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HAUNTED BATTLEFIELDS GHOST STORIES AND GHOST PHOTOS

Richmond National Battlefield Ghost

The battle of Malvern Hill, by Currier and Ives.

Richmond National Battlefield Park commemorates more than 30 American Civil War battles around Richmond, Virginia. These battles include: Beaver Dam Creek, Cold Harbor, Drewery's Bluff, Gaines Mill, Glendale, Malvern Hill, and New Market Heights, site of 14 Medals of Honor for United States Colored Troops.

The national battlefield park was authorized on March 2, 1936. As with all historical areas administered by the National Park Service, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.

Battle of Cold Harbor

The Battle of Cold Harbor was fought between May 31 and June 12, !864 and is one of the battles at which General Ulysses S. Grant was present in personal command. This did not forestall the Confederates or prevent a Union loss, but men of both sides fought and fell valiantly: 16,000 men died or were wounded or lost at Cold Harbor and years later the number was being revised as farmers and hapless visitors continued to uncover remains of men who fell in this horrible corner of Virginia. Visitors to the Cold Harbor / Richmond battlefields have reported encounters with ghostly soldiers and unexplained lights; the sound of hoof beats and cannon fire still persist to this day.

Combatants
United States of America Confederate States of America
Commanders
Ulysses S. Grant
George G. Meade Robert E. Lee
Strength
108,000 62,000
Casualties
13,000 2,500

Battle of Cold Harbor by Kurz and Allison, 1888.

Richmond National Battlefield Park commemorates more than 30 American Civil War battles around Richmond, Virginia. These battles include: Beaver Dam Creek, Cold Harbor, Drewery's Bluff, Gaines Mill, Glendale, Malvern Hill, and New Market Heights, site of 14 Medals of Honor for United States Colored Troops.

The national battlefield park was authorized on March 2, 1936. As with all historical areas administered by the National Park Service, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.


Cold Harbor Ghost Photo from Jack Larson King

Richmond's story is not just the tale of one large Civil War battle, nor even one important campaign. Instead, the park's resources include a naval battle, a key industrial complex, the Confederacy's largest hospital, dozens of miles of elaborate original fortifications, and the evocative spots where determined soldiers stood paces apart and fought with rifles, reaping a staggering human cost.

The battle of Gaines' Mill outside of Richmond, Virginia, was the first Civil War battle where both sides got help from above--in the form of observation balloons.

Cold Harbor
Second Cold Harbor Virginia
American Civil War
May 31-June 12, 1864
On May 31, Sheridan's cavalry seized the vital crossroads of Old Cold Harbor. Early on June 1, relying heavily on their new repeating carbines and shallow entrenchments, Sheridan's troopers threw back an attack by Confederate infantry. Confederate reinforcements arrived from Richmond and from the Totopotomoy Creek lines. Late on June 1, the Union VI and XVIII Corps reached Cold Harbor and assaulted the Confederate works with some success. By June 2, both armies were on the field, forming on a seven-mile front that extended from Bethesda Church to the Chickahominy River. At dawn June 3, the II and XVIII Corps, followed later by the IX Corps, assaulted along the Bethesda Church-Cold Harbor line and were slaughtered at all points. Grant commented in his memoirs that this was the only attack he wished he had never ordered. The armies confronted each other on these lines until the night of June 12, when Grant again advanced by his left flank, marching to James River. On June 14, the II Corps was ferried across the river at Wilcox's Landing by transports. On June 15, the rest of the army began crossing on a 2,200-foot long pontoon bridge at Weyanoke. Abandoning the well-defended approaches to Richmond, Grant sought to shift his army quickly south of the river to threaten Petersburg.

Beaver Dam Creek Mechanicsville, Ellerson's Mill Seven Days Battle Civil War

Virginia American Civil WarJune 26, 1862 General Robert E. Lee initiated his offensive against McClellan's right flank north of the Chickahominy River. A.P. Hill threw his division, reinforced by one of D.H. Hill's brigades, into a series of futile assaults against Brigadier General Fitz John Porter's V Corps, which was drawn up behind Beaver Dam Creek.

Confederate attacks were driven back with heavy casualties.

Jackson's Shenandoah Valley divisions, however, were approaching from the northwest, forcing Porter to withdraw the next morning to a position behind Boatswain Creek just beyond Gaines' Mill.

Result(s): Union victory

Location: Hanover County

Campaign: Peninsular Campaign (March-September 1862)

Principal Commanders: Brigadier General Fitz John Porter [US]; General Robert E. Lee [CS]

Forces Engaged: 31,987 total (US 15,631; CS 16,356)

Estimated Casualties: 1,700 total (US 400; CS 1,300)

Richmond-Capital of the Confederacy

As capital of the newly formed Confederate States of America, Richmond, Virginia, became the constant target of northern armies. During the four years of the Civil War, Union generals made repeated attempts to capture the city by land. Richmond, however, was vulnerable by water as well as by land. Gunboats could navigate the James River all the way to Richmond. The key to the city's river defenses lay in a small fort only seven miles south of the capital. Known throughout the south as Drewry's Bluff, northern troops referred to it as Fort Darling.

Drewry's Bluff in the Bermuda Hundred Campaign, 1864

On May 5, 1864, Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler and his Army of the James landed at Bermuda Hundred, a neck of land only 15 miles south of Richmond. Marching overland, they advanced within three miles of Drewry's Bluff by May 9. While several Union regiments did manage to capture the fort's outer defenses, delays by Union generals spoiled the success. Confederate infantry under General P.G.T. Beauregard seized the initiative and successfully counterattacked on May 16. Once again a Union drive on Richmond met defeat at Drewry's Bluff. The area remained an integral part of Richmond's defense until the fall of Petersburg in April 1865.

