View single post by Hellcat
 Posted: Mon Nov 1st, 2010 04:57 am
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Root Beer Lover

Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 981

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 This shall be the last one I post and comes from Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War and Civil War Ghosts & Legends. It takes place during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Now we all know of what happened on July 2nd at Little Round Top But the story goes that the offical reports of the fighting that day may have left something out. After the battle reports came in that at the crucial point in the battle for Little Round Top an apparition appeared to the men of the 20th Maine. Many said they saw a pale rider dressed in an atiquated uniform appear from nowhere in their midst. The figure rode along the federal line and all who saw it suddenly felt their morale go up. It's said that at least a number of the Confederates saw this figure, dressed in blue, as well for they opened fire on the figure, to no avail. The phantom turned to them and those Confederates who beheld it are said to have felt a sense of panick.

At this point the 20th Maine charged. We know the results of the charge. And Chamberlain had difficulty restraining his men from carrying on the chase. Many of the men claimed it was George Washington who had appeared to lead them to victory. Preposterous? Perhaps, but at the time the War Department actually did consider the possibility as Stanton dispatched Colonel Pittenger to investigate these reports. He gathered a number of eyewitness accounts, including a report from General O.O. Howard, but his report was never officially published.

According to Mrs. Roberts, this wasn't the only time the 20th Maine may have encountered the spirit of George Washington during the Gettysburg campaign. As they were marching to Gettysburg the regiment reached a fork in the road during the night. They had been on a road that had had many spurs leading off and had as yet had little trouble finding their way. But here they came to a stop, knowing this fork must be important and not wanting to take the wrong fork the officers of the 20th Maine gathered to discuss which to take.

It was already night, which may explain why the decision was so important. As the officer discused which to take, the clouds parted revealing a horseman wearing a bright coat and a tricorn hat riding a pale horse. The horseman waved them to follow. Chamberlain would later report that a staff officer went to each of the colonels, telling them that McClellan was again in command and that it was he who was leading them down the right road.

But though the men had be excited at the prospect of McClellan leading them again, his name soon began to fade from there lips. Up and down the line the cry went up that the horseman was Washington, come back to lead them. Already energized by McClellan's name, the men became even more excited, willingly following the apparition to their next battle.

So was it really Washington returned to help preserve the Union or was this just a story that arose after the war to suggest that one of the best known figures from the nations past was still watching over it? It seems a little strange that George Washington would not have sided with the South, but the men suggested he sought to protect the nation he helped to create. Of course we do have the story of Calhoun's dream of Washington appearently threatening him with a black spot should he sign the paper that would disolve the Federal Union. And we also have a vision from Washington himself in which he claimed to have seen the

"thundering of the cannon, clashing of swords and the shouts and cries of hundreds of thousands in mortal combat."
This vision has been interperted as Washington predicting the Civil War. A few have gone as far as to say it's not just the Civil War, but the Battle of Gettysburg itself. Could any of this be true? Who really knows.

Well, again I thank you for being patient with me as I posted all these little stories for Halloween. For those interested in reading the actual stories, and others like them, I got all of these from:
  • Alexander, John Ghosts: Washington's Most Famous Ghost Stories (copyright 1988)
  • Coleman, Christopher K. Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War (Copyright 1999)
  • Roberts, Nancy Civil War Ghost Stories and Legends (copyright 1992)
  • Sanders, Michael Strange Tales of the Civil War (copyright 2001)
  • Walser, Richard North Carolina Legends (copyright 1980)
One final note before I leave you. According to a recent History Channel special, though ghost stories have always been a part of Halloween, it was the Civil War which made them very much a part of our modern Halloween. Many more ghost stories were told following the War Between the States as a part of Halloween celebrations in this country than had been told before. Seems more appropriate to tell those that some how relate to the war now with that in mind.





Last edited on Sat Jan 8th, 2011 01:50 am by Hellcat

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