Did ghostly soldiers pay re-enactors a courtesy call?

Leaferne

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#1
Did ghostly soldiers pay re-enactors a courtesy call?

By Terry Shulman/Special Writer
[email protected]

Ghosts will be ghosts: they're fickle, elusive and painfully shy, especially when it comes to actually showing themselves and, in doing so, getting us to admit that they really do exist. So when an army of Civil War spirits rides in like gangbusters, as the men of Palmetto Sharpshooters say they did on June 5, 1996, it's nothing to sneer at.

Naturally, those who were present that morning remember the occurrence vividly. At about 5:00 a.m., says Don Windley, a re-enactor with the Palmetto regiment, he and his comrades awoke to an inexplicable commotion at their campsite on the southern edge of the Piedmont battlefield. The group had slept there, beside the Middle River Church of the Brethren, the night before their annual anniversary observance of the battle.

"We heard what sounded like three or four wagons," Windley recalls. "You could hear chains rattling. You could hear horses whinnying. You could hear hooves pounding. You could hear wagon-wheels creaking."

Joe Drega, another member of the unit, walked up to the fence-line to investigate. Then suddenly, Windley says, "he was looking awfully weird and his eyeballs were really big. As we all walked up to the fence-line and the noise got louder, Joe's mouth kind of dropped open and he was looking in bewilderment at the forest."

At first the Sharpshooters thought they were being paid a surprise visit by another group of re-enactors. "Myself and Sergeant Scott Harris stood there with Joe and his son, Josh, who climbed over the fence and walked toward the forest to greet the wagons as they came into camp. But when he reached the forest-line all the wagon movement and sounds stopped on cue, as though a conductor was orchestrating it. For two or three seconds there was dead silence, then the birds started chirping and everything went back to normal."

A moment later, New Hope resident Joe Drega realized it couldn't have been a group of re-enactors after all. "Joe turned and looked at us and said 'Boys, there's no road in that forest anymore.'"

While exploring the woods they saw that he was right, though they did discover an old, overgrown road trace that Drega said had been there at the time of the battle.

Drega couldn't be reached for comment, but Windley's story is corroborated by both the unit's Captain, Brocky Nicely, and Scott Harris. "I was asleep and the sounds woke me up," Nicely remembers.. "What I heard sounded like wagon-wheels creaking and leather gear pulling on single-trees, the bars that connect the horses to the wagons. At a reenactment you normally don't pay attention to stuff like that, so when I heard it I thought somebody had brought up some horses. Then I turned over and went back to sleep."

Harris, who was unaware that the other men had been interviewed for this story, gives an identical version of events: "It all hit everybody at once. Everything went deathly quiet and we heard what sounded to us like wagons rolling up a rocky, dirt road. We walked up to the fence line . . . we all kind of looked at each other. My hair stood on end and I got a cold chill."

Windley says that nothing like this has happened to the Palmetto re-enactors, before or since. "It was a fluke. I'm usually skeptical about such things, but if you had been there it would have made you a believer in the paranormal."

Source (Staunton, Virginia)
 
A

Anonymous

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#2
Fantastic, what an excellent story.

I used to share a house with a lass who's folks lived in the oldest pub in Banbury, Oxford. We went down to spend the weekend with them and were coming back late one sunday night in November. We stopped at the battlesite of EdgeHill and i swear to god to this day that i could hear the sounds of battle. The moon was full, the field was plowed, the trees were stark and bare and the crows were roosting in the branches. The atmosphere was unbelievable. My mate said she heard nothing.
The Sharpshooters obviously had an 'en masse' experience as opposed to my vivid imagination. Amazing!!
 

zygmunt_rocks_on

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#3
an aquaintance of mine was driving through part of Katyn Forest, near Smolensk, a few years ago... scene of the mass murder of Polish army officers during WW2. He was listening to music on the radio, which was suddenly interrupted by the sounds of gunfire, shouting and screaming, which went on for several terrifying minutes (he was driving in pitch darkness) before the music resumed. He claims it wasn't part of the radio show. Later the same night (and still in the forest), he stopped for a rest and became aware of three gaunt figures staring at him from the edge of the tree line, dressed in what looked like ragged army clothing, and looking "really, really sad" (as he put it). They might just have been tramps, but he didn't hang around after that.
 

Melf

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#4
re:- Did ghostly soldiers pay re-enactors a courtesy call?

it would be intresting to know whether the ghosts were the from the north or the south
 

hedgewizard1

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#5
I posted this story on a reencting list, and here are the replies I've gotten:

This is one that I hadn't heard. I did read a
credible account of a similar happening at a
reenactment on the Chickamauga battlefield. I also
read an interesting account about visitors to Richmond
who were awakened one night and heard what sounded a
colume of Civil war troops passing in the street
beneath their hotel. They could clearly hear the creak
of wagons, the curses of the drivers, jangling of
gear, comamnds being shouted, etc. This was an
auditory thing, nothing was visible. A similar thing
happened to visitors to the French town of Dieppe.
One night they apparently heard a replay of the famous
WWII raid on Dieppe.
The Chickamauga incident happened in broad
daylight, and the modern reeanactor thought he was
seeing other reenactors until after the battle.
On one hand, as a history major I tend to be
skeptical of things in general. But on the other
hand, I lived in Wilmington, North Carolina when I was
small, and we went to see the famous light at Maco
Junction many times. I can't explain the Maco Light,
but seeing is believing, and so I do not automatically
dismiss anything, heh.

