by Irvin Rozier
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Yesterday, August 19th, 2011, I took the short drive to the historic Andersonville Civil War prisoner of war camp. As I entered the serene park, I sensed a peace and I also sensed an appreciation for those soldiers (both sides) who have served and fought for what they believed to be right.
I drove up to the Prisoner of War Museum, went to the restroom, and inside was several active duty soldiers, changing from their Battle Dress Fatigues into Army Blue uniforms. They were young and very professional; many of them had combat ribbons. As I talked to them, the lead Sergeant said they were a Honor Guard Unit from Fort Benning, and were there to perform a military ceremony for a deceased veteran. I later rode to the cemetery and viewed the thousands of grave sites of veterans, not only from the Civil War, but other wars including today's War on Terrorism. Soldiers from the north and south lay side by side, as Old Glory gently flapped in the breeze.
The grounds were well maintained...but, the pictures of what the prisoners endured were eye opening (Google Andersonville and read about it). One thing that caught my eye was a little stone house. I went over to see it, and it was Providence Spring, a steady stream of water was coming from the fountain.
You see, back in 1864, the prisoners lacked good drinking water, and many of them held a prayer meeting, and asked God for help. Here is an eyewitness account of what happened :
One such testimony is from a Confederate soldier who was 15 at the time of the miracle. He said that there was no account of the miracle even though he admits that others gave testimony of it. Another testimony of the miracle was a Union soldier from Maryland who was there and was witness to the miracle was S.E. Lookingbill of Company C 6th Maryland Vol., Inf., 2nd Brigade 3 Division, 6th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
�There is a fine stone house erected in 1901, at Providence Spring and this Inscription is on the wall: "The Prisoners' cry of thirst rang up to Heaven; God heard, and with His thunder cleft the earth and poured his sweet water came rushing here." On another side of this house is the inscription: "God smote the hillside and gave them drink, August 16, 1864.
There has been a great deal written about Providence Spring and what caused the water to come out of the earth at this place. I will state that I was there at the time God gave this spring to us, and this spring came through prayer for water.
The water furnished the stockade by the branch became so unfit from the filth on the outside and from the cook house and stables that there was a general cry for water from all over the camp and God heard the cries of his people and gave them Providence Spring. The Confederates at the time, and even to this day, call this Providence Spring, and say that God answered the soldiers' prayer for water.
This morning, August 12, 2011, I wrote this little poem about this event:
Providence Spring at Andersonville, Georgia
The much needed drinking water was there all along
A prayer meeting was held and the men sang a song
Cool refreshing water was what the prisoners needed
And to their anguished cries the good LORD heeded
Lord in their deep need and despair they cried out to you
And a great rain and thunderstorm arrived out of the blue
You sent a huge bolt of lightning to strike the red earth
It blew the ground apart and caused it to give new birth
To a cool refreshing clear stream of water to drink
To those prisoners of war who readily did sink
To their knees in gratitude of your help that day
You answered their petitions in your wonderful way
Irvin L. Rozier, Captain (Ret) U.S. Army
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