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For those of you that really know me, you know I am a history buff and enjoy writing and learning about what life was like in the past. One of my interests has been the Civil War. This may have been triggered when I was growing up and serving as a Boy Scout. Our troop traveled all over the South hiking and camping at most of the Civil War battlefields. I remember the blisters I got on my feet for every battlefield I hiked and for every merit badge or medal I received. At all the battlefields be it Shiloh, Chickamauga, Nathan Bedford Forest, Kennesaw or any of the others, when we would camp we would tell stories at night around the campfire about what life must have been like. In those days the hardships the soldiers faced were many. It must have been a hard life for the soldiers but also an interesting one.When our son was small he loved trains. Having lived in Huntsville for many years I had never been to the train depot. When my dad asked me one day have you ever been, I said no. Well then, that's one place we have to visit. So off we went with my parents, wife and son to the Southern Railroad Depot. We did the usual tour and heard the normal presentation from the tour guide. The depot is the oldest surviving railroad depot in Alabama. It was completed in 1860 and served as eastern headquarters for the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. During the Civil War, Huntsville was over run by the Union Army. In 1862 it was considered a strategic point on the railroad and the depot was used as a prison for Confederate soldiers. The soldiers were kept on the third floor of the depot. Being in prison in wartime was no picnic. During the Civil War there were very few rules as to the comfort of the enemy. Some were treated inhumanly and received very little food. There were stories of some attempted escapes where local girlfriends or wives would help them try to escape by bringing food and distracting guards. There were stories of some being shot while trying to escape. Some died in this room they called prison. The prison was hell and most of these soldiers felt they would die waiting on help so to pass the hours they wrote on the walls and told their stories. Many of these soldiers were in their teens or younger. These stories still appear like ghosts on the wall.When the depot was refurbished many years later these walls were kept intact. There were names, dates and poems written by these men that were in agony. There were all kinds of writings on the wall describing the horrible conditions the men suffered during these times. It was decided to leave the writings on the walls to give future generations a picture of what life was like as a Civil War prisoner. Today the walls on the third floor have been covered by clear plexi glass encasing these writings like a tomb from the past. When you enter the room you get an eerie feeling and can almost feel the anguish they went through. To observe these writings is to roll back the clock 152 years and experience the hardships these soldiers suffered. It is said there may be ghosts in this room at night still feeling trapped with no way out. Who knows for sure but if you have an interest in Civil War history this may be the closest you will ever get to speaking with these soldiers of the Confederacy. Next time you get the opportunity to go it would be worth your time to experience this for yourself. You will feel as if you are there...152 years ago...it's almost surreal.