Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2008
On the evening of September 20, 1863 darkness settled across the battered land near the Tennessee river. The battle of Chickamauga had just ended. Women crept onto the field, their lanterns bobbing in the inky darkness. As they discovered the bodies of their loved ones on this southeastern Tennessee battlefield, they let out cries on anguish. Many years later, it is these lights and sounds that remind us that these women are still haunting the battlefield.
The story of the battle itself is complex. This area, now a National Park, extends into Georgia. It was an excellent spot for the Union army to enter the Peach Tree State, but they failed, and this battle was a victory for the Confederates.
About 35,000 men died during the two-day battle. To this day, workers in the park still uncover the bodies of soldiers because there is no accurate record of the burials.
After the war ended, many more people were to die on this waterway that the Cherokee Indians had nicknamed “the river of death”. In the 1890s a military training camp was established on the grounds to prepare men for the Spanish-American War. Conditions were bad and many men died form disease. In fact, more American men died at the Chickamauga camp than during the fighting in Cuba!
In modern times the large, heavily wooded park has turned into the “perfect” spot to commit a murder or suicide. Also, those wishing to dispose of a corpse sometimes use it as a dumping ground.
Many of the ghosts associated with Chickamauga seem to relate to these lost or abandoned corpses. A spirit referred to as ”the lady in white” roams the battlefield. She once loved a man who went away to fight in the Civil War and never returned. Apparently, her man was slain at Chickamauga and her shade still looks for his corpse.
Some believe that the phantom that was nicknamed “Old Green Eyes” was around before the war took place. Others believe that in life this man was a Confederate soldier who was killed when he was hit by a cannonball. The only identifiable part of him to be found was his head.
It is said that “Old Green Eyes” is still looking for his missing body. Visitors in the area at sunset have reported seeing a pair of large glowing eyes coming towards them, accompanied by a terrible groan. Others have claimed to see a monster-like creature with long hair, fangs, and a cape that flaps despite the lack of wind at the time. Some people claim to feel that they are being watched as they are in the park.
Occasionally, the bushes part as though someone is coming through, but no one ever does. Others have heard the sounds of horses galloping or men shouting, and no one ever appears.
One man noticed a soldier on horseback approaching him. As he looked up to see who it might be, he saw that the rider had no head!
The Lost Souls of Chickamauga
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