The ground at this end of the prison is pocked with deep holes - either tunnels or wells. Overcrowding disguised the digging. Beneath the sea of tattered shelters, prisoners could work undetected with mess plates, spoons,and canteen halves.
It is tempting to call every excavation an escape tunnel, but many may have been wells. With the camp stream lethally polluted, the search for fresh water was as urgent as the need to escape.
"Just as it was coming light in the east we heard dogs after us. In a few moments the hounds came up with us and began smelling of us. Pretty soon five mounted rebels arrived on the scene of action. They laughed to think we expected to get away."
John L. Ransom, 9th Michigan Cavalry, April 26, 1864
Some tunnels emerged beyond the stockade walls, but nearly all who tunneled free were recaptured. Most of Andersonville's approximately 300 successful escapees eluded guards while on work details outside the stockade.Concrete markers indicate sites where other wells and tunnels have been discovered. Most have been filled in by the park staff to help preserve the integrity of the historic features.