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Scariest Moment on a Civil War Battlefield? - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sun Aug 3rd, 2008 06:10 pm
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mikenoirot
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I have read Pam's comments about her visit to Gettysburg, especially her trek up the far side of Culp's Hill.  I would definitely agree with her on this - Culp's Hill is almost a forgotten part of the battlefield.  Very seldom is there much a crowd there.  It seems that the only place people visit is General Greene's monument, and the observation tower.  They are missing out on the best places, below the summit.

Well, this brings back memories of the second, to last trip, I made to Gettysburg.  It was in May of 2007.  I arrived early enough, in the afternoon, to take the driving tour and scout out places for some early morning photography.....   This brings me to my point - eerie moments on a battlefield.

It was around 4:30 AM and I watched the sky start to lighten up in the east.  I was at the Virginia monument, on Confederate avenue.  It was EXTREMELY foggy.  Well, I got some pictures of the fog, in the area of Pickett's charge, plus I took some neat pictures of the Virginia monument.  I next drove out to Culp's Hill.  After taking the road past Spangler Springs, and starting to wind my way up to the top of the hill, the monuments would seem to come to life, out of the fog.  The Birney Zouve monument and the Geary monument come to mind.  It seemed like they had an unusual aura in the fog.  Kind of made the hair, on the back of my neck, stand on end.  Plus, I felt like I really was not alone.  This happens to me a lot, when I walk remote battlefields, at odd hours.  But this was somehow different.....   Eee gads...

So what was your freakiest, scariest moment on a battlefield?

(For those interested, I have a lot of pictures, from that morning, at Gettysburg on my website: http://www.BattlefieldPortraits.com/.  Go to the Battlefields tab, click on Gettysburg, and then click on "View Pictures of Gettysburg...."  You can enlarge any of the pics on there, by clicking on them.



 Posted: Sun Aug 3rd, 2008 09:38 pm
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izzy
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I had an enlightening moment at Stones River.  A few years ago I knew nothing about the battle.  So I drove the park battlefield tour.  There were so many trees that I didn't really get any sense of the battle at all.  Besides I was in a hurry and didn't have time to really look at it.  At the time I only wanted to find it, take a quick look, raid the bookstore for any info, brochures, and maps, and then hit the road for home.  My second visit occurred this spring.  I returned with a half day of time to spare and Matt & Lee Spruill's guidebook. 

This time I started at the beginning:  The west flank, Wed., Dec. 31, 1862 and followed Spruill's tour.  The first stop described the Confederate left flank position south of the Franklin Road.  The second stop, put me on the Federal right flank on the north side of the Franklin Road.  I was standing there in the early dawn on Sunday; no traffic or distracting noise, on the extreme Federal right position, reading the description of the Confederate attack wheeling into my front and out flanking me with an entire brigade and a 2000 strong cavalry force beyond that.

That's when I had my "moment".  "HOOOLLLYY SH*T!!!", I exclaimed, (then promptly shut up and looked around guiltily because there were houses near).  "I'm in trouble.  BIG, BIG Trouble!!"  That is "the moment" when I began to realize just what a monster Stones River was.

 



 Posted: Sun Aug 3rd, 2008 11:56 pm
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Crazy Delawares
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Mike, maybe you weren't alone. At that time of the morning a park ranger could've been watching you. :-)



 Posted: Mon Aug 4th, 2008 12:47 am
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CleburneFan
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Hubby and I were touring Fort Sumter. Everything was interesting. It was great to see the actual size of the fort and walk the historic area. In the distance the sky was getting ominously dark and before we knew it, we could hear thunder growling. The thunder came closer and closer and louder and louder and the sky became darker and darker. The threatening weather really helped me imagine what the cannon must have sounded like as the fort was under attack. That was a priceless experience.

Then lightening crashed around and rain poured down. But none of that was the scariest part. All we tourists raced back to the boat for a really, really frightening ride back to port in driving , blinding rain. Streams of water were pouring into the boat. The waves were very choppy. With my overactive imagination, I pictured sinking out there or hitting another boat. I have a real talent for talking myself into being scared out of my skin.

