Just recently (November 2007) I was given a story by two very excited sisters who were visiting the Jennie Wade House. They were spending the day in Gettysburg celebrating the sixty-fifth birthday of the older of the two. They had picked up a carryout lunch on Steinwehr Avenue and since it was such a beautiful day they drove out to the picnic grove on West Confederate Avenue. As they sat facing each other enjoying their meal they commented on just how peaceful it was. There was only one other couple at the far end of the grove and even the birds were enjoying this “Indian Summer” day as they sang away.
Moments later the atmosphere changed as the birds fell silent and a sensation of anxiety swept through the women. The first sister was facing the parking lot while the other faced West toward the trees. As the two sat there staring at each other, the first said she felt a coldness putting pressure on her back, she was too afraid to turn around. The other sister looked past her companion and into the trees and to her amazement, only fifty feet away, there stood a man. Where could he have come from so fast? He was filthy dirty! Not dirty from sweat but dirty from soil. He was practically covered head to toe in dirt. He didn’t have a hat or shoes and what she saw of his clothing he appeared to be wearing a uniform.
Although fear was gripping her body she called to her sister to turn around and look behind her. She turned just in time to see the image being sucked into the earth with such force that the ground seemed to shudder. Fortunately they had just about finished eating and what they hadn’t finished was left on the table as they hurried back to their car.
(Please check next month for the continuation of this story)