The city of Ringgold, GA sponsors tours of its train depot each Halloween based on ‘The Legend of the Haunted Depot:’
Clem and Will Jackson grew up in Ringgold doing all the things brothers did, swimming in the Chickamauga Creek, hunting in the woods, and generally enjoying the pleasures of young men in the Old South.
The boys were very close and never imagined the War would separate them. However; Clem, the younger brother, was anxious to join the fighting, but his father refused him permission. In order to join in the Confederate fight, Clem ran off to Alabama and joined the 33rd Alabama Regiment. The 33rd Alabama Infantry Regiment was officially organized and outfitted in Pensacola, Florida in April 1862.
After dismounting heavy artillery from obsolete Fort McRee, the Regiment was sent to Corinth, Mississippi, arriving just after the Battle of Shiloh. Its baptism under fire occurred at Perryville, Kentucky in October, 1862 where it captured a battery, but suffered heavy casualties, including every field officer.
The next month the Army of Tennessee was organized, and the history of this great army is the history of the 33rd. The Regiment was placed in General Patrick Cleburne’s Division, and contributed to his reputation of possessing the best assault troops in the Army of Tennessee. The 33rd drove the enemy before it in Hardee’s dawn assault at Murfreesboro; it prevailed against the 6th Indiana at Chickamauga; it helped hold the flank at Missionary Ridge; and it helped bring the Federal pursuit to a bloody end at Ringgold Gap.
In the three years Clem was gone, Will fell in love and married Sarah Johnson, a great friend of Clem’s. Although newly married, because the Confederate cause became so desperate, Will felt compelled to enlist under the command of General Patrick Cleburne.
Sarah corresponded with Clem throughout the War and wrote him telling about her marriage to Will and of his enlistment. The two brothers were reunited during the War, but were both tragically killed at the Battle of Ringgold Gap, so close to home. Their bodies were never properly buried, so their spirits were doomed to roam the earth forever.
Unaware that her beloved had been so close, Sarah waited and met every returning troop train hoping to be reunited with her husband and her friend. Upon hearing the news of their death, Sarah took her own life by sneaking into the Depot in the dark of the night and hanging herself. Because she had taken her own life, Sarah also was doomed to roam the earth without rest. The three restless spirits of Sarah, Will, and Clem finally found each other and made the Depot their home.
More than a hundred years had passed when construction workers found Clem’s body at Ringgold Gap and gave him a proper burial, freeing his spirit to ascend. Left behind, the spirits of Sarah and Will roam the streets of Ringgold in search of Clem. Legend has it that on a dark moonlit night Sarah can be seen standing on the back deck at the Depot watching for the brother that Will refuses to leave.