Three days of the bloodiest fighting of
the American Civil War have forever etched
these hallowed fields into the memory of
a country and a people. But in the hundred-plus
years since the last shot was fired and
the last man fell, there continue to be
reports from the fields of the fallen: reports
of spectral armies still marching in step,
of ghostly sentinels and horsemen, of mournful
women in white, and the ghostly wails of
orphans and animals alike.
GETTYSBURG BATTLEFIELD GHOST PHOTO SUBMITED
BY RANDY BERGAMO
The Gettysburg Battlefield was the site
of the Battle of Gettysburg, fought July
1 to July 3, 1863, in and around the borough
of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the county
seat of Adams County, which had approximately
2,400 residents at the time. It is now the
site of two historic landmarks: Gettysburg
National Military Park and the Gettysburg
The town was the center of a road network
that connected ten nearby Pennsylvania and
Maryland towns, including well-maintained
turnpikes to Chambersburg, York, and Baltimore,
so was a natural concentration point for
the large armies that descended upon it.
To the northwest, a series of low, parallel
ridges lead to the towns of Cashtown and
Chambersburg. Seminary Ridge, closest to
Gettysburg, is named for the Lutheran Theological
Seminary on its crest. Farther out are McPherson's
Ridge, Herr's Ridge, and eventually South
Mountain. Oak Ridge, a northward extension
of Seminary Ridge, is capped by Oak Hill,
a site for artillery that commanded a good
area north of the town.
Directly south of the town is Cemetery
Hill, at 503 feet (153 m) above sea level,
a gentle 80 foot (24 m) slope above downtown.
The hill is named for the Evergreen (civilian)
cemetery on its crest; the famous military
cemetery dedicated by Abraham Lincoln now
shares the hill. Adjacent, due east, is
Culp's Hill, of similar height, divided
by a slight saddle into two recognizable
hills, heavily wooded, and more rugged.
Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill were subjected
to assaults throughout the battle by Richard
S. Ewell's Second Corps.
Extending south from Cemetery Hill is a
slight elevation known as Cemetery Ridge,
although the term ridge is rather extravagant;
it is generally only about 40 feet (12 m)
above the surrounding terrain and tapers
off before Little Round Top into low, wooded
ground. At the northern end of Cemetery
Ridge is a copse of trees and a low stone
wall that makes two 90-degree turns; the
latter has been nicknamed The Angle and
The High Water Mark. This area, and the
nearby Codori Farm on Emmitsburg Road, were
prominent features in the progress of Pickett's
Charge during the third day of battle, as
well as General Richard H. Anderson's division
assault on the second.
Dominating the landscape are the Round
Tops to the south. Little Round Top is a
hill with a rugged, steep slope of 130 feet
above nearby Plum Run (the peak is 550 feet
(168 m) above sea level), strewn with large
boulders; to its southwest, the area with
the most significant boulders, some the
size of living rooms, is known as Devil's
Den. [Big] Round Top, known also to locals
of the time as Sugar Loaf, is 116 feet higher
than its Little companion. Its steep slopes
are heavily wooded, which made it unsuitable
for siting artillery without a large effort
to climb the heights with horse-drawn guns
and clear lines of fire; Little Round Top
was unwooded, but its steep and rocky form
made it difficult to deploy artillery in
mass. However, Cemetery Hill was an excellent
site for artillery, commanding all of the
Union lines on Cemetery Ridge and the approaches
to them. Little Round Top and Devil's Den
were key locations for General John Bell
Hood's division in Longstreet's assault
during the second day of battle, July 2,
1863. The valley formed by Plum Run between
the Round Tops and Devil's Den earned the
name Valley of Death on that day.
Northwest from the Round Tops, towards
Emmitsburg Road, are the Wheatfield, Rose
Woods, and the Peach Orchard. As noted by
General Daniel E. Sickles in the second
day of battle, this area is about 40 feet
higher in elevation than the lowlands at
the south end of Cemetery Ridge. These all
figured prominently in General Lafayette
McLaws's division assault during the second
day of battle.
After the battle, the Army of the Potomac
and the citizens of Gettysburg were left
with appalling burdens. The battlefield
was strewn with over 7,000 dead men and
the houses, farms, churches, and public
buildings were struggling to deal with 30,000
wounded men. The stench from the dead soldiers
and from the thousands of animal carcasses
was overwhelming. To the east of town, a
massive tent city was erected to attempt
medical care for the soldiers, which was
named Camp Letterman after Jonathan Letterman,
chief surgeon of the Army of the Potomac.
