View single post by Hellcat
 Posted: Sat Oct 30th, 2010 07:05 am
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Hellcat
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Did John C. Calhoun know the South was going to secede in the 1860s. Certainly he was a supporter of states right and a man whose rhetoric could be said to have been admired in the South. But did he know that ten years after his death the Southern states would start to secede?

According to Ghosts: Washington's Most Famous Ghost Stories he might have known what was to come. Mr. Alexander tells us that not long before he died Calhoun was  visited in his apartment in the Old Brick Capitol by the ghost of George Washington. Washington warned Calhoun of the coming secession of the Southern states. It was with this knowledge that Calhoun was able to predict the South seceding.

As a side note, Alexander also relates that there were tales that Calhoun's spirit continued to roam the Old Brick Capitol well into the Civil War. Several of these tales tell who his spirit became restless after the building was turned into a prison for Confederate prisoners. Perhaps he was concerned with how his fellow Southerners were being treated even after death. Or perhaps he did't agree with his one time home becoming a prison.

However, Christopher Coleman in Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War and Michael Sanders in Strange Tales of the Civil War tell a different story. They tell of a dream Calhoun had. In the dream, Calhoun had been up late at night engrossed in his work when a man had entered his room. The stranger, wearing a weather-worn, dark blue thin cloak that concealed their features took a seat across from Calhoun.

Before he could say anything the stranger asked him what he was writing, addressing him simply as senator from South Carolina. Surprised, as he had left instructions with his servant that he was not to be disturbed, Calhoun explained he was writing a plan for the dissolution of the American Union. At this the stranger asked to see Calhoun's right hand. He stood up, his cloak parting to reveal the uniform of the Continental Army. And the face was that of General Washington himself.

Washington held Calhoun's hand, as if examining it. As he did so, Calhoun felt the hand tingle. The former president then asked if that was the hand Senator Calhoun would use to sign the dissolution of the nation. The reply was that if certain things came to pass it was. At this a black mark appeared on Calhoun's hand. Washington dropped the hand, explaining that the mark was the mark with which Benedict Arnold was known in the afterlife. He then pulled a skeleton from under his cloak, explaining they were the bones of Issac Hayne of South Carolina. A Patriot who had been hung by the British in Charleston while trying to establish the Union. If Calhoun was going to dissolve the Union, he might as well have the bones of a fellow South Carolinian before him. One who had not been marked by the black spot.

Had Washington visited Calhoun not to warn him of what was to come but to threaten him with the fate of Benedict Arnold? Could his restlessnes in the Old Brick Capitol been due to his spirit being imprisoned there after death? Or was this just a story. According to Sanders, the story had appeared in the Evening Post during the Nullification Crisis. Doesn't mean it actually happened, but it does suggest it wasn't something created in the 20th century. Or even more recently.

Last edited on Sun Oct 27th, 2013 11:23 pm by Hellcat

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