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Fall 2004
A Publication of the St. Louis Public Library

Vol. 4   No. 3


Help!! provides an opportunity for readers to ask for assistance with genealogical queries. We invite our readers to contribute solutions to questions featured in this section. See the Contact section for e-mail and postal addresses. Put GFH-HELP!! in the subject line.

Q: My fiancÚ owns a house that is believed to be on or near the site of a big Georgia Civil War battle. He has three ghosts that share the property with him. One is a nurse and two are soldiers.

Is there some way I may obtain a map of the battle sites to compare with my fiancÚ's actual address?

gfhsoldier.jpg (13210 bytes)A: Your fiancÚ should see if an atlas of the county exists for the Civil War period. Such maps often name landowners and provide legal descriptions of the property that could help you compare past properties to present-day properties. A county directory may also exist for the period, which would name landowners and give addresses, but probably would not provide a really good map. USGS topographic quadrangle maps will give you a good view of the present-day area. A newspaper from the time of the battle might carry a good map of the battle site, indicating locations of particular farms and regiments. A wounded man probably would have been taken to the nearest temporary hospital.

A big public or university library should own the kinds of atlases, maps, and newspapers I have mentioned. You are close enough to Atlanta that you can probably access such materials. You could also check with the Pickett's Mill Historic Site or other great Georgia Civil War historic sites to see if they have suggestions or reference materials. The staff at Chickamauga National Battlefield Park are friendly and helpful. (Also, have the ghosts revealed to your fiancÚ if they are Rebels or Yankees? That knowledge would greatly reduce the amount of searching!)

I find it a bit odd that the ghost of a nurse inhabits the house. I would think she would need to have died there to haunt the residence. It's possible that she lived in the house at the time of the battle. Local homes and other buildings were often pressed into service as temporary hospitals after big battles. If so, you might be able to find information about her in the 1860 Federal Census of Georgia. She could have served as a nurse to the men, then died of smallpox or some other illness contracted from her charges, or she could have survived the war and died in the house at some point after the war. If she had formed an attachment to one or both of the men, that might explain why she didn't "move on" after her death. It doesn't sound like a love triangle, or I would guess that one of the men wouldn't be so friendly.

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