Ghostly Battlefields

Written by Sarah Calise, graduate assistant

Some of the most haunted places in the United States are battlefields, including Murfreesboro’s own Stones River National Battlefield and cemetery.  The Battle of Stones River was fought from December 31, 1862 to January 3, 1863 when General Bragg ordered the Army of Tennessee to retreat. Two days later, the battered Union army marched into Murfreesboro and declared victory. When the dust cleared, both sides suffered immense casualties–one of the bloodiest of the entire Civil War. Nearly 3,000 soldiers died and 16,000 wounded. Heavy emotions of sadness, anger, and agony imprinted upon the battlefield. For ghost believers, the battle provided the perfect environment to capture the energy of the many soldiers who fought and died upon the grassy landscape.

Photograph from Stones River Commission Photographs, dated 1928. Found in the Stones River Battlefield Historic Landscape Collection in Walker Library’s Digital Collections.

Inside the records of the Tennessee Folklore Society housed at the Albert Gore Research Center, I found an excerpt from a book on haunted battlefields that included a piece on Stones River. The story begins on page 139 of “More Haunted Houses,” and describes some of the strange happenings experienced by park rangers of National Park Service. The brief excerpt is posted below.

So keep your eyes peeled and your ears perked next time you visit Stones River National Battlefield because you might encounter a little more than you bargained for.

From me and everyone at the AGRC, have a safe and happy Halloween!

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