(THE PICKET)—With the changing of seasons comes the enjoyment of ghosts and ghouls; however, for Shepherd University, there are some right next door in Sharpsburg, Md. and the Antietam battle fields.
Throughout the years, there have been tales and personal sightings of ghosts among the battle fields.
Antietam is the sight of the bloodiest single day battle in American history, which took place during the Civil War in 1862. With so much carnage and deaths, there have been a plethora of ghost sightings all around the area.
One such sighting has occurred within the fields of Antietam at a place called Bloody Lane.
Bloody Lane was formerly called the Sunken Road. During the battle, the Confederacy made the Sunken Road where the battle was to be carried out. As the Union overran the Confederacy, many bodies piled up along the road leaving it covered in blood. This is why the Sunken Road is now called Bloody Lane.
According to an article from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which recalls highway history, there have been several reports of sounds and sightings of ghosts.
“The most convincing of the reports is the one of some Baltimore schoolboys who walked Bloody Lane and heard singing out in the fields. They said it sounded like a chant or the Christmas song Deck the Halls. They heard a chant similar to Fa-la-la-la-la sound repeatedly. The area was near the observation tower where the Irish Brigade charged the Confederates with a battle cry in Gaelic, which sounded like the Christmas carol,” according to the article.
Another spot where ghost sightings have been reported is the Pry House, which is near the battlefields. This house served as the headquarters for Union Gen. George McClellan. The Pry House served as a temporary hospital during the battle. At least two generals died in the house after the battle, including that of Gen. Israel B. Richardson. Richardson was cared for by his wife for 6 months after the battle, and he soon after died.
According to an article from Haunted Places, the house was damaged by a fire years later. It subsequently was renovated, and during the work there were several accounts of a woman walking in the house. The article said, “One day, during a meeting of park personnel, the wife of one of the men in the meeting met a woman in old-fashioned clothing coming down the staircase. She asked her husband who the lady in the long dress was but he had no idea who she was taking about. A short time later, workers arrived at the house to see a woman standing in an upper window… the same room where General Richardson had died.”
It is believed that the ghost is the wife of Richardson, who took care of her husband while in the Pry House.
The battle fields of Antietam are not the only place in which contact with ghosts has been reported. Sharpsburg, Md., which is minutes from the battlefields, has had its share of the paranormal.
Mark and Julia Brugh, authors of a recently published book called Civil War Ghosts of Sharpsburg, have spent years collecting stories of ghost sightings. They collected these stories under the cover of one book, but they have also connected each story to an actual historical account.
The Brughs unveiled their book at a book signing Sept. 30 at the Town Hall in Sharpsburg. They shared some ghost tales they had gathered.
One story in particular is from a woman who heard a ruckus on one of the streets in Sharpsburg early in the morning when she was out walking her dog. She said that she saw Confederates with palm trees on their uniforms, who were yelling while moving cannons. A specific detail was that one of the cannons had a bent barrel.
The Brughs did not credit this story before they found an account of Capt. Hugh Garden and the Palmetto Light Artillery. In this account, the Burghs said, “We found a description from Capt. Garden which stated the difficulty his men had moving two damaged cannons from Antietam. The Palmetto Light Artillery men had palm tree patches on the shoulders of their uniforms. More importantly it noted that there was a bent barrel, which matched the account from the sighting.”
The Burghs noted that they only tell a story if they can historically back it up.
No matter what you believe, Antietam and Sharpsburg are wonderful places to go in search for ghosts. Ghost tours are offered by the Burghs year round upon request. They can be contacted with the phone number 301-992-9767.
Katie Gayman is a practicum writer for The Picket. She can be reached at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @katie_gayman