Contracts were let with entrepreneurs to
bury men and animals and the majority were
buried near where they fell.
Two individuals immediately began to work
to help the town recover and to preserve
the memory of those who had fallen: David
Wills and David McConaughy, both attorneys
living in Gettysburg. A week after the battle,
Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin visited
Gettysburg and expressed the state's interest
in finding its veterans and giving them
a proper burial. Wilson immediately arranged
for the purchase of 17 acres (69,000 m²)
next to the Evergreen Cemetery, but the
priority of burying Pennsylvania veterans
soon changed to honoring all of the Union
McConaughy was responsible for purchasing
600 acres (2.4 km²) of privately held
land to preserve as a monument. His first
priorities for preservation were Culp's
Hill, East Cemetery Hill, and Little Round
Top. On April 30, 1864, the Gettysburg Battlefield
Memorial Association was formed to mark
"the great deeds of valor ... and the
signal events which render these battlegrounds
illustrious", and it began adding to
McConaughy's holdings. In 1880, the Grand
Army of the Republic took control of the
Memorial Association and its lands.
On November 19, 1863, the Soldiers' National
Cemetery was dedicated in a ceremony highlighted
by Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
The night before, Lincoln slept in Wills's
house on the main square in Gettysburg,
which is now a landmark administered by
the National Park Service. The cemetery
was completed in March of 1864 with the
last of 3,512 Union dead were reburied.
It became a National Cemetery on May 1,
1872, when control was transferred to the
U.S. War Department.
The removal of Confederate dead from the
field burial plots was not undertaken until
seven years after the battle. 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.
Gettysburg National Military Park
Travel back in time to Civil War days.
97 Taneytown Rd.
Gettysburg, PA 17325
Located 50 miles northwest of Baltimore,
the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
was the site of the largest battle ever
waged during the American Civil War. Fought
in the first three days of July 1863, the
Battle of Gettysburg resulted in a hallmark
victory for the Union "Army of the
Potomac" and successfully ended the
second invasion of the North by General
Robert E. Lee's "Army of Northern Virginia".
Historians have referred to the battle as
a major turning point in the war, the "High
Water Mark of the Confederacy". It
was also the bloodiest single battle of
the war, resulting in over 51,000 soldiers
killed, wounded, captured or missing.
View official Web site
Gettysburg National Military Park and Visitor
Open All Year
September through May 8 AM to 5 PM
June through August 8 AM to 6 PM
Cyclorama Center Museum
Open All Year 9 AM to 5 PM
Gettysburg National Military Park
United States Department of the Interior
- National Park Service
Incidents of the war. A harvest of death,
Gettysburg, July, 1863. Library of Congress,
Prints & Photographs Division, reproduction
number LC-B8184-7964-A DLC. No known restrictions
Sometimes you can hear some of them howling
and screaming at night when you walk past
Willoughby Run, a small stream that cuts
through the middle of town.
Virtually every house that was here at
the time of the Battle, that is still here
today, is said to be haunted. According
to "The Ghosts Of Gettysburg"
Author, Mark Nesbitt, Gettysburg is, acre
for acre, the most haunted place in America.
Experts attribute that to the fact that
thousands of young men, 15 - 17 - 19, have
been tragically and traumatically ripped
from life through the ravages we've come
to know as The American Civil War.
During the 130th anniversary of the battle,
two reenactors were sitting on the top of
Little Round Top, when they noticed what
appeared to be another reenactor approaching
them. One of the sitting reenactors was
a professor of Gettysburg college and he
was quite impressed with the man's kit.
The man who came up approached using lingo
of that time and he said "Weren't Some
fight we had today huh boys?" The other
"Well" said the man,"You
might need these here tomorrow" With
that, the man reached in his kit and handed
the boys some cartridges. The professor
was deeply impressed, because the cartridges
were tied the right way and sealed with
the right amount of bees wax and he was
going to say something when he felt the
Minne ball inside.
BY FEDERAL LAW NO REENACTOR IS TO BRING
LIVE ROUNDS ON THE FIELD!! When the men
looked up, the reenactor disappeared.
The relics were brought back to camp for
us to see and they have been DNA tested
This story along with others is published
in George Coco's book, Ghosts of Gettysburg.
Very many ghosts of civil war soldiers
have been seen here including entire battles
being observed by witnesses.
The fields of Gettysburg were littered
with the bodies of the dead, slowly decaying
in the heat of the Pennsylvania summer.
