← Back to Blog

George Washington’s Ghost Saved the Union

George Washington on Horseback c753d58f2d1fffeecec68f2338c71ca7

During the desperate days of early July 1863 during the Civil War George Washington’s Ghost came to the rescue of the union.

The ghost of American president and Founding Father George Washington came to the rescue of a group of Union soldiers waging a battle against 1863 draft rioters during the Civil War on Broadway and Duane Street.  Dressed in the uniform of the American Revolution, the man was Washington, who then issued the command, “Fix bayonets! Charge!”  The Union soldiers charged down the hill, forced the rioters into a full retreat…

Remembrance.

When an officer was interviewed years later about the story of the ghost of George Washington, the old soldier replied cautiously: “Yes, that report circulated through our lines, and I have no doubt that it inspired the men Doubtless it was a superstition.”  Then he paused and added, “Who among us can say that such a thing was impossible?  We have not yet sounded or explained the immortal life that lies out beyond our earthly plane. We do not know what mystic power may be possessed by those who are now bivouacking with the dead. I only know the effect, but I dare not explain or deny the cause. I do believe that we were enveloped by the powers of the other world that day and who shall say Washington was not among the number of those who aided the country he founded?”

Perhaps a day apart, George Washington appeared before the 20th Maine Division as they approached Gettysburg.  As they approached a fork in the road, they were unsure which direction to take?  Suddenly a very tall, imposing figure wearing a tri-cornered hat on horseback that waved them in the right direction and commanded them to follow him.

“Did you know that George Washington is credited by some as helping the Union Army in one of its most decisive engagements at Gettysburg? Wait a minute… George Washington? He was a general during the Revolutionary War and died in 1799, well before the Civil War. Yet Washington – or rather his ghost – is said to have appeared to the 20th Maine Division as they approached Gettysburg. At first, they thought he was a Union general but they began to scratch their heads that he looked remarkably like George Washington. The horseman led the Union soldiers to Little Round Top where they were able to repel the Confederates.

As rumors of a ghostly presence of the Founding Father of the country, Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin Stanton investigated.   Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, the division commander, testified, “We know not what mystic power may be possessed by those who are now bivouacking with the dead. I only know the effect, but I dare not explain or deny the cause. Who shall say that Washington was not among the number of those who aided the country that he founded…”

Although George Washington died in 1799, his spirit continued to serve his country during one of its darkest moments when it was at war with itself.