The "Lady in Black"
The story of the "Lady in Black" is an old one. The story tells of a Confederate soldier, Samuel Lanier (whose name is on the gravestone above), who was captured by the Union and imprisoned at Fort Warren. His wife, who he had married months earlier, understandably distraught, travelled to Massachusetts to rescue her husband. Dressed as a man and armed with a gun, Melanie Lanier attempted the rescue, failed, and in the melee that ensued her husband was killed and she was captured.
After being sentenced to hang, Melanie was asked if she wanted a last wish. She asked to be hung in women's clothing. The Union soldiers retrieved a black robe, and she was hung dressed in it. Supposedly ever since, Melanie has been haunting the island, being called the "Lady in Black".
There are many versions of this story, but the main parts described here gives the general idea. Sometimes it is said that she was hung with the curtains of the messhall, others say that she was hung with a robe used in a play the winter before. The common elements always present in these stories are that she tried to save her husband, was caught, was hung Moncler Kids
in black, and still haunts Fort Warren to this day. Read an excerpt from his book
But the key to this famous story might not lie with the "Lady in Black herself, but with her husband, Samuel Lanier. Looking at the gravestone image above, one can clearly see that a Samuel Lanier did in fact die at Fort Warren. But what from? Could there be a record for how he died?
Well there in fact was a record. In research done and published by Edward L. Harding on his website, there is a record stating that a Samuel Lanier died of typhoid fever in Fort Warren. But is it the same? Seems like it, because all of 59fifty hats
the military information matches the gravestone. Except for one small detail. The rank listed on the gravestone states that Samuel Lanier was a Commander, whereas the records shown by Harding say that he enlisted as a private and was captured eight months later. How could Samuel Lanier, an eighteen year old kid, get promoted to such a high rank in so little time?
One answer could be that with such a gruesome war as the Civil War was, many soldiers were promoted rather quickly due to the huge numbers of causalties taken by both sides. This is a part of war, this rapid promotion of the enlisted ranks be seen in wars as recent as Vietnam, where some 18 year old privates were promoted to Staff Sergeants within a year.
It seems rather likely that this story is not true, due to all of the discrepancies in all the stories (most of the stories told of a Daniel Lanier, not Samuel). But I guess everyone just loves to hear a good ghost story.
Today I traveled to George's Island. I caught the first boat out (9:00am) and waited the 15 minutes it took to get out there. The trip was rather inexpensive (10 bucks round trip) and the frequency of trips that the boat makes during the day makes the island a convenient little getaway. Upon arrival, one finds out rather quickly that the majority of the island is taken up by Fort Warren. Before even docking, I could pick out the various lookout posts as well as the canons pointed in my direction. The first thing that came to mind was Fort Charlotte, which is a former Britishowned fort in the Bahamas, since the construction and layout of the two forts were reminiscent of each other, at least from a distance. Boy, was I wrong. If anyone has been to the Bahamas (if you haven't, go, but stay on Paradise Island), then they will remember that Fort Charlotte had its prisons and powder keg underground. This is not the case for Fort Warren. Its prison was within the walls built as the barrier for the fort, as well as the hospital. The powder keg was also much larger, and it was a separate building located within the central courtyard. Lastly, Fort Warren is much larger than Fort Charlotte, probably because there were way more prisoners of war held in Fort Warren. http://www.cappelli-newera.it/bmz_cache/5/56ff097a8817c2b3b200e60fd2a67bfb.image.300x225.jpg
One thing that made the trip less pleasureable was that I picked a day in which the weather was in the high 90's, so needless to say I was both sweating and swearing profusely. Another thing was that since I had gotten to the island so early, there was no tour guide being held, so I missed out on some insider info from the park rangers. But alas, my time is precious, so I could not afford to standby and wait for one in the afternoon while my body was slowly draining of all of its fluids. Other than that, I would highly recommend http://abercrombieandfitchamsterdam.org
George's Island, especially for a picnic or a game of Ultimate Frisbee, because the Fort has a pretty nice field in the center courtyard.
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