Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Lady in Black - Fort Warren, Boston Harbor

In the waters of Boston Harbor, stands Georges Island.  This tiny patch of land is home to Fort Warren, long time protector of Boston since 1850.  It is no longer an active military installation, but legends of the past still linger.

Georges Island and Fort Warren in Boston Harbor
The Lady in Black is said to haunt the grounds of Fort Warren located on Georges Island in Boston Harbor

During the dark days of the American Civil War, a certain Confederate Army Lieutenant Andrew Lanier was captured at Roanoke Island and sent to Fort Warren to wait out the remaining days of the conflict. However, he got word to his wife that he was imprisoned there and his wife was determined to set him free. She headed to Boston and having cut her hair and disguised herself as a man, managed to sneak her way onto Georges Island and into the fortification. Brandishing a pistol, she found her way to her husband's prison cell.  As they attempted to leave through the fort's dark dungeons, legend has it that the commander of the fort got word of their escape and the fleeing couple were soon discovered. Colonel Dimick, commander of the fort, attempted to apprehend them, but Mrs. Lanier did not go to all that effort to get caught.  In the attempt to escape, she fired her old pistol at her Union pursuers and it exploded in her hand, the shards instantly killed her husband standing next to her.

Her husband gone, and having been captured, Mrs. Lanier was sentenced to hang for treason. When the time came for her to meet the gallows, she requested that she be allowed to dress like the lady she was. Having had no woman's clothing of her own, the troops at the garrison found some black robes for her to wear to be put to death in.

Guardhouse (left) and sentry box (right) of Fort Warren circa 1861 - photo found on Public Domain

Fort Warren was an active military installation up until the 1950s. Over the years, soldiers in the fort have claimed to have encounters with a ghostly figure of a woman, dressed in black.  She has been seen roaming about the passageways and parapet where she met her unsung end.  There are documented court martial cases where the soldiers have either deserted their post or fired there weapons at someone or something, claiming it was a female figure dressed in black who would not answer their calls.

Walls Ft warren
The parapet and parade grounds of Fort Warren  - photo credit By Fish Cop (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Location: 42°19'12.84'N 070°55'39.5"W
Latitude: 42.320233  Longitude: -70.927639


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