Ghost of a Confederate Prisoner of War
“Home. I want to go home,” the story begins of a Confederate prisoner of war. A friend’s grandmother, age 76 and a worker at the historic society, tells a story of Point Lookout. During the Civil War, the Union had a prison for captured Confederate soldiers near Point Lookout. With a warm and friendly voice that shows the sign of age, the storyteller joyfully recollects the story. She has the tale in book, but recalls it from memory. She knows the story so well that one could hardly tell it was not being read word for word. When speaking the voice of the ghost, she softens her voice, making the voice sound afraid and evoking sympathy for the unfortunate boy.
Point Lookout was originally a hospital for the Union. Shortly after the war had begun in full swing, a few prisoners were sent to Point Lookout to be kept under guard. The numbers kept on growing, with a huge increase after the battle in Gettysburg. At its peak, there were 50,000 captured soldiers held prisoner on the site, and a total of at least 4,000 died (Point Lookout, MD., Prison Camp). Point Lookout was close enough to the battlegrounds to send captured soldiers there with ease, yet was surrounded on three sides by water, thus making it difficult to escape.
Johnny Moore, a Boy Scout from troop 748, is on a camping trip in Point Lookout, a site frequented often by campers and nature enthusiasts. But Johnny Moore’s experience was different. In the middle of the night, Johnny is awoken by a voice calling for home. Usually this is fairly common, as the young scouts will miss home fairly easily and call out in the night. Most of the time the scout masters tend to these issues fairly quickly, however the calling continues un-addressed. Johnny decides to get up and investigate.
Grabbing his flashlight, he ventures out to find the source of the moans. He gets to the edge of the campsite and still hears moaning from further beyond. The calls are not coming from one of his peers. Johnny cautiously enters the woods. The voice gets louder, “home, please take me home.” Finally Johnny reaches a point where the sound is whispered into his ear. He looks around and sees no one. Johnny returns back to the campsite quickly and tries to fall back asleep, but he keeps having dreams about trying to escape from underneath dirt.
In the morning Johnny tells the scout master about the events of the previous night and doubts whether the whole thing actually happened--perhaps he dreamed the entire story, especially since no one else had heard the voice. Later that day, Johnny is sent out to fetch firewood. He stumbles across the same area he was the previous night and becomes queasy. Johnny runs from the site but becomes lost. He runs in circles and keeps finding himself in the same spot that he was last night. Some force compels him to start digging. Not too long after, he discovers a leather pouch and runs back to his...