Posted on January 15, 2020
The Daniel Lady Farm is covered with history, inside and out. Within the barn and house, doorjambs are etched with the initials of soldiers from the Battle of Gettysburg. Dried blood stains the walls and floors. Cannon ball fragments are lodged in joists to this day. It stands as a ghastly reminder of the horrors faced during 1863.
Soldiers used the vast farmland and everything within to aid in their battles. Furniture was sometimes broken down and used as firewood. Doors were pulled from their hinges to be used as operating tables and stretchers. The Daniel Lady Farm was turned upside down and inside out for the purposes of war.
Construction of the farm began around 1820. Starting out with only the large hearth room, it soon expanded in stages to grow into the large abode that it is today. Completion ended by 1830, from which point Daniel Lady and his wife raised their seven children.
By the time war broke out in 1863, Daniel and his family were forced to evacuate their homestead in order to make way for Confederate forces. This piece of land is just another on the long list of civilian properties taken over by military forces during war time. Used as a hospital and headquarters, this location is somewhat unique in that it treated both Confederate and Union soldiers.
Perhaps this is why the farm ranks so highly among haunted locales; such a variety of soldiers passed through its doors – many never to leave. Some will argue that this is the most haunted location in all of Gettysburg.
Daniel Lady Farm – The Perfect Outpost
Leading up the Battle of Gettysburg, Daniel Lady and his family had heard rumors of the approaching war and were not too keen on the thought of having their beloved farm taken over. Unfortunately for them, that’s exactly what happened.
On Friday, June 26th of 1863, the Lady family was approached by Confederate forces and told they would have to abandon their home in order that Robert Lee’s army could occupy the residency. This date is also significant in that it was also the fifth birthday of John Calvin Lady, the fourth of seven Lady children.
Luck Be a Lady
Colonel Robert E. Lee stopped at the Daniel Lady Farm on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg to gauge the area for their usage. It is from this farmland that General Ewell would devise his plans of attack.
The Daniel Lady Farm played a very important role during the fighting that took place in the Battle of Gettysburg. Lasting only a few days, the farm treated more death and injuries than perhaps any other make-shift hospital in all of Gettysburg.
On July 2nd of 1863, Confederate General Edward Johnson ordered General Ewell to set up shop at the Daniel Lady Farm. Using the massive stone house on the property, the officers planned a Union attack that they had hoped would turn the tide in their favor.
Focusing on Culp’s Hill, Confederate soldiers would attempt to overtake the Union troops who were defending Devil’s Den and its surrounding area. General Longstreet had initiated his own attack on the Union and doing a pretty fine job of pushing them back.
Fighting for Culp’s Hill
For the Confederates to gain control of Culp’s Hill would have meant certain victory in the war. There, the Union’s supply line channeled in, and if overtaken, their rations, ammunition, artillery, and medical supplies would have been lost.
It’s said that Union General George Meade viewed the Daniel Lady Farm Confederates as such a threat that he had planned an attack on the farm as early as the second day of engagement. However, when Confederate forces engaged Union troops near Culp’s Hill, his plan was put on hold.
By bringing in a whopping 5,000 men to Culp’s Hill, the Confederates greatly outnumbered the Union, which had only 1,424 troops for defense. It’s interesting to note that at no other time in the Battle of Gettysburg did the Confederates have such a wide advantage over the Union.
If ever the South had a chance to change the tide, it was now. Well over a million rounds of ammunition were fired that day, with fighting raging on into the early morning hours of July 3rd. A staggering 22,000 Americans engaged in battle as the fate of the country was left hanging in the balance.
A Stunning Defeat
There were so many guns being fired that the men could not see in front of themselves, as the whole hill was covered in smoke. Through this, the Union pressed on, and amazingly, forced the Confederates to retreat back to the Daniel Lady Farm. That single failed attempt had to be the most disheartening in all of the war.
The Confederates so greatly outnumbered the Union that winning Culp’s Hill was thought to be a foregone conclusion. Injured, defeated, and weary, the South returned to the Lady farm. In the barn, medical attention was provided to the troops, while higher ranked officials were treated in the house.
The amount of traffic each building saw on a daily base is dizzying. Some would return to battle after seeking care, but others were so injured that they would later die from their wounds, never to leave.
Hauntings on the Farmland
It’s truly incredible how much of the farm’s history has been preserved over the years. Bloodstains from all of the injuries sustained in the war cover various areas of the farm. Serving as a hospital, the Daniel Lady farm saw from amputations to suturing and death. These deaths directly attribute to the many ghostly sightings recorded over the years.
Confederate soldiers and Generals are said to haunt the very land on which they died. Historical records tell that when the Lady family returned to their homestead following the end of the war, they found the body of a dead Confederate soldier still lying in their upstairs bedroom. Because of this, the upstairs area of the home is believed to see the most paranormal activity.
When forensic teams scoured the land in recent years, cadaver dogs were able to locate unmarked graves of soldiers who were buried after battle. Apparitions of long-dead troops can sometimes be seen wandering the farmland, as if still on patrol.
Forensic research of the farm also verified that the blood and fingerprints found throughout the farm’s buildings was indeed that of soldiers who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. Paranormal investigators believe that General Isaac Ewell and his Confederate troops haunt the farm this very day, still in anguish over letting what should have been an easy victory slip through their fingers.
Aftermath and Conclusion
In 1999, the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association (GBPA) acquired the farm for $400,000. Today, the farm hosts guided tours made available to the public who wish to experience first-hand the events that unfolded over the course of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Special events are held at the farm annually, including camping, reenactments of the war between the North and South, living histories, and even parts of World War II.
During the Christmas season, guests can come to a special “Holiday House Tour & Tasting” that is sponsored by the Inns of the Gettysburg Area.
Great care from the GBPA has been given to the Lady farm over the years. Finely detailed restoration has been put into every facet, ensuring that history is preserved. This serves to enable new generations to explore and learn of the land’s valuable historic relevance and the role it played during the infamous American Civil War.
With this level of respect and care coupled with the lost spirits that continue to wander the Daniel
Lady Farm, its history won’t soon be forgotten.