The Scariest Place in Charleston

So, from the Captain's letter of 1862 we had a couple of "landmarks" to find, the Legarre house somewhere on James Island and the city jail. Could the either of these places still exist?

The answer came fast on at least one of these two. While taking a carriage tour as part of the meeting I was attending I asked the carriage driver if she knew where the city jail would have been in 1862. She quickly answered, "That is the Old City Jail on Franklin Street." Did it still exist? "Yes, it is still standing, and it is reported to be the most HAUNTED building in Charleston." High "praise" for a city that emphasizes its ghost population through its tourist trade. She went on to explain that it was "really a not nice place." So, check on the jail, we should be able to find that one.

Not wanting to visit an unknown area in the evening, let alone a haunted jail, we decided to wait until day time to seek out the Old City Jail. There are many references to the Old City Jail of Charleston on the web, many explaining the unusual happenings within the confines during the evening tours. We found this place in broad daylight and didn't have the courage to go inside. This is one scary place.

It was exciting to find a true landmark where I was certain the Captain had been, though it was depressing to think of him and his fellow soldiers confined within this place. I also began to realize the nature of the Captain's writing, "We soon received a formal introduction to the jail and told to make ourselves at home. The quarters were not good, but we remembered that we were prisoners of war, and so made the best of it." Stoic and understated, no doubt to calm the fears of family at home. This could not have been a pleasant experience. "We soon found that we were not without company here, as the dissatisfied soldiers of the Confederate Army at this place were confined for trivial offenses. Over a hundred were now here. They were mingling with the Union prisoners, which was not the most pleasant thing." Dissatisfied soldiers of the Confederate Army, let's try thieves, deserters, and just plain not nice people. I can't imagine that they were wanting to have tea and discuss the news of the day, not to mention out numbering the Union captives by about 6 to 1. Clearly they were "mingling" with the Union prisoners.

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