The people of the town were also left with
thousands of the wounded to attend to and
homes and businesses were quickly turned
into field hospitals. "Wounded men
were brought into our houses and laid side-by-side
in our halls and rooms," one local
woman recalled. "Carpets were so saturated
with blood as to be unfit for further use.
Wall were bloodstained, as well as books
that were used as pillows".
The event which created the lore and legend
of the Devil’s Den is undoubtedly
the fighting which took place here on July
2, 1863, the second day of the Battle of
Gettysburg. However, stories surrounded
the place long before the battle was ever
Also according to local legend, the name
"Devil’s Den" was actually
in use before the battle took place. Most
everyone, in their letters home and in the
explorations of the battlefield after the
fighting, referred to the rocks as a "desolate
and ghostly place" or mentioned the
"ominous" character of the rocks.
Many others felt that the rocky outcropping
actually marked the entrance to a cavern
and while no cave exists here, those who
visit the location can understand the mistake.
The rocks are piled so high that the crevices
between them seem to plunge down into total
But how the area got its name remains a
mystery. Many believe that the strange atmosphere
of the area itself may have contributed
to the designation. Another legend persists
that the Devil’s Den was always known
for being infested with snakes. The legends
say that one gigantic snake in particular
eluded the local hunters for many years
and they were never able to capture or kill
him. He was allegedly nicknamed "the
Devil" and thus, the area of rocks
was called his "den".
No matter how the area got its name, it
was apparently already considered a strange
and "haunted" spot before the
battle, at least according to Emmanuel Bushman.
In the years which would follow, the Devil’s
Den would gain an even more fearsome reputation.
The dead also lined the streets and walkways
of Gettysburg, rotting in the summer sun.
"Corpses, swollen to twice their original
size," wrote a Federal soldier, "actually
burst asunder.... several human, or inhuman,
corpses sat upright against a fence, with
arms extended in the air and faces hideous
with something very like a fixed leer..."
The Triangular Field , situated one hundred
yards southwest of the Devils Den is notorious
for supernatural activity. It is common
for recording equipment to either malfunction
or cease to work at all.
Visitors to the battlefield have reported
the sounds of gunshots and drum rolls emanating
from the wooded area of the field. Others
have reported the apparitions of sharpshooters
among the tree line, taking careful aim
at an enemy absent for over a century.
The local author/historian mentioned earlier,
escorted a television camera crew out to
the field for a special on Gettysburg ghosts.
A prior equipment check showed everything
was in working order. At the moment they
entered the field, all equipment malfunctioned.
As they exited the field, the cameras began
working again. They entered and exited the
field numerous times, only to have this
bizarre pattern continue. As they filmed
the field just outside of it’s perimeter,
they were disappointed to learn that no
film recorded of the field itself came out.
The Devils Den is a large patch of rocks
where many Confederate sharpshooters took
refuge in order to exact their death toll
upon Union officers atop the hills of Little
and Big Round Tops. In 1970, a tourist approached
a park ranger and inquired about stories
of Gettysburg being haunted. The Park Service
cannot answer such questions but the ranger
asked ‘why?’ The woman stated
as she was taking photographs of the Devils
Den, a man suddenly appeared beside her
and said, “What you’re looking
for is over there.” Pointing northeast
toward the Plum Run, she turned to look
and the man vanished. The ranger asked for
a description, and she felt he looked ragged
and like that of a hippie. Barefooted with
torn butternut shirt and trousers, wearing
a big floppy hat. This was often the attire
of Confederate Texans. A few weeks later,
the same ranger was approached by yet another
visitor with the same question. The man
said he was taking pictures and a man mentioned
to look elsewhere and disappeared. His description
was identical to the woman’s.
The Little Round Top is an unimpressive
hill overlooking the Devils Den and the
wheatfield. As the extreme left flank of
the Federal lines, it has had its share
of carnage. During the filming of the movie
Gettysburg, many re-enactors would find
themselves with some down time. Although
the movie was not filmed on the battlefield,
it was not uncommon for these extras to
walk upon the battlefield in their period
uniforms. One small group of men found themselves
atop the Round Top, admiring the view as
the sun began to set. A rustling of the
leaves behind them alerted them to the presence
of a stranger. From the brush emerged a
rather haggard looking old man, dressed
as a Union private. The man was filthy and
smelled of sulfur, a key ingredient of the
black powder used in 1863. He walked up
to the men and as he handed them a few musket
rounds, he said “Rough one today,
eh boys?” He turned and walked away.
As the re-enactors looked upon the musket
rounds, they looked up to see the man had
vanished. When they brought the rounds into
town, they were authenticated as original
rounds 130 years old! Many visitors have
reported the smell of gunpowder, and have
heard gunshots and screams from the Little
Round Top over the years.
