Civil War Wiki

There is speculation over the alleged existence of ghosts from the American Civil War. Among the locales famous for Civil War ghosts was the Sharpsburg battlefield near Sharpsburg, Maryland, Chickamauga battlefield outside Chattanooga, Tennessee across the Georgia border, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, Buras, Louisiana, and Warren, Arkansas.[1]


The Battle of Gettysburg was the largest battle in North America. Fittingly, it has many ghost stories. The 20th Maine was said to have seen the ghost of George Washington, and it was due to the ghost that they found their way to the Gettysburg battlefield.[2] The Soldiers' Orphanage cellar is said to make even psychics too afraid to enter the house, due to its legend.[3] The Herr Tavern was built in 1815, but during the battle it was used as the first Confederate hospital at Gettysburg, where amputations often resulted in limbs being thrown out through the window to be collected later, only for many of the soldiers to die afterward. As a result, four of the guest rooms are said to be haunted, and the rooms are numbered so that there is no room 13.[4]

The interest of ghosts and Gettysburg remains to the present day. In recent times, people have claimed to seen ghost soldiers, and sometimes even ghost battles, in many places around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.[5] Eight separate companies offer ghost tours in Gettysburg—some seasonally, and some all year.[6]

Other battlefields[]

A battle did not need to be major to have ghosts associated with it. The Battle of Kolb Farm is believed to have created a ghost that haunts a farmhouse in northern Georgia.[7]

One of the bloodiest battles was the Battle of Sharpsburg. Both Union and Confederate Ghosts have reportedly been seen placing artillery on the battlefield.[8]

Lincoln's Ghost[]


Willie Lincoln, who died in the White House during his father's presidency.

Abraham Lincoln has long been said to haunt the White House. First Lady Grace Coolidge, wife of President Calvin Coolidge, was the first to claim to spot Lincoln's ghost. She claimed to see Lincoln looking at the Potomac River sadly from the Oval Office. Carl Sandburg claimed to have "sensed" Lincoln do the same as well. Both Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and Eleanor Roosevelt were said to have seen Lincoln during World War II at the Lincoln Bedroom (Lincoln's office during the war); the Queen admitted to fainting after seeing Lincoln in his top hat.[9] Margaret Truman's hearing of tappings that caused Harry Truman to order the White House renovated, keeping the building from falling down, have been attributed to the ghost. Gerald Ford's daughter Susan Ford made a point of never sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom, out of fear of Lincoln's ghost. Maureen Reagan claimed to see Lincoln in the Lincoln Bedroom as well during her father's (Ronald Reagan) administration. Others who have sensed or reportedly seen Lincoln were Harry Truman and Fala.[10]

Lincoln's son Willie died during Lincoln's Presidency. A White House maid during Ulysses S. Grant's administration reported seeing the dead boy.[11]

Lincoln's ghost has reportedly been seen outside of the White House as well. In Loundonville, New York, Lincoln's ghost is said to haunt a house that was owned by a woman who was present at Ford's Theatre when Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. Other Lincoln hauntings include his grave in Springfield, Illinois, a portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln and a phantom train on nights in April along the same path his funeral train followed from Washington D.C. to Springfield.[12]


The Beauregard-Keyes House in New Orleans is said to be haunted by the ghost of Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard and an entire regiment of ghost soldiers reenacting the Battle of Shiloh, perhaps Beauregard's worst defeat and a battle that took place 415 miles away in southwest Tennessee.[13]


  1. Ogden p.228
  2. Ogden p.228,229
  3. Hertzog p.97
  4. Hertzog pp.43,44
  5. Ogden p.228,229
  6. Hertzog p.98
  7. Scott p.82
  8. Okonowicz p.116
  9. Scott p.70
  10. Ogden p.181, Scott p.70,71
  11. Scott p.70
  12. Ogden pp.181,182,227
  13. Scott pp.116, 117


  • Hertzog, Kate (2006). Insiders' Guide to Gettysburg. Globe Pequot. ISBN 0762737867. 
  • Ogden, Tom (1999). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Ghosts and Hauntings. Alpha Books. ISBN 0028636597. 
  • Okonowicz, Ed (2007). Haunted Maryland: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Old Line State. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0811734099. 
  • Scott, Beth (2007). Haunted America. Macmillan. ISBN 0765319675.