Gettysburg Battlefield, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg Battlefield, Pennsylvania

The Gettysburg Battlefield is the area of the July 1–3, 1863, military engagements of the Battle of Gettysburg within and around the borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Locations of military engagements extend from the 4-acre site of the first shot at Knoxlyn Ridge on the west of the borough, to East Cavalry Field on the east. A military engagement prior to the battle was conducted at the Gettysburg Railroad trestle over Rock Creek, which was burned on June 27.

At the close of the battle, some of the 22,000 wounded remained on the battlefield and were subsequently treated at the outlying Camp Letterman hospital or nearby field hospitals, houses, churches, and other buildings. Dead soldiers on the battlefield totaled 8,900; and contractors such as David Warren were hired to bury men and animals (the majority near where they fell). Samuel Weaver oversaw all of these reburials. The first excursion train arrived with battlefield visitors on July 5.

On July 10, Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin visited Gettysburg and expressed the state’s interest in finding the fallen veterans a resting place. Attorney David Wills arranged for the purchase of 17 acres of Cemetery Hill battlefield land for a cemetery. On August 14, 1863, attorney David Mc Conaughy recommended a preservation association to sell membership stock for battlefield fundraising. By September 16, 1863, battlefield protection had begun with Mc Conaughy’s purchase of “the heights of Cemetery Hill and” Little Round Top, and his total purchased area of 600 acres included Culp’s Hill land.

On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, which was completed in March 1864 with the last of 3,512 Union reburied. From 1870 to 1873, upon the initiative of the Ladies Memorial Associations of Richmond, Raleigh, Savannah, and Charleston, 3,320 bodies were disinterred and sent to cemeteries in those cities for reburial, 2,935 being interred in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond. Seventy-three bodies were reburied in home cemeteries. The cemetery was transferred to the United States government May 1872 and the last Battle of Gettysburg body was reburied in the national cemetery after being discovered in 1997.

Union Gettysburg veteran Emmor Cope was detailed to annotate the battlefield’s troop positions and his “Map of the Battlefield of Gettysburg from the original survey made August to October, 1863” was displayed at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Also in 1863, John B. Bachelder escorted convalescing officers at Gettysburg to identify battlefield locations (during the next winter he interviewed Union officers about Gettysburg).

The Gettysburg Battlefield is also known for its reputation as a haunted location. Many people claim to have experienced paranormal activity and sightings of ghostly apparitions on the battlefield and in nearby areas. Some popular ghost stories include encounters with soldiers, mysterious lights, and unexplained sounds. Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, the battlefield’s history and the tragic events that occurred there contribute to its eerie reputation.

 

Certainly! The Gettysburg Battlefield’s ghostly reputation has been fueled by numerous accounts and stories from visitors, tour guides, and paranormal enthusiasts. Some specific details include:

  1. Apparitions of Soldiers – People have reported seeing apparitions of Civil War soldiers dressed in uniforms from that era. These apparitions are often seen marching, standing in formation, or even engaged in battle.
  2. Phantom Cannon Fire – Visitors have claimed to hear the sounds of cannon fire and gunshots echoing across the battlefield, even when there are no reenactments or demonstrations taking place.
  3. Eerie Sounds – Unexplained sounds like footsteps, distant drums, and voices have been reported by many. Some visitors have even captured these sounds on audio recordings.
  4. Haunted Hotspots – Certain areas of the battlefield are believed to be particularly haunted, such as Devil’s Den, the Triangular Field, and the Wheatfield. These locations witnessed intense fighting and loss of life during the battle.
  5. Ghostly Horses – There have been accounts of ghostly horses and riders seen galloping across the fields, reminiscent of the cavalry charges during the battle.
  6. Gettysburg Orphanage – The nearby town of Gettysburg is also believed to have its share of haunted locations. The historic Farnsworth House Inn, which served as an orphanage during the war, is said to be haunted by the spirits of children.
  7. Electronic Interference – Some visitors have reported experiencing unusual electronic interference, such as cameras malfunctioning or drained batteries, in certain areas of the battlefield.

While these stories are intriguing, it’s important to note that they are largely anecdotal and subjective. The battlefield’s rich history and the emotional intensity of the events that occurred there contribute to its mystique and the proliferation of ghost stories over the years.

Irrespective of whether you’re a believer of the paranormal activities or not, the Gettysburg Battlefield remains a place of historical significance and reflection.

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