J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the month “October, 2016”

The Notorious Point Lookout

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Although it isn’t a battlefield, one of the most haunted places in America related to the Civil War is Point Lookout in Maryland. Point Lookout was a notorious Confederate prison camp during the war. At one time, over 50,000 men were held captive, which was far more than what the prison was designed to hold. Because of overcrowding, over 3,000 men died due to the horrific living conditions. They were buried in the swampy marsh of Chesapeake Bay.

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The place where the prison once stood is now a national park and historic site, and the men who died at Point Lookout are remembered in a war memorial cemetery, which is actually a mass grave. Not surprisingly, many strange things have occurred on this haunted and hallowed ground. Visitors have reported a multitude of paranormal phenomena, including ghostly figures of soldiers seen running from the location of where a smallpox hospital once stood, which was a regular escape route for prisoners. A slender man has often been seen loping across the road into groves of pine trees.

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Rangers have described how frequent, low lying, damp fog would suddenly become impenetrable and chilling. The sudden change in atmosphere sent their dogs into a panic. Recorded devices have picked up strange snippets of conversation at all hours of the night. Some of the phrases heard included a man say, “Fire if they get too close to you.” A woman’s voice was heard saying, “Let us take no objection to what they are doing,” and a child’s voice asked to play in the water.

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Point Lookout’s lighthouse has experienced the most activity. Former park ranger Gerald Sword said his Belgian Shepherd regularly lunged at unseen figures. Once, Ranger Sword saw a young man in a sailor’s uniform enter the lighthouse and then disappear into thin air. Voices and piano music frequently float through the lighthouse halls, and fishermen have often told him they’ve heard phantom cries for help coming from the water.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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The Haunting of the Perryville Battlefield

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Most people wouldn’t think of Perryville, Kentucky as being one of the most haunted places in the country. But on October 8, 1862, a terrible tragedy took place there that forever left an imprint on the land. Union and Confederate troops clashed for several hours, leaving approximately 7,600 young soldiers either, wounded, dead, or missing. The nearby Chaplin River ran red with blood from the fallen. The battle decided the fate of the state, and although the battle was a tactical victory for the Confederates, the Union army received enough reinforcements to force Confederate General Braxton Bragg back into Tennessee. His army would never again enter Kentucky. Because of this, the Federals had the opportunity to properly bury their dead. The Confederates, however, were unceremoniously thrown into mass graves and haphazardly left in unmarked plots on the battlefield.

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(Photo courtesy of Steve Stanely)

It isn’t surprising, then, that countless visitors to the battlefield have witnesses ghostly figures wandering the grassy fields, sometimes in broad daylight. Many reported seeing full-bodied apparitions marching across the fields, and have heard the deep percussion of heavy artillery and cannon fire echoing across the rolling hills. Disembodied voices have been captured on audio, responding to questions with intelligent responses that were indicative of 1862.

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Not only is the battlefield haunted, but so is the nearby Dye House, which served as a makeshift hospital after the battle. The structure witnessed hundreds of emergency surgeries, amputations, and painful, gruesome deaths. So much blood was spilled on the floors that, to this day, has been impossible to remove.  People have heard footsteps descend the stairs, and doors open and close by themselves. Recordings have been made where ghostly voices claim to be Civil War doctors.

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Joni House, the park’s preservation and program coordinator, has also witnessed strange occurrences. “I’m in my office and I hear people talking to me and nobody else is in the building. Or I come in here and see things that have happened in the museum. There’s no real explanation for why a mannequin’s head has been pulled off and is now in the middle of the floor.”

(The Perryville Battlefield was one of the Civil War Trust’s 10 most endangered battlefields in 2008.)

Stay tuned: on Halloween – It isn’t a battlefield but it’s still very scary.

“Wherever there has been great suffering, people are always seeing strange things.”

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(Ghostly apparitions on the Chickamauga battlefield. Photo courtesy of Danial Druey.)

The Battle of Chickamauga was a costly one. On September 19 – 20, 1863, approximately 35,000 men were killed, wounded, or missing. It was considered a Confederate victory because the Rebels halted the Federal advance. Chickamauga, meaning “River of Death” in Cherokee, lived up to its name. Not surprisingly, the site of the battle in Georgia is reportedly haunted.

In 1876, thirteen years after the battle, ex-Confederate Jim Carlock participated in a centennial celebration. While walking across the battlefield, he and his friends saw something ten feet high with a “big white head.” He said the entity appeared to be a black woman carrying a bundle of clothes on her head.

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Edward Tinney, former historian and chief ranger at Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park from 1969 to 1986, said ghostly sightings are not uncommon. The most famous phantom is known as “Old Green Eyes.” This ghost takes on many different shapes, including a Confederate soldier and a green-eyed panther. Old Green Eyes was spotted soon after the battle ended when surviving soldiers saw the strange specter.

“Green Eyes is rumored to be a man who lost his head to a cannonball, frantically searching the battlefield at night for his dislocated body,” Tinney said.