A ghost of Gen. William Barksdale's dog
has also been seen the dog died trying to
get message to another general. Triangular
Field - Located above the Devil's Den, Confederate
sharpshooters have been sighted on the rocks
down at the bottom of the field, at the
end of the woods, prepared to shoot. They
have also been heard resounding their famous
"rebel yells" and have been known
to actually cause "impressions"
in the grass, coming towards visitors in
the field. Union cannon can be heard as
well as screaming and moaning of wounded/dying
soldiers all throughout the field. Union
soldiers have been sighted at the left of
the gate-entrance of the field and have
been known to approach visitors. Incidentally,
many visitors have experienced their photographic
equipment does NOT function in the Triangular
Field ~ no matter how new or state-of-the-art
their equipment may be! Distant drums have
been reportedly heard by many, many visitors
The Wheatfield - One of the bloodiest battle
scenes during the war was the Wheatfield.
On occasion you can still hear the war being
fought. Sounds of fire crackling, and tin
cups clinking can be heard, also the sound
of a phantom horse can be heard approaching
Confederate Soldiers dead at Gettysburg,
July, 1863. Library of Congress, Prints
& Photographs Division.
National Park Service
Gettysburg National Military Park
97 Taneytown Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325
phone: (717) 334-1124
fax: (717) 334-1891
Operating Hours & Seasons
PARK GROUNDS AND ROADS
The park is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to
10:00 p.m. April 1 to October 31, and 6:00
a.m. to 7:00 p.m. November 1 to March 31.
The park visitor center is open daily from
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with summer hours
from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Closed
Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New
The Cyclorama Center is open daily from
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., April through November
20, 2006. The center will be closed from
November 21,2006 through May 1, 2007.
SOLDIERS' NATIONAL CEMETERY (Gettysburg
The Soldiers' National Cemetery is open
at dawn and closes at sunset daily.
Fees & Reservations
fees & reservations includes:
Entry to the park is free of charge.
Electric Map Program
There is a charge for the Electric Map program
at the park Visitor Center: $4.00 for adults
(ages 17-61 years) $3.00 for children (ages
6-16 years) $3.00 for senior citizens (62
years and older) Children under 6 years
old admitted for free. Group Rates: $3.00
Licensed Battlefield Guides
Guides may be reserved in advance for organized
bus groups by calling toll free at 1-877-874-2478
or 1-866-889-1243. A guide may also be reserved
for individuals in cars and must be made
seven days prior to your visit. A car reservation
for 1-6 people is $60 per vehicle. Guides
can also be reserved on the day of your
visit, on a first come-first served basis.
Guide fees: 1-6 people= $45.00, 7-15 people=
$65.00, 16-49 people= $100.00, 50+ people=
$135.00. Additional information on the guide
service is available here.
For Group Reservations and Tour Group Operators:
To reserve Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield
Guides, tickets for the Electric Map Program
and group tours to Eisenhower National Historic
Site, please use the new toll-free number
at 1-877-874-2478 or FAX at 1-717-338-1244.
For further information on tickets and group
reservations, contact the Gettysburg Foundation
at e-mail us.
McMillan Woods Youth Campground
For scouting and youth groups that visit
Gettysburg National Military Park, we offer
McMillan Woods Youth Campground, located
on West Confederate Avenue in the park.
The camp area is open from mid April through
October each year. Any organized youth group
with adequate adult supervision (minimum
of one adult for every 10 youths) is welcome
to use the camping area.
Camping is free with sites reserved through
an annual lottery. Reservations for this
year's camp season can be made by downloading
a 2007 camp reservation form (pdf) or by
calling Staci Burchett at (717) 334-1124,
extension 423. Reservation requests must
be submitted between November 1 and January
6. Camp reservations will be awarded by
a random lottery drawing on February 1.
You will be notified with a confirmation
and camping permit by February 28 if your
requested date was accommodated. After February
28, any sites that are left for the remainder
of the camping season will be given away
on a first come, first served basis. There
is no penalty for early submissions but
there is no guarantee of first choices for
There is no commercial camping available
in the park.
ALSO SEE: THE TOP
TEN MOST HAUNTED BATTLEFIELD LIST
the battles have long ago ended and the
sound of cannons and muskets is but a distant
memory, there are some souls who are still
waiting for the call to “Retreat”
– and for them, it may never come!
plans to visit a Haunted Battlefield today!
VISIT HERE TO VIEW FULL LIST >