So, in summary, the trip to Fort Sumter did turn out to be scary, but not because of ghosts at the fort. It was that rocky boat ride in Charleston Harbor.

 



 Posted: Mon Aug 4th, 2008 02:25 pm
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Reb till death
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I have a couple. The first one was at Gettysburg. We were takeing the Haunted Battleground Tour when it happened. We were going through the part of town that used to be the middle of the battlefield. She stopped and told us about a wounded union soldier in a toy store begging a little boy for help. As we got closer to the store my shoulder started to hurt alot. I dont know why I kept feeling like something was watching me but it wasnt any of the tour members cause I was lagging behinde so I could see everything better. Latter I asked her if the soldier had been wounded in his shoulder and I told about how mine hurt when we got closer to the store. She said she doesnt know but she had one of those okay thats freaky looks on her face. Then later I cant truely recall where we were at but we were near a river in town that the wounded from both sides used to get a drink of water and clean there wounds. It was way at the other end so maybe the light was just playing tricks on me. But I could make out a head with a Kepi on it and it bent down and got really close too the water then got back up again and looked at us. It was weird I am not saying I saw anything but I am not saying I didnt ethier.

The next one was at a fort that was used to defend Fort Donnelson and Fort Henry. It was very small but the mounds of earth they used as defenses were huge. It was really sad because there were houses all around us it was like no one cared about it. They did though put up signs with info on them and maps to. But I was running as fast as I could up and over those mounds. I was nearing the very outer part of the fort when I started feeling funny. I wasnt scared of it, but it still made me jump a little. I looked around and nothing was there. I felt colder than usual it was late Fall early Winter so I cant tell exactly why I was cold I had a jacket on that had kept me warm up untill that point.



 Posted: Mon Aug 4th, 2008 02:57 pm
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pamc153PA
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I think the thing about Culp's Hill that affects me is the quiet--which is sort of ironic if you consider that, during battles, the battlefield were anything BUT quiet!

Anytime I've been able to really "feel" a battle has been when I was alone, and it was quiet, sometimes in early morning, sometimes in the dead of winter. That could be Culp's Hill's burial pits, the little Lacy family graveyard at Ellwood where Stonewall Jackson's arm is buried, or the Confederate sniper position above Burnside Bridge at Antietam. Those were a couple places that I felt connected somehow. Sometimes I have specific accounts of that time and place that I read there, sometimes it's just quiet time. But I treasure those few times when I could be "in the moment" as much as I can without a time machine back to the 1860s.

Alas, I haven't actually had anything even remotely paranormal happen to me (at least that I was aware of!). No ghosts, no cold spots--though I keep trying. One of these days, my camera won't work at the Triangular Field in Gettysburg, but with my luck, it'll just be dead batteries, not the real dead!

Pam



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 Posted: Mon Aug 4th, 2008 07:20 pm
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David White
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As a kid at Chickamauga I got chased into the Visitor's Center by a big dog from one of the houses across the street from the VC. He closed the gap quickly and I ran as fast as I could, I was entering the center as he came around the corner right behind me.



 Posted: Mon Aug 4th, 2008 10:48 pm
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mikenoirot
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I was also approached by a dog, recently, while I was at the Mine Creek Battlefield, in Kansas. Fortunately, he was a well behaved dog, for I was 1/2 mile from my car. He walked the rest of the way with me. It would have been bad if he was not so well behaved!



 Posted: Wed Aug 6th, 2008 02:54 pm
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Rebel Yell
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I and a friend were on our first visit to Fredericksburg and we decided to visit the cemetery near Marye's Heights. There was no one else around, but just as we walked in, a snow-white cat appeared out of nowhere. This cat proceeded to "lead" us through the cemetery and stayed with us the entire time we were there. As we were leaving, the cat followed us right up to gate, but would not go past it. Once out of the cemetery, we turned for a last look and the cat was gone. Maybe not a scary moment, but it was definitely weird.



 Posted: Wed Aug 6th, 2008 03:21 pm
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Bighouse
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I was at a re-enactment in Memphis in 1994. Due to wet weather earlier in the weekend and the resulting soft ground, the porta potties could not be serviced from Fri afternoon to Sunday morning. It became pretty frightening, but led to near authentic sanitary conditions.



