The Battle of Fredericksburg, fought December 11-15, 1862, was one of the largest and deadliest of the Civil War. It featured the first major opposed river crossing in American military history. Union and Confederate troops fought in the streets of Fredericksburg, the Civil War’s first urban combat. And with nearly 200,000 combatants, no other Civil War battle featured a larger concentration of soldiers.
Burnside’s plan at Fredericksburg was to use the nearly 60,000 men in Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin’s Left Grand Division to crush Lee’s southern flank on Prospect Hill while the rest of his army held Longstreet and the Confederate First Corps in position at Marye’s Heights.
The Union army’s main assault against Stonewall Jackson produced initial success and held the promise of destroying the Confederate right, but lack of reinforcements and Jackson’s powerful counterattack stymied the effort. Both sides suffered heavy losses (totaling 9,000 in killed, wounded and missing) with no real change in the strategic situation.
In the meantime, Burnside’s “diversion” against veteran Confederate soldiers behind a stone wall produced a similar number of casualties but most of these were suffered by the Union troops. Wave after wave of Federal soldiers marched forth to take the heights, but each was met with devastating rifle and artillery fire from the nearly impregnable Confederate positions. Confederate artillerist Edward Porter Alexander’s earlier claim that “a chicken could not live on that field” proved to be entirely prophetic this bloody day.
As darkness fell on a battlefield strewn with dead and wounded, it was abundantly clear that a signal Confederate victory was at hand. The Army of the Potomac had suffered nearly 13,300 casualties, nearly two-thirds of them in front of Mayre’s Heights. By comparison, Lee’s army had suffered some 4,500 losses. Robert E. Lee, watching the great Confederate victory unfolding from his hilltop command post exclaimed, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.”
Roughly six weeks after the Battle of Fredericksburg, President Lincoln removed Burnside from command of the Army of the Potomac.
Hauntings: Both the Innis House and Salem Church are considered to be haunted. Innis House was used as a Field Hospital during the battle of Fredericksburg so many injured and dieing were brought into this building. Many amputations took place a number of soldiers died within these walls. Is it no wonder that it is considered to be so very haunted even today? The house is a stone's throw from the top of Mayre's Heights where the Stone Wall was and where so many Union soldiers lost their lives.
At Salem Church, near the start of the battle, I got extremely high EMF readings in one particular window of the church but when I went back later to check on those readings, they had completely disappeared.
Investigation April 22nd, 2006.
Heights (Innis House)
Equipment Used: 35mm Camera
Upon arriving at Marye=s Heights the rain started to
pick-up and continued for most of this investigation. Walking from the parking
lot down the Sunken Road was a real treat for me since I never been to this
battlefield. As I walked down the road I was in awe of how the Confederates
were perched high upon this ridge looking down at the approaching Union
The ridge was nice and high
and for sure one could see anyone approaching their position. The Sunken Road
at the bottom of the ridge provided a good front line since soldiers could pop
up and shoot and still have some protection from the wall. This decision to
approach the ridge was a death sentence to anyone, since you couldn’t see
over the Sunken Road wall and yet those who were on the ridge could see you approaching.
The Innis house is located
My feeling as I entered
Innis house was peaceful, yet I was cautious of knowing how previous
investigators were patted on their rear or had there bottom pant legs tugged
upon by an unseen force. I walked into the first room and was shown the bullet
holes in the walls and how you could still see mini-balls in the ceiling
rafters. I didn=t get any feeling in this first
room at all.
The kitchen area was real
dark and gloomy and I could sense a feeling that you=re
not really alone in here. It was a feeling of not peaceful but maybe because
of how dark the room is so confined. I didn’t get any activity in that room.
The upstairs rooms were
unique in such that are so small. The rail for the staircase was so short it
barely came up to my knee. I did get a slight feeling of lightheadedness but
it went away fast. Patrick our guide for the night told us people get dizzy up
here and should sit down immediately for a few minutes. I didn=t get that much of that feeling so
I was ok for now.
My group I was in rotated
out of the house to allow the other groups to investigate. We chose to walk up
the heights to see the view. I didn=t
get any feelings as we walked or as we were in the cemetery. It was just
amazing on how you looked down at the
I thought of the game King of the Hill as I stood
looking down from the heights. The Confederates sure had an advantage up here.
Now after walking around up
on the heights my group went back into the Innis House for the final time.
Patrick asked me who was in the house; I believed it was Dale, Laine, Mike (GhostMag),
and I. Laine went outside as I was walking in with Patrick so that left Dale
on the first floor, and Mike up on the second floor. We did hear Mike walking
around for a few seconds upstairs. Patrick, Dale and I were wrapping up things
on the first floor and were calling it quits for the night.
Patrick and I were talking about the investigation and asked to let Mike know upstairs we were wrapping it up. Patrick was next to me near the staircase and I yelled up AMike, you still up there@. Immediately, we got the response AYes@ from who we believed was Mike. Now the stairs coming down are so creaky that we would have heard Mike walking down and he sure of would have said something to us as we were packing up.
Patrick and I said we didn=t hear Mike come down so we went
up to let him know we were leaving. He wasn=t
there at all. Patrick went downstairs and looked outside and saw Mike a distance
away from the building. Apparently, Mike was already outside before we even
called up to him. Who was that who answered us from upstairs?
Patrick returned and told
Dale and I that Mike is outside. We all stood around wondering what the heck had
happened to us. Patrick went into the far room upstairs and was looking around
so we started taking pictures and shooting video. I fired off a few pictures in
a corner because Patrick was sensing a presence up in the corner.
Dale and I were standing in the doorway when all of a sudden we felt a
cool breeze pass between us. We finished up looking around, went back
downstairs, and called it a night.
My overall feeling of the
house is that the kitchen area needs to be investigated because of that uneasy
feeling in there. The second floor, far room with the fireplace, has some sort
of paranormal activity. Who answered us when we called upstairs AMike, you still up there@? Were the footsteps we heard not
really Mike walking around up there when we started packing it up.
The cool breeze Dale and I felt in the doorway where did that come from? The Innis House truly has some activity and needs to be further investigated.
The Ghost Research Society investigated Fredericksburg Battlefield on April 21 & 22, 2006. Team members included: Jim Graczyk and Dale Kaczmarek with help from Patrick Burke.
A video after Patrick, Jim and I had heard the disembodied voice respond from upstairs. After no one came down, we decided to go up to get Mike; he wasn't there. In fact, nobody was upstairs at the time. In the video you will hear us talk about what just happened with the disembodied voice, strange light anomaly on my Nightshot camera, the camera going in and out of focus and that cool breeze that blew past all of us.
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
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