Principal Commanders: Cdr. John Rodgers [US]; Cdr. E. Farrand, Brig. Gen. William Mahone, Capt. S. S. Lee, and
Lt. John Taylor Wood [CS]

Forces Engaged: 5 gunboats [US]; battery garrison [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 41 total

Description: With the fall of Yorktown, the Confederate ironclad Virginia at Norfolk was scuttled to prevent her capture. This opened the James River to Federal gunboats. On May 15, five gunboats, including the ironclads Monitor and Galena, steamed up the James to test the Richmond defenses. They encountered submerged obstacles and deadly accurate fire from the batteries at Drewry’s Bluff, which inflicted severe damage on the Galena. The Federal Navy was turned back.

Result: Confederate victory

Gaines’ Mill

Peninsula Campaign (March-September 1862)

Date(s): June 27, 1862

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Fitz John Porter [US]; Gen. Robert E. Lee [CS]

Forces Engaged: 91,232 total (US 34,214; CS 57,018)

Estimated Casualties: 15,500 total (US 6,800; CS 8,700)

Description: This was the third of the Seven Days’ Battles. On June 27, 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee renewed his attacks against Porter’s V Corps, which had established a strong defensive line behind Boatswain’s Swamp north of the Chickahominy River. Porter’s reinforced V Corps held fast for the afternoon against disjointed Confederate attacks, inflicting heavy casualties. At dusk, the Confederates finally mounted a coordinated assault that broke Porter’s line and drove his soldiers back toward the river. The Federals retreated across the river during the night. Defeat at Gaines’ Mill convinced McClellan to abandon his advance on Richmond and begin the retreat to James River. Gaines’ Mill saved Richmond for the Confederacy in 1862.

Result(s): Confederate victory

Malvern Hill

The final battle of the Seven Days was the first in which the Union Army occupied favorable ground. For the preceding six days, the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George B. McClellan, had been retreating to the safety of the James River, pursued by the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee. Up to this point, the major battles of the Seven Days had been mostly inconclusive, but McClellan was unnerved by Lee's aggressive assaults and remained convinced that he was seriously outnumbered, although in fact the two armies were roughly equal.

Malvern Hill offered good observation and artillery positions, having been prepared the previous day by the V Corps, under Brig. Gen. Fitz John Porter. McClellan himself was not present on the battlefield, having preceded his army to Harrison's Landing on the James, and Porter was the most senior of the corps commanders. The slopes were cleared of timber, providing great visibility, and the open fields to the north could be swept by deadly fire from the 250 guns placed by Col. Henry J. Hunt, McClellan's chief of artillery. Beyond this space, the terrain was swampy and thickly wooded. The entire Army of the Potomac occupied the hill, with the exception of the IV Corps, under Brig. Gen. Erasmus D. Keyes, which had proceeded to Harrison's Landing.

D.H. Hill wrote afterwards, "It wasn't war; it was murder." Lee's army suffered 5,355 casualties (versus 3,214 Union) in this wasted effort and withdrew to Richmond, while the Union Army completed its retreat to Harrison's Landing.

The Battle of Chaffin's Farm, also known as New Market Heights

fought September 29–September 30, 1864, as part of the Siege of Petersburg in the American Civil War.

The nature of warfare evolved dramatically during the final ten months of the Civil War. Static warfare in the trenches replaced the freewheeling mass movements of earlier campaigns. This began at Cold Harbor in June 1864 and progressed southward to the series of battles around Petersburg. These affairs occasionally erupted into full-scale battles. The Battle of Chaffin's Farm is a particularly illustrative example of a late war engagement.

From the very beginning of the war, Confederate engineers worked feverishly to build permanent defenses around Richmond. By 1864, they had created a system anchored south of the capital on the James River at Chaffin's Farm, a large open bluff named for a local resident. This outer line was supported by an intermediate and inner system of fortifications much closer to the capital.

The strength of these lines remained untested until September 1864 when Union General Ulysses S. Grant tried to capture Richmond or Petersburg by attacking simultaneously north and south of the James. The attack north of the river occurred on September 29. Troops under Federal general Benjamin Butler captured the strategically important New Market Heights in the early morning. Other elements of Butler's forces under Edward O. C. Ord then overwhelmed the Confederate defenders inside Fort Harrison. However, uncoordinated attacks against Forts Gilmer, Gregg, and Johnson all failed, leaving Butler and Grant chagrined at their only partial success. A Confederate counterattack on September 30 proved equally futile, and the two armies settled into trench warfare that continued until the end of the war. This fighting around Chaffin's Farm cost the nation nearly 5,000 casualties.

 

Ghost of the Battlefield

Reports continue to come in of paranormal occurrences including the sound of ghostly rifle shots and voices giving commands to unseen ghostly troops. Many have heard ghost whispers in the cemetery and seen the wandering figure of a band of soldiers walking among the headstones.

Richmond Battlefield Patk is considered by many Paranormal investigators as being a hot spot for major hauntings related to the Civil War. It is only over shadowed by Gettysburg in general oppinion.


Operating Hours & Seasons

Park battlefields are open sunrise-sunset. Visitor centers at Tredegar Iron Works, Chimborazo and Cold Harbor are open daily 9am to 5 pm. Visitor centers at Glendale and Fort Harrison are open daily June through August, 9am to 5pm.

The park is closed on the following days: Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1. There are no fees.

Phone
(804)226-1981

Location
Five miles southeast of Mechanicsville on route 156.

Richmond National Battlefield -- Cold Harbor

The Battle of North Anna and Cold Harbor Official Records

ALSO SEE: THE TOP TEN MOST HAUNTED BATTLEFIELD LIST

Though 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!

Make plans to visit a Haunted Battlefield today!

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