 Posted: Wed Aug 6th, 2008 03:55 pm
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lifl2003
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My scariest moment occured this past June while my son, daughter and I were biking Gettysburg battlefied.

My son is 11 and my daughter is 9.  We had just came from the top of Little Round Top.  They wanted to ride down the hill down to the Wheatfield Rd.  I mistakenly approved after warning them both to "ride" their brakes down the hill to control their speed.

Well my son did fine but my daughetr did not.  She did not apply the brakes and began to panic.  I caught up alongside her but was not able to talk her into applying the brakes and grabbing her or the bikes wopuld have caused us both to come crashing down.

I don' t know how she did it but she made the left turn onto Wheatfield Rd.  She was still going too fast but I saw a gentle rise ahead and I told her not to panic just keep the bike going staight ahead and she would slow down.

Well our luck ran out. She put her right foot on the ground to tried and stop.  She and the bike fell to the ground in dramatic crash.  My heart stopped!! All I could picture was an ambulance ride to Gettysburg hospital. Fortunately she was ok except for a bad cut on her knee and elbow. Thankfully no broken bones. 

She fell right in front of the small monument to VI Corps,  I Division, II Brigade commanded by General Bartlett.

I went for my first aid kit and realized that I had left it back in our tent at the campground. Fortunatley two of the NPS volunteer bike patrol Rangers passed by us and had a first aid kit.  After some band aids and tissues she wanted to resume the ride and head to Devil's Den.  The 2 bike Rangers were fantastic and saved the day.

While we were getting ready to resume our ride I read the monument to General Bartletts boys which indicated: Casualties Killed 1 man Injured 4 men.  I told my daughter that they should change it to 5 injured. She just rolled her eyes at me the way that only a 9 year girl does when their Dad makes a dumb joke. 

We Went on to ride 10 more miles on the battlefield and enjoyed the rest fo the day.

Mike

 



 Posted: Fri Aug 8th, 2008 12:15 am
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Wrap10
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Good stories. I don't know that I've ever had a 'scary' moment on a battlefield, but like everyone else I've had some interesting experiences. One that comes to mind was a visit my sister and I made to the Tredegar Iron Works, in Richmond, in 1978. At that time it was not open to the public, and as I recall it had some sort of fence around the building, and possibly around the property itself.

From what I remember it was on private property in kind of an old, beat-up looking warehouse area, not far from the river. At some point there was some sort of gate along the road that you could drive through to enter the property, but I also think there may have been a 'no trespassing' sign. Needless to say, we decided to ignore that and keep going. It had taken us a little while to track the place down, and we wanted to see it.

I can't recall all the details, but I remember that you could not get inside the building itself. We may have been able to peek inside some of the windows, I honestly can't remember. You'd think I'd remember something like that, but I'm just not sure. I do recall that the building and property were in a pretty dilapidated state. It was sad to see it that way.

As we were snooping around, a man suddenly appeared out of nowhere and angrily demanded to know what we were doing there. When we turned  to look at him, we both did a double-take. He was an absolute mirror image of Edmund Ruffin, the old Virginia fire eater. It was like looking at a picture of the man come to life. Right down to the long, flowing white hair.

We tried to explain that we were Civil War types, and were interested in the building due to the history, but he wasn't having it. He kept telling us, quite gruffly, that it was private property and we had to leave. Maybe it was our attitude or our interest in the Iron Works, but he finally started to soften up a bit, and talk to us about the building. He seemed especially pleased when we told him he looked just like Edmund Ruffin.

Before we knew it we'd been standing there for maybe twenty minutes, talking with this old gentleman about the run down, historic old building nearby, and learning about the restoration that they were hoping to do someday. He even let us take his picture at one point, something we would never have imagined possible when he first appeared. He very kindly shook hands with both of us when it was time to go, and wished us well.

I always remember that day, and think about that fellow, whenever I see a picture of the Tredegar Iron Works, or see a reference to it somewhere. The day, as I like to tell people, that I visited an old, forgotten historic site, and met Edmund Ruffin.

