XXX’ is Roman Numerals for 30… or do you think that they forgot to put the year in? Or maybe TLV got a bargain on a “slightly used” headstone and had to make do? Oh, the great mysteries of life… er, death!
I fell absolutely in love with this flowering tree – as you’ll see in several other shots. Yes, variety is not my strong suit… But, isn’t it lovely? [Elizabeth writes to enlighten me: “The lovely trees that bloom in the cemetery are Crepe Myrtles, some of which are well over a 100 years old. “]
Look – there it is again, enshrouding a gravestone…
There were a number of old gravestones attached to a brick wall at the back of the cemetery. Though it seems a bit sad to see them there, instead of atop the bones where they belong, at least they are being well-preserved… Why, you might ask, are they back there? Well, when General Sherman’s troops were occupying the cemetery, they broke off or removed many of the tombstones to make room for their tents. So, now, the graves are no longer marked and the stones are back here against the wall. Now, Savannah has like 20 or something open squares – why did they have to choose the cemetery to make their camp? I guess that’s where Black Sabbath got the inspiration for the title “War Pigs”…
Here’s one of the more poignant stones against the wall — tribute to a lost child and wife:
The humble monument of Parental love
covers the Grave of
ANN JOHNSTON DRYSDALE
the Daughter of
John and Ann Drysdale
who departed this life
on the 10th day of March
A. D. 1819
in the 10th year of her age
‘Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven’
And now this stone
which covers the ashes of the Child
of John Drysdale
holds also the body of her Mother his wife
who departed this mortal life to enter upon
one of immortality in the bosom of her
Father and her God
on the 1st day of November in the year
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
Here’s another unique and poignant stone on the wall. It’s kind of eroded in spots, but I think this is sort of what it says:
JACOB R. TAYLOR
John P. Taylor of Philadelphia
a youth of exemplary department
conciliating manners and flauering promise
who in the 19th year of his age
when unarmed and peaceably walking the streets of
was on the evening of the 11th of November 1811
attacked and inhumanly decimated [?]
by an armed band [?]
belonging to the crews of the French Privateers
La Vengeance and La Franchise
Rest infinite youth far from thy friends inurnd
By strangers honourd and by strangers mournd
Though thy lone turf no kindred drops can lave
Yet virtue hallows with her tears thy grave
I did a search on this one on the internet to see if I could find an accurate transcription of the gravestone and I found this historic chronicle which explains the circumstances of Jacob’s demise rather well…
Isn’t this one nice? The skull and crossbones theme is another that I miss in modern cemeteries…
Another nice view of the wall…
I found the unique stone and the nice tree etching on this one quite captivating:
In Memory of
Feb. 23, 1819,
in the 35 Year
of his Age.
Another interesting epitaph:
In memory of
DAVID FRINK Jun.
aged 25 years Son of
DAVID & DEZIRE FRINK
of New London Connec.
who was drowned in Sa
vannah River on the [???]
Nov. 1816 [?] his body was fo-
und and here intered by
the Citizens of Savannah
whose quention [?] will ever
be remembered with gra
titude by his Parents and…
Another lovely tree…
Look, it’s the grave of Captain Driscoll! Ummm…. I don’t actually remember why I took this shot. The stone is so unremarkable, I think it must be because Capt. Driscoll was somebody historic or something… but damned if I can remember. Any ideas, anyone? Anyway, here’s what the plain epitaph says:
J. H. S.
Here are deposited
the remains of
who departed this
Life on the 21 of April
1810. Aged 47 Years.
He was a native of Ireland.
This monument is erected by his
disconsolate Widow Margaret
Driscoll in testimony of …
One last view of Colonial Park Cemetery – a lovely little slice of morbid history!
Anyone have any additional tidbits or photos to add?
If so, by all means, write me!
For more information on Colonial Park Cemetery, also see:
Elizabeth also has a recommendation:
“I suggest that you read The Old Burying Ground, Colonial Park Cemetery by Elizabeth Piechocinski, which was published by Oglethorpe Press in 1999, and which may be purchased at E. Shaver’s Booksellers, 124 Bull St., Savannah. It might give you a new insight to your interest in this cemetery.”
Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park (Chickamauga, Georgia)
Jyphner suggests a trip to the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War: “I’m not sure there’s still much to actually see there, [though] it’s definitely disconcerting to walk around the grounds and drive through those woods, knowing that so many men died in that very same place.” Of course, I completely agree.