Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2008
Published on: Sep 18, 2001
A group of schoolboys once stood in Bloody Lane, an area on the Antietam National Battlefield and Cemetery. Quietly, they listened. When they returned to school many wrote essays telling of how they had heard shouts that sounded like “Fa-la-la-la!”
Later, it was discovered that during the battle in September of 1862 the Irish Brigade had charged the enemy at Bloody Lane. Their war cry was “Faugh-a-Balaugh”, which is pronounced “Fa-ah-bah-la”. This phrase is Gaelic for “Clear the way.”
We will never know what could have happened at Antietam, Maryland if three cigars wrapped in a slip of paper had not been found. A Union soldier had found this bundle. When the man realized that the note contained extensive details of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s battle plans, it was rushed to General George McClellan. In the resulting engagement Union forces overpowered Lee and prevented the Confederacy from advancing north.
More people were wounded or killed on September 17, 1862 than on any other day of the war. A brochure given out by the National Park Service states that the Confederate army lost 10,700 men while the Union lost 12,410. Union general Joseph Hooker wrote, “…every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows as precisely as they had stood in their ranks moments before.” Paranormal researchers are not surprised to find that Antietam National Battlefield is haunted.
Mysterious sounds are commonly heard around Burnside’s Bridge. On days when no firearms or re-enactors were around witnesses have heard gunfire and smelled gunpowder. Others have hears the frantic shouts of men. Some have heard of all of these sounds together, along with the sound of swords clashing. A steady drumbeat has also been reported. Occasionally, spectral blue balls of light float around the bridge.
Next to Burnside’s Bridge the Otto house still stands. This home was used as a hospital after the battle. One evening two park rangers spotted a figure glowing bluish in the doorway of this building. Realizing that the figure was not of this world, they ran away. Later, they discovered that others had seen the glowing apparition of a woman in a hoop skirt standing in the same doorway.
Many other local buildings were used as hospitals, and are also haunted. People have heard screams and seen unusual lights in the Saint Paul Episcopal Church. Odd sounds and apparitions have plagued residents of the Piper House. Not only was this home used as a hospital, but also it is believed that soldiers are still buried under an addition that was added after 1900.
On the evening of September 17, 1992, one hundred and thirty years after the battle, a group of friends decided to drive through the battlefield area. They were passing by the cornfield where some of the bloodiest fighting went on when they saw a long line of men come out of the darkness and begin crossing the road.
As the car neared the line the occupants of the car saw that the men were in Civil War era uniforms. Suddenly, the soldiers faded out of sight.
Confused, the people stopped their car and got out. Hundreds of men had literally vanished from their sight. There was no one around, and no indication that there had been.
The men slain in the cornfield and in the lanes of Antietam still linger to remind us that this bloody day should never be repeated.
Do you know of a haunted battlefield? Discuss it here!
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