Most of us are familiar with Bigfoot, a huge hairy half-man, half-animal creature that is tremendously strong and leaves gigantic footprints. Most Bigfoot sightings are in the Pacific Northwest but recently he’s been seen on T.V. commercials advertising beef jerky. Yet beside all this did you know Bigfoot sightings took place during the Civil War? Yes you read that right, Bigfoot was seen during the Civil War. With tongue in cheek let me explain.
Some of the very earliest and most frequent sightings of Bigfoot were recorded in the south, especially Arkansas. Referred to as the “Wild Man of the Woods” many 1840s newspaper accounts document several sightings of Bigfoot as he roamed that region of the south. Reported as a huge animal that looked kind of like a human, he was very tall in stature, body covered with hair and his head sporting long locks of hair that hung passed his neck and shoulders. The creature could move swiftly, had incredibly quick reflexes and ran with tremendous speed. His strides were more like leaps of 12 to 14 feet at a time leaving footprints that each measured well over 13 inches. This wild man preyed on young calves and goats. He’d grab them up and tucking them under his arm he’d bound away. Leaving all who saw glimpses of the creature so shocked, so surprised they were dumbstruck.
But what about the Civil War you ask? There are accounts of a similar beast making appearances throughout the war.
One such incident was described in a letter by Pvt. James More of Co. K 67th Pennsylvania Infantry. Pvt. Moore was on guard duty in Harpers Ferry on February 26, 1863. In a letter sent to his wife Ida, living in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, More wrote:
” … Ramsey and myself were charged to guard company accoutrements along the railway. Very cold still night…
…the boys started raising a ruckus from the garrison. Some were yelling aloud, that a man- beast was on foot. There was rifle fire towards the river. We continued our duty as the yelling and shots continued…
… the Corporal queried the witnesses from the Company. I was told that the devil raided the food stores after climbing the wall…
… it was covered in thick layers of dark hair…
… maybe 8 foot from head to toe.”
There is also a report of a young soldier returning home from the Civil War in very poor health to Washington County, Virginia. He never recovered from the illness he contracted during the war and after lingering for a few years finally died. Knowing his time was short, the young soldier had told his family he wanted to be buried near their home, on a mountain where he had hunted before the war. Now this same area had several Bigfoot sightings in the past.
It was only a few days after the burial that the young man’s father went to his son’s grave to build a fence around it. When he got to the burial site the father found his son’s body had been dug up and the flesh stripped away, down to the bone. The father was well aware of the Bigfoot sightings and immediately knew his son’s body had been decimated by the monster.
There were stories of a 7 to 9 foot tall creature, part beast, part man that roamed the area snatching livestock from farms. Usually only seen at dusk or nightfall it grabbed anything from goats, to chickens, to horses with many half eaten carcasses left for farmers to find the next morning. The monster man had big footprints over 20 inches long, his body covered in white or light gray hair, and for those unfortunate ones who were within close range, it had a terrible odor.
The soldier’s father and several men from the community searched the area for days. Many thought the creature lived in a well concealed cave on the mountain. Yet they could never find Bigfoot. They were never able to deliver justice for the young soldier’s decimated body.
Probably the strongest Bigfoot report comes from the Chickamauga battlefield due to the number of people who witnesses him. As daylight edged away on September 20, 1863 near Snodgrass Hill, dozens of wounded soldiers were laying on the battlefield waiting for medical help. Some locals, women and farmers had ventured out to give what assistance they could to these injured men.
Both civilians and wounded soldiers described their fear as a human-like, ape-like creature stepped out of the woods at dusk. It was very tall, covered from head to toe with light colored hair, it had visible fangs that jutted from its lower jaw and glowing greenish-orangish eyes. It was the eerie color of the beast’s eyes all witnesses stressed when retelling the experience. From soldier to civilian, each froze in place at the sight of the creature. It seems after viewing the carnage of the recently ended battle Bigfoot slipped back in the woods from where he came. His only deed that day was to frighten the scores of people who looked on him in horror just moments after living through one of the Civil War’s bloody battles.
So there you have it. There were Bigfoot sightings from Harpers Ferry to the deep south during the Civil War. Documented evidence that this elusive half-man, half-animal is not a modern day phenomenon but as old as the hills themselves. This wild man did make appearances during the greatest struggle in our country’s history. Thankfully he didn’t enlist on either side. Who could come up with a uniform that size!!