Perry



 Posted: Sat Aug 9th, 2008 03:45 am
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Captain Crow
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My scariest moment on a battlefield?...a sudden attack of IBS when I was walking the sunken road at Shiloh. Talk about skeedaddling to the visitors center LOL!

I made it there in time though. :-D



 Posted: Sat Aug 9th, 2008 06:41 am
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Not scary so much as strange , and not Civil War but Revolutionary War.  Four years ago I was in Boston area visiting my brother.  I went out to Lexington and Concord.  I love it out there.   I pulled into the parking lot across the roadway from Concord Bridge.  Sitting there by my car was a golden retriever.  I had not seen him when I pulled into the parking lot.  He looked just like my sister in law's dog that had passed away a few years before.  That Golden was named Bill and was a very unusual dog. 

Anyway this dog escourted me across the street and over to the bridge.  I stayed at the bridge for a while and he disappeared.  Then as I was walking away there he was sitting on the bridge watching me.  I took his picture .  He then ran ahead of me and was with me all the way to the top where the visitors center is .  He again disappeared.  I did not see him again.  I guess his job was done.

Told my sister in law  later that day Bill walked me up to the visitors center . 

Susan

Last edited on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 06:42 am by susansweet



 Posted: Sun Aug 10th, 2008 03:51 am
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Wrap10
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Really good story Susan.



 Posted: Sun Aug 10th, 2008 06:02 am
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susansweet
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Thanks Wrap.  It was soo strange and the dog acted just like Bill , my sister in law's dog who I dearly loved. 

Susan



 Posted: Sun Aug 10th, 2008 08:22 pm
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That would have to be September of 2001 in Springhill,ZTenn. area. I was picking up a load bound for Michigan and the guy that owned the warehouse had several artifacts from Gen.Forrest on hand. After i asked some questions abouth the artifacts i was shown a 2 story house (surrounded by 8' of barb-wire) and a barn of medium size. The barn i was told was used as a field hospital during the battle of Franklin,Tenn. and that a person could not stand inside that barn day or night for more than 5 minutes without having the most urgent sense of getting out now and never coming back. Every word that gentleman spoke was true and i shall never again go within a mile of that barn. The negative energy that still lingers there should not be disturbed.



 Posted: Sun Aug 17th, 2008 02:16 pm
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Wrap10
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After my original post I recalled a couple of incidents that could qualify as 'scary.' One was at Shiloh that I posted on the Shiloh Discussion Group, the other was at Gettysburg back in 1999. I was visiting the park for the annual Gettysburg Discussion Group muster, and a day or so before that, a friend of mine was giving me a tour around the battlefield. He grew up in the area and was working on a possible book on the history of the park.

At one point we arrived at the Peace Light Memorial over on Oak Hill and got out to walk around some. There was a thunderstorm in the area and it was raining off and on, with a fair amount of thunder and lighting. We wondered about standing out there in the open with lighting around, but decided we'd be okay.

As we were standing there in front of the Memorial, we were both suddenly blinded by a bright lighting flash. Apparently it was just "cloud" lighting as I don't think it hit the ground anywhere. But to us, it was right on top of our heads, like standing inside a giant flashbulb. One moment all was fine, the next, all you could see was pure light. It flashed, and it was gone, just like that. We both instinctively ducked, and looked at each other with exactly the same thought - time to leave.

A little while later, while approaching Little Round Top from the west, we saw the aftermath of a tree that had been hit by lighting a few minutes earlier. A firetruck was out there, putting out the small fire that had started as a result. They had to cut down what was left of the tree.

We got the message - when lighting is in the area, don't mess around. We were lucky all we got was a "warning," and didn't wind up like that tree.

Perry



 Posted: Mon Aug 18th, 2008 07:07 pm
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David White
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Wrap:

I had a similar experience at Ft. Pulaski as a teenager, I'm out in the pouring rain exploring the outside of the walls viewing the damage by the Federal rifles. A thunder explosion and an instantaneous flash of light makes me head back for the inside of the fort. As I round the first corner of the fort, despite the driving rain, I see, flames and smoke were coming from a Palmitto tree less than 60 yards from where I had been standing. A severe tongue lashing from my mom and the ranger then insued.



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