Best Regards,
Aiden



My aunt and uncle live close enough to the battlefield at Manassas that my
cousin used to jog on a portion of it. I think some people are more
receptive to such "encounters" for lack of another word. It was early Fall
and it was foggy. He was used to passing people occasionally who were out
sightseeing but he came upon a gaunt man dressed in grey wool. The man
nodded to him and when my cousin turned around for another look, he was
gone. He has had at least three of these type encounters that I'm aware of.
One other encounter was my aunt "visiting" him in his room in Bruit the day
she died in the U.S.A. He was only a small child at the time so that's why
I say perhaps some people are more in tuned than others. Perhaps more open
and not focused on the now. Who knows?

Lorraine



I was born in Alexandria, and raised in Manassas. Just about as close as your Aunt and Uncle are Lorriane, though now, there is a strip mall between what used to be my backyard and the battlefield. I can remember in High School a group of us leaving the battlefield right before sunset. We were walking back to the cars up by the Stone House, and all of a sudden it was quiet. You could still hear the insects, and the birds, but the road noise disappeared, as did the power lines. There were about 5 of us that night, and we all saw it, maybe it was wishful thinking as we had all been discussing what it must have looked like before everything was overtaken by modern sprawl and suburbia. But it was a most wonderful sight. I would love to see it again.

DELICIA
 

OldTimeRadio

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#6
Civil War

Around 10 0r 15 years ago long-hidden human remains were unearthed from one of the battlefields of the American Civil War.

It could no longer be determined whether the dead man had served with the Union or with the Confederacy.

Therefore it was decided to re-bury the corpse as BOTH. If he'd been Union, he was now also an honorary Confederate. And vice versa.

A newspaper photograph was published of the re-interment
ceremony.

Forty or fifty Union re-enactors stand on the left side of the grave. They all clasp hands, with one of the soldiers clasping the left hand if the Union general. The general's other hand holds that of the last living Union Army widow (in a wheelchair). She clasps the hand of the last remaining Confederate widow (she too is in a wheelchair), who also grasps the right hand of the Confederate general....and so on.

The two women's hands link directly over the coffin.

Anybody who can look at this photograph, even in its fuzzy newspaper half-tones, and not at least SENSE that there are DEAD people standing here as well as living, sure ain't trying very hard.

And the dead APPROVE.
 

Timble2

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#7
Off thread, but the maths of your post had me a bit puzzled OldTimeRadio.

The Civil War ended in 1865, so any survivors or widows of men killed in the war, would be at least 141 years old in 1990 (even if they were in their teens when they married). I then realised, that the widows were the widows of men who survived the war and married very much younger women in their old age. Googling around showed that the last Union widow died in 2003, and the last Confederate widow (at 97) in 2004. Interesting what you find out when something intrigues you.
 

OldTimeRadio

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#8
Civil Ear Widows

Timble2 said:
"I then realised, that the widows were the widows of men who survived the war and married very much younger women in their old age."
I should have explained that.

There were numerous marriage of this type during the 1920s, especially, with girls in their teens or early twenties marrying Civil War veterans in their eighties.

The girls got roundly criticized (usually outside of their own communities) for having purely financial motives, but in many cases it seems to have been out of genuine concern to give assistence and comfort to a local hero in his last years, with the presence of a woman in the house not offending social mores.

And I can recall at least one such marriage which seems to have been genuine love. After the husband died following 10 years of what seems to have been a quite normal and happy marriage (in 1935) his widow spent the remainder of her long life in mourning and in tending his grave (which was on the family farm).

But in all cases the widows received their husbands' pensions.

P. S. I remember discussing this in high school American History class in the late 1950s, when the widows would have been only in their forties or fifties.
 

minordrag

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#10
There's also a good story floating around there somewhere about a similar experience at Gettysburg.

Found it:

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.
I'd love to see the report on those musket rounds. Sounds too good to be true, alas.
 

HelzAngel

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#11
minordrag said:
There's also a good story floating around there somewhere about a similar experience at Gettysburg.

Found it:

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.
I'd love to see the report on those musket rounds. Sounds too good to be true, alas.
Gettysburg is a very creepy place, but the man could simply have been another film extra or re-enactor. As for the musket balls there are thousands of them still lying round the battlefield, the old man could have found them and more, and decided to give some of them to the film extras.

Saying that, you wouldn't catch me on little round top at night, I couldn't get away from there quick enoughh during the day.
 
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