Frederick county Ghosts and Legends: The Phantom Battle

May 26, 2020

This story comes from Ghosts and Legends of Frederick County by Cannon and Whitmore.

Hope you enjoy!

Amercian Civil War: Battlefields Old South Mountain Inn Turner's ...
Old South Mountain Inn
also known as South Mountain House, once upon a time

“It was Halloween. The air was cool, the sky clear and bright. All but two of the guests at South Mountain House were asleep. Both men were reading in their rooms, relaxing after a day of traveling.”

One of the men became aware of a sulfurous smell that was coming from the direction of the barn. Thinking someone was up to no good, the man ran to the window to investigate. At the window, he did see wisps of smoke coming from the barn, and the sulfur smell was stronger. He went to the room of one of the other guests, not wanting to awaken the entire household. He informed the other guest upon waking him of his suspicions.

They went to the servant’s quarters and sent a man-servant to investigate. After a while, the servant came back to report nothing amiss in any of the outbuildings on the property. There was also no sign of a fire anywhere. The two men, perplexed, returned to the observatory. They could still see smoke.

At midnight, an unbelievable event occurred. The smoke took on the shape of men, of phantom soldiers converging on the summit, meeting in fierce combat. The odor of cannon fire and gunpowder filled the air. The two men ran back into the house, slammed the door…the battle ended and the soldiers disappeared.

Union forces drove Stuart’s Confederate Calvary from strong positions on Catoctin Mountain on September 13, 1862. The union soldiers drove the confederates from Catoctin Mountain, through Middletown Valley and on to South Mountain, where the Battle of South Mountain began on the morning of September 14. The Confederate’s were severely outnumbered and by evening they were forced to retreat, leaving their dead and wounded among the cornfields and pine tress of South Mountain.

Fifty years after these two men witnessed the phantom battle, two hikers, hiking the Appalachian Trail decided to camp in the field below. They were awakened by what sounded like clashing swords around 11pm. The night air was filled with the same sulfurous odor, the sounds moving closer. After a few minutes, the ghostly soldiers disappeared. Just like before!

Antietam: Crampton's Gap or South Mountain
view of South Mountain (5 miles distant) from Mountville Pass on Catoctin Moutain where Franklin crossed into the Catoctin Valley
<-South North->

Crampton’s Gap
A Proper Disconnection from the South Mountain Battlefield
(First, we must define our terms. – Aristotle)

left to right: Brownsville Pass, Crampton’s Gap, Lamb’s Knoll, South Mountain Battlefield (Fox’s Gap/ Turner’s Gap)
6 miles between Crampton’s Gap and Fox’s Gap; 1 mile between Fox’s Gap and Turner’s Knoll

Jefferson in the foreground

Hope you have a great day!
Thanks for stopping by!!

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Murray Robertson (photography & poems)

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