According to legend, the ghost of Old Green Eyes existed years before the battle took place, possibly during the time that Native Americans lived on the land.

One night in 1976, Tinney was on the battlefield checking on camping reenactors. A man over 6 feet tall, wearing a long black duster, with stringy black, waist-length hair, walked toward him. Intimidated, Tinney crossed to the other side of the road. The man reached him and flashed a devilish grin. His dark eyes glistened. Just then, a car came down the road and the scary apparition vanished.

Another ghost appears in the form of a lady in a white wedding dress. Known as the “Lady in White,” the ghost is supposedly searching for her lover. Many visitors have reported hearing gunshots and hoof beats, or smelling the strong scent of alcohol. Reports of ghostly encounters and paranormal activities number in the hundreds.

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(Ghost horse behind reenactor. Photo courtesy of Rick Kanan.)

Several years ago, David Lester was camping on the battlefield with several other reenactors. Some of his comrades wandered over to a neighboring camp to say hello to the soldiers. They talked for several hours before returning to their camp. In the morning, they returned to the camp, only to discover that there was no sign of a campfire or any trace of human occupation. There was only undisturbed land.

(Headline quote courtesy of Edward Tinney.)

(Next up: Battle of Perryville)

Haunted Battlefields: Part II, Antietam

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The bloodiest day in American history began on September 17, 1862 at Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, Maryland. Union and Confederate troops clashed with a series of attacks and counterattacks. Toward the center of the battlefield, Union assaults against the Sunken Road pierced through the Confederate line. Later, the third and final assault came from the Union army as they pushed over a bullet-strewn stone bridge spanning Antietam Creek. Just as the Confederates began to collapse, reinforcements arrived and drove the Federals back across the bridge, which later became known as Burnside Bridge. The battle ended in a draw, but President Abraham Lincoln decided it was enough of a “victory” to support his Emancipation Proclamation. More than 23,000 men were killed, wounded, or MIA. The road near Antietam Creek came to be known as Bloody Lane, and the creek flowed red with blood.

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Not surprisingly, the Antietam battlefield is reportedly one of the most haunted places in the country. Visitors have heard gunfire and smelled gunpowder near the Bloody Lane when it was completely deserted, and many have seen ghostly apparitions in that area. Confederate soldiers approached them on the lane only to disappear into thin air. Burnside’s Bridge and St. Paul Episcopal Church, which was used as a Confederate hospital following the battle, are also haunted. According to local legend, the floorboards of the church are so bloodstained that not even sandpaper can take the stains out.

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The sound of singing can sometimes be heard echoing across the eerily quiet battlefield. The tune sounds like “Deck the Halls.” During the battle, some Irish-American Confederates used a Gaelic hymn as their battle cry. The hymn sounded very similar to the Christmas melody.

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(Next up: Chickamauga)

Haunted Battlefields: Part I, Gettysburg

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In the spirit of Halloween, I will be posting the next few articles about hauntings related to the Civil War. The number of haunted places and things associated with the War Between the States is virtually limitless. New reports of strange occurrences surface nearly every day, and each story is more fascinating and creepy than the last.

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It goes without saying that the most haunted place in America associated with the Civil War is Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This small, sleepy town suddenly found itself in the crossfires on July 1, 1863. The battle would last three days and claim over 50,000 lives (including dead, wounded, and missing). The tragedy left a lasting imprint on the land. Over 150 years later, ghostly apparitions still dwell on the battlefield and nearby town.

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The Farnsworth House is reportedly one of the most haunted places in Gettysburg. The house was riddled with bullets during the battle, and the scars still exist outside the building’s facade. Tourists say they have seen a specter of a distressed man carrying a child in a quilt, as well as the ghost of a fallen Confederate sharpshooter. Outside of town, the Daniel Lady Farm, which served as a Confederate field hospital where over 10,000 Confederate soldiers lost their lives, is host to numerous hauntings.

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At the Cashtown Inn, the first soldier of the battle was killed. The owners claim to have photographic evidence of spirits floating around the premises. Guests have witnessed someone knocking on doors, lights turning off and on, and doors locking and unlocking by themselves.  The Gettysburg Hotel and the Baladerry Inn are also reportedly haunted.

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Gettysburg visitors have reported hearing the sound of whirring bullets and the screams of fallen horses and soldiers. Some have had direct encounters with the deceased.  Devil’s Den is one of the most haunted places on the battlefield. So is the Triangular Field and Sachs Bridge. Visitors have captured apparitions on camera. In one instance, a long-haired young man told a tourist, “What you are looking for is over there.” The ghost then quickly vanished.

(Next up: Antietam)

Don’t Take It Out On Ole Jeff Davis

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The wave of political correctness has been eroding this country for over a year now, and there isn’t much in the way of goodness or prosperity  to show for it. I, for one, am getting tired of reading about how diversity should take precedence over tradition. A fragment of the population has deemed certain things of historical and American value to suddenly be offensive. I, for one, am offended! The following article is yet another example of how the PC police are going crazy. It has to stop, or everything will be targeted for annihilation.

