Gettysburg is known the world over for its ghostly activity and involvement in the American Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg is widely accepted as the most brutal and bloodiest of any infighting to take place on American soil. Cashtown Inn is considered one of the most haunted locations within the Gettysburg city limits — but why? What happened at this quaint inn back in the day to cause such hauntings today?
With a death toll reaching around 50,000 troops, it’s easy to see why such a large number of ghost encounters take place in Gettysburg every year. Numerous homes and businesses claim to be inhabited by ghosts, some friendly some malevolent — Cashtown Inn is one of them.
To experience the haunts of Gettysburg for yourself, book you and yours a hauntingly fun and historically accurate Gettysburg ghost tour!
What’s In A Name?
The Cashtown Inn was built in 1797. The inn’s first keeper was a gentleman by the name of Peter Marck. By 1815, Marck had acquired his very own tavern license and soon began offering room and board out of his quaint inn. Marck had a policy of only accepting cash from his patrons and soon, word spread, and the inn became known as Cashtown. The name stuck. Cashtown Inn served as the first stagecoach stop west of Gettysburg along the newly constructed Chambersburg Turnpike.
Like many other businesses that operated during the Civil War, the Cashtown Inn was taken over by