By Chase Anderson
Civil War Savannah’s haunted history echoes down almost every oak-shaded avenue in Savannah’s famed Historic District.
The Civil War experiences of soldiers and civilians in Savannah include some of the city’s most enduring hauntings.
The Eliza Thompson House on Savannah’s quintessential Civil War boulevard – Jones Street – has its share of sightings. Tales tell of Confederate soldiers in an upstairs window and a young girl wearing a white dress in the hallway.
In 1861, Dr. Richard Arnold witnessed several ghosts associated with the Battle of First Manassas. He looked out of his window on State Street and waved at returning Savannah soldiers. He later found out that they died in battle the day before.
The Old City Hotel, now Moon River Brewery, formerly served as a Confederate and Union hospital during the war years. Many soldiers went in as patients and never came back out.
The brilliantly restored 1852 Marshall House on Broughton Street also has eerie and macabre anecdotes.
In 1995, an entire collection of well-placed amputated Union limbs were discovered on the ground under the floor of the hotel. The hotel is one of the most haunted in the South. A ghost of a Union soldier, who is missing an arm, roams up and down the hotel’s hallways. He asks, “Has anyone seen my arm?”
There is the old Candler Hospital which served as a P.O.W. Camp for Union soldiers serving time. Under the Old Candler Oak is an area used by both armies for encampments and drills. Photos captured images of ghost soldiers in and around the deserted hospital, morgue and haunted grounds.
Walk down River Street and then slip behind the old cotton warehouses to Factors Row where tunnels once led underneath the old city – tunnels used for transport of “commodities,” including enslaved Africans – part of Savannah’s tragic history. To this day, the tunnels contain the sights and sounds of a time when cruelty and secrecy buried the truth underground – not part of a dream Savannah vacation package, but a rather significant part of the Savannah story often overlooked by mainstream Savannah tour companies.
Ghosts also haunt Savannah’s secret Civil War-era schools, slave markets and Irish Civil War-era neighborhoods.
The Civil War era is alive and well in Savannah – whether you are a history buff or someone hunting down ghosts in America’s most haunted city. Varieties of Ghost Tours in Savannah include walking and bus tours in the company of Savannah’s most elite tour guides.