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UNIVERSITY SUBTLY REMOVES MONUMENT
An 85-year-old monument to Confederate president Jefferson Davis on the Texas State University campus vanished without a peep last week.
Following a year of outcry from students, professors and community groups, the granite memorial along one of San Marcos’ busiest roads was quietly uprooted on Friday and moved to a site seven miles away in Hunter, on land donated to the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Texas State spokesman Jayme Blaschke told reporters that although the monument sat on campus property, it technically never belonged to the University.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy installed the roadside marker almost 90 years ago on federal land, as part of the proposed transcontinental Jefferson Davis Highway. The University later acquired the land, but the Texas Department of Transportation maintained the right-of-way where the marker was situated. For that reason, Blaschke said that an official announcement was unnecessary.
“It is not an appropriate monument for a modern Texas university,” Blaschke said.
Kathy Hillman, Texas division president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy tells us that, “The university paid for everything: removing it, cleaning it of graffiti, moving it to Hunter and setting it there,” she said, calling it a “very good” collaboration.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy installed the monument with great fanfare in 1931. Efforts to purge the Confederate monument from campus gained traction last September when the faculty senate passed a resolution in favor of removal. After the faculty vote, Texas State sent a letter to the Texas Department of Transportation to officially request its removal.
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The removal of the Davis monument from campus is now fueling an already vigorous black student organizing of protests at Texas State. On Saturday, around 125 students engaged in a sit-in during the national anthem at the school’s football game – their fists in the air.
The same group that initiated the student government proposal to remove the Davis monument is using this “victory” to force the University to create a “Black Studies” program this fall and they are also demanding the Honors College to designate a no-whites allowed “multicultural lounge.”
(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, Oct. 7, 2016 ed.)

Life Gets in the Way

 

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It seems my life as an author has been dealt more challenges than most. The latest episode was having to move the week after my new novel, A Rebel Among Us, was published. It wasn’t a simple move, either. My husband and I left South Dakota to return to our beloved Colorado, and we are so happy we did.

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This move has postponed my marketing efforts to a degree, but still, good things keep happening. Just last week, I received a five-star review, and today, I got my first royalty check!

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To me, persistence is the key. Although this big transition has slowed me down temporarily, I am still writing and formulating decisive efforts in order to get my book out there. Please feel free to contact me about my move, my novel, or just writing in general. I’m looking for reviews, so if you’re interested, let me know! Thanks again for your continued support.

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https://www.amazon.com/Rebel-Among-Us-J-D-R-Hawkins/dp/1537167871/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476224050&sr=8-1&keywords=a+rebel+among+us

New Reviews!

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My new novel, A Rebel Among Us, was just released two weeks ago, and it already has two reviews on Amazon! I’m so excited with the reception it is receiving already. Here is one of the reviews:

Great time period read!

I felt the author captured a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ effect during a very trying time in our nation’s history. I fell in love with the secret romance and dangers that it could potentially bring! I felt the geographic history was well researched and proper dedications were made. I enjoyed it greatly.
I need more reviews, so please post them! And don’t be shy about posting five-star reviews. I appreciate all the help I can get! Thanks, everyone, for your continued support.

Farewell to Freedom?

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After watching the vice-presidential debate this evening, I feel it is more important than ever that we vote to defend our rights. Since 911, it seems the government has persistently whittled away at our freedoms. I understand going to extreme measures in order to secure our safety, but the recent attacks on freedom of speech and expression definitely surpass these measures. The following article about a game that took place a couple of weeks ago between Ole Miss and Alabama shows just how dangerous this political correctness is becoming.

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BREAKING: “Police Confiscate Flags, ‘Dixie’ signs at game. Threaten Arrest.” University of Mississippi – 9/17/2016

“Students attending the Ole Miss v. Alabama football game this Saturday at the University of Mississippi reported police confiscating Mississippi State flags and ‘Let the Band Play Dixie’ posters within Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium. University Police Officers were quoted by students as saying they were, ‘ordered to take all state flags and [‘Let the Band Play Dixie’] posters,’ that their orders came, ‘from the top,’ and that they would use their, ‘right to arrest,’ those who did not comply. United States flags and non-Mississippi State flag or Dixie related posters were not confiscated.
Our friends at the “Our State Flag Foundation” report that while they have no clue who organized the giant flag unveiling, it has led to a HUGE spike in on-campus membership, which has been steadily growing in the weeks since they were admitted as an official student group and were allowed to set up a table at the Student Union.
In addition, students are starting to speak out, with TWO excellent letters published recently in the DAILY MISSISSIPPI:
“Today at the game, my younger brother had a (Mississippi State) flag in his pocket walking in. A woman saw it, asked him if it was an American flag, then made him unravel it and took it when she saw it was a state flag. That’s absolutely ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as the fact that we have to smuggle the state flag into home games. Welcome to the dream school of Jeff Vitter , the University of Nowhere.” ~ Jack Vincent
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(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, 9/30/16 ed.)

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