Hauntings at Antietam's Bloody Lane
FeatureAuthor: Steven Shaw
In the fall of 1862 more than 23,000 brave men lay bloody and strewn across the battlefield at Antietam. Lasting only one day, it is still the bloodiest single-day in American history.
The battle featured some of the wars most charismatic characters, such as Generals Stonewall Jackson, Lee, Longstreet, Hooker and McClellan. Some of the fiercest fighting took place along the "sunken road" or as it would become known, Bloody Lane. For hours, wave after wave of Union soldiers were mowed down by rebel cannon and musket fire. None fought more valiantly than the 69th New York, or the "Irish Brigade."
The Irish announced their arrival at Bloody Lane through the thick cloud of smoke with a loud drum cadence and roaring battle cries of "Fah-ah-bah-lah," gaelic for "clear the way." The brave men from New York fought in vain to break the Confederate line, ultimately more than 60 percent of the brigade lay littered across the battlefield. The Irish Brigade’s bravery would not be forgotten by history…. and their souls may never forget the events of that September day. When hiking along Bloody Lane on cool mornings, visitors have reported hearing the faint thunder of cannons, smell of gunpowder and the apparitions of bloodied Confederates walking the lane. But nothing is more unnerving than the outcry from the Irish Brigade. While there are numerous reports of hearing their cries of "Fah-ah-bah-lah"… no report is more convincing than that of a group of school children visiting the battlefield. After the tour, the kids were given time to wander around and reflect upon what they'd learned that day. When the teacher asked them to write a short paragraph on their reflections; what she read was frightening… A group of the young kids reported hearing what sounded like a group of men singing the Christmas song Deck the Halls…
"Fah-ah-bah-lah" ... "Fa-la-la-la" ... "Fah-ah-bah-lah"
Perhaps the brave men of the 69th New York are still charging the seemingly unbreakable Confederate lines at the Bloody Lane.