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Shiloh National Military Park is known as the most popular Civil War battlefield and the home of the "Battle of Shiloh," a two-day, bloody battle which began on April 6, 1862. Thousands of men lost their lives in those few short days, hiding in the woods, fighting desperately to survive the terror around them. Fast forward to today. When we visit the park, we are entering the grounds where so much history was made. As we embark on the tour Shiloh has to offer, here are a few stories to keep in mind as we take in each stop and the haunted happenings that may or may not have occurred.
1. Random Gunfire
Visitors of the park have said they have heard random gunshots in the distance. It may be possible the ghosts of the soldiers may still be trapped on the grounds, still fighting the war on a daily basis. The many men who died during those two horrific days of fighting could still be stalking the abundant acres of the park, searching for a way to freedom and to escape their daily torture.
2. The Bloody Pond
This tour stop takes us to a small pond where the wounded soldiers gathered to try to get a drink for themselves and their horses. It has been said, on occasion, that the water has turned the color red. Some believe this is because the soldiers washed their wounds from fighting and gunshots. In addition, the pond is where many men and horses died due to exhaustion and life-threatening injuries. According to park rangers, the pond still turns red during the hottest months of the year due to algae.
3. Beating of the Drums
Tourists have reported incidents of hearing the beating of drums throughout the grounds of Shiloh. The sounds could possibly be coming from one of the youngest boys involved in the battle, 11-year-old Johnny Clem. Although there were several young boys fighting in the battle, it was Johnny Clem who survived and remained in the army until the year 1915. When he passed away, he was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery. The sound of the beating drums may be the soul of little Johnny Clem beating cadence for the soldiers trapped in the fields.
4. Cannon Fire
The Hornets' Nest is possibly one of the most popular stops on the Shiloh tour. This location is renowned as the battlefield which saw most of the fighting during the bloody two-day battle. Soldiers from both sides of the conflict charged this field, fighting with all means possible, such as guns, cannons, knives, etc. Visitors have stated they have heard the sounds of cannons firing throughout the park, coming from the direction of where the Hornets' nest is located on the grounds.
5. Old Shiloh Church
The original church on this part of the park was destroyed in the war. However, local businesses, individual citizens, park rangers, and employees of the park donated money and man hours for the rebuilding of the structure. They followed the exact specifications to ensure the church was reconstructed as closely as possible to its former look. Visitors can enter the little church and see the pews made of logs from the park, a pulpit with a cross engraved and a fireplace. It has been stated that ghosts make themselves known in some of the pictures tourists snap when visiting. When viewing the photos, there would be strange white, blurry images in the photos that were not seem when the picture was taken. Some believe the white images are ghosts of those from the battle and of the church's attendees.
6. Unknown Footsteps
With thousands of park visitors a year, it's not surprising that guests might hear footsteps throughout the park. However, many have stated that when they have heard footsteps nearby, they were unable to find anyone else in the immediate vicinity. The eerie sound of leaves rustling in the woods and audible footfalls pounding the ground is an experience that one hopes not to encounter, especially alone in a battle ground that could so easily be haunted and so much death has occurred. Visitors have suspected that the footsteps could be those of the dead, wandering the grounds, making their way across the battlefield.
7. The Peach Orchard
The Peach Orchard is located on the park grounds and was reportedly in full bloom when the battle commenced. Perhaps as we travel these old pathways, we too may encounter a ghostly figure walking the roads as so many tourists have reported seeing within the park grounds. These sightings of the unknown man recount that his face is indistinguishable and that the potential apparition disappears after a few minutes, then may suddenly reappear out of nowhere. Many soldiers died at the Peach Orchard and their lifeless bodies lay sprawled beneath the trees as the battle raged around them. This unknown man may be one of the fallen soldiers who lost his life under the blooming peach trees.
8. Rangers' Housing
Some of the rangers employed at the park are provided with on-site housing at Shiloh National Military Park. Throughout the 122 years of the park, there have been tales of doors opening and shutting by themselves. On calm and otherwise windless days, previous rangers have reported incidents when previously closed windows were found open and strange breezes were stirring throughout the structures. Naturally, these houses were not present during the historic Battle of Shiloh, they were constructed and staffed after the opening of the park. Maybe the souls who still inhabit these fields feel strangers are intruding on their territory and are letting the tenants know their presence is unwelcome.
9. Screams and Moans
Visitors say they have heard the echoes of unknown screams in the distance. So many men were shot, stabbed, and wounded during this battle. There were countless soldiers in tremendous pain stemming from their injuries. During the war, screams and moans could be heard throughout the woods as the wounded cried for help, hoping to survive. It was impossible for many of them to make it to the makeshift medical tents to receive the care they needed. Many suffered as their life came to an end on the cold, hard ground of the battlefield.
10. The Primitive Cabin
There have been repeated sightings in this primitive cabin of a small, barefoot young boy dressed in grey and white clothing, climbing down the ladder from the loft and running outside to vanish without a trace. It can be conceived that this boy may have been hiding and in fear for his life during the battle. If his young soul is trapped in the cabin, it is possible that when visitors arrive, he flees his hideout desperately trying to remain safe. With the surprising and vast amount of young children who were involved in this bloody battle, who knows how many lost souls may still be reluctantly residing throughout the rickety cabins and shattered remains scattered throughout the many acres of Shiloh.
The Battle of Shiloh alone cost an enormous number of men and young boys, from both armies involved in this conflict, their lives. It was a battle which will forever be a pivotal part of history, as well as the historical stories, legends, and mysterious and often forgotten tales surrounding it. Undoubtedly, with so many casualties and deaths during the Civil War as a whole, stories of hauntings and unexplainable events on these grounds will continue. Thousands of lives were lost as well as horrific injuries to survivors, which suggests ghosts of those tragic few days will forever be bound in spirit to the last place they were among the living. Shiloh National Military Park and the surrounding areas will be their forever home.
- Shiloh National Military Park | Haunted Places | Shiloh, TN 38376
- Battle of Shiloh: Shattering Myths
- Shiloh National Battlefield Ghost HauntedAmericaTours.com -
- shiloh haunting stories | American Civil War Forums
- HyperBear.com: American Civil War - Shiloh Photographs - Hornets' Nest III (Peach Orchard)
- Shiloh National Military Park (U.S. National Park Service)
- Shiloh National Battlefield Ghost HauntedAmericaTours.com -
- Shiloh National Military Park – Shiloh, TN | Tennessee Hauntings
Marcia H. on May 15, 2020:
When we lived in west Tennessee we had the opportunity to visit Shiloh many times, on our own and with visitors. There are areas in the park where you truly feel other presences, although we never witnessed any apparitions. It must truly be haunted as a result of the horrifying amount of lives destroyed in that terrible, bloody battle. I hope one day those lost souls will find peace and that goes for all of humanity.
AneciaPrice on September 17, 2018:
My husband and I have both seen the little ghost boy at the primitive cabin. It wasn’t until after we were married that I brought up my encounter with him and my husband began to tell me how he had a similar encounter with him too.
I was around 10yrs old when I saw him. I entered the cabin. Through the back door with my family just as another couple was leaving out the front door. Not ten seconds later a young, barefooted boy around the age of 6-8 with blond hair, grey pants and a white shirt climbed down the ladder leading to the attic loft and also exited out the front door. We exited to and walked down the path behind him and the couple who exited the cabin just before him, (who we naturally thought were his parents since they were the only other people around.) Just before we got to the parking lot, however, the boy ran off onto a path in the woods and then the couple got into their car and left. It was then that my mom said that it looked like that couple had left their son and we started looking for the boy, quickly realizing that he wasn’t with the couple after all. In fact, they had never even acknowledged him. He had just vanished.
My husband was a teenager when he and his friends encountered the boy. They had all climbed up the ladder into the loft but just as they got up there they heard the door open downstairs. My husband looked and he saw the boy, who looked and was dressed exactly the same as when I saw him. He said they looked at each other and the boy opened the door and went back outside. That’s when my husband and his friends decided to follow him. They went out the door practically right behind him, but when they got outside he was somehow way up the trail headed back to the parking lot. They picked up the pace to try and follow him, but my husband said they couldn’t seem to get any closer. One of them even yelled out to him but he veered onto the same path in the woods just as we had seen him do and disappeared. No one else was anywhere near them or in the parking lot at the time, so there was no one there to have picked him up, etc. He was just gone without a trace like when my family encountered him.
What’s odd to both of us is that the boy looked to be as real as we are. He was able to climb down from the ladder and open the door, and he fully acknowledged that we were there by looking straight at us and then basically running away from us. The only odd thing was the way he was dressed and the fact that he was able to easily outpace us and disappear once he got down the trail.