Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Haunted Florida Month - Fort Clinch

One of my favorite Florida small towns is Fernandina Beach. Located just north of Jacksonville, this quaint seaside town is a stone's throw away from the tony resort community of Amelia Island. Fernandina Beach claims to be the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry. The main attraction is a 50-block downtown district on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Nearby is Fort Clinch, a state park. The fort was built in 1847 and was home to Confederate forces when the Civil War began in 1861. It was taken by federal troops when a withdrawal was ordered by Gen. Robert E. Lee the following year.

So you gotta figure that a Civil War fort in Florida is haunted, right? Oh yeah.

Each month, historians recreate life at Fort Clinch during the War Between the States. Activities include artillery demonstrations, medical demonstrations and soldier drills. Soldiers and civilians also take up duty in the laundry, infirmary, kitchen, barracks, quartermaster and carpenter shop. Candlelight viewings are held on Saturday evenings every first full weekend of the month.

It is during these living history weekends that most of the haunting reports surface. Volunteers have reported seeing a woman dressed in white, like a nurse, carrying a lantern. Several members during one weekend's encampment reported seeing four spectral soldiers in Confederate uniform marching across the parade grounds under a July full moon. The same volunteers returned the following July under a full moon and say they saw the spectral soldiers in uniform again, only this time there were only three. One of the onlookers called out and asked where the fourth soldier was. "He's sick tonight, couldn't come," was the answer.

Which reminds me, what do you give a ghost with a sore throat?

Coffin drops.

1 comment:

Island Rider said...

I love Fernandina Beach. One of my favorite places in Florida, too.