One of Mississippi’s most fantastic secrets, hidden away in the swamps out in the middle of nowhere, are the ghostly remains of the Windsor plantation. The Windsor plantation was built from 1859-1861. The plantation was built, owned, and first inhabited by Smith Daniell who only was able to live in the mansion for a few weeks before he passed away at age 34. Smith Coffee Daniell II was born in 1826 as a son of a Indian fighter turned farmer. He was married to his cousin Chatherine Freeland (1830-1903) who bore him three children. Construction of the mansion cost him $175,000 to build it which included its furnishings. It was built with slave labor. The construction was designed by David Shroder. The original grounds were well over 2,600 acres. Atop the mansion was a roof observatory where Mark Twain would muse over the Mississippi River that inspired his works of art. Twain compared the plantation to a college instead of residence because of how large the plantation was. This observatory was also home to signal equipment that would notify Confederate troops of Yankee movement. The mansion was fixed with elaborate furnishings in its beginning, hosting wrought iron staircases to get from each of the four floors. Tanks resided in the attic to provide water for the baths within. There was 25 rooms with 25 fireplaces, a basement with a school room, dairy, commissary, doctor’s office, and plenty of storage rooms. The main floor held the master bedroom, a bath, 2 parlors, a study, a dining room, and a library. The third floor were 9 more bedrooms and an additional bath. The fourth floor held a unfinished ballroom. The roof held an observatory. It was a distinct portrayal of Southern Life during its era. The Mansion saw a bit of death – from Smith Daniell’s death to a yankee who was shot in the front doorway. Other deaths took place when the mansion once served as a union hospital and observation post during the civil war. Its involvement in the Civil War as a hospital saved it from being burned down to the ground during the Civil War. After the War it was burnt down during an accidental fire involving a misplaced cigar on the upper balcony during a house party on February 17, 1890. After the fire, it was never rebuilt. Parts of the mansion were scavenged, and even the wrought iron staircase found its home at nearby Alcorn State University. All that remain of the ruins is the foundation and the 23 – 30′ high Corinthian columns, some pieces of broken china, a set of wrought iron stairs, and portions of the balustrade. The Ruins have become famous, especially by Hollywood, as it was used as a setting for films such as “Raintree Country” (1957) and “Ghosts of Mississippi”. The property is now owned and maintained by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 23, 1971. The Ruins are located 12 miles southwest of Port Gibson off Highway 552. Also of interest in the area is the Ghost town of Rodney. A must see for any history buff. Rating : 5 stars out of 5. Visited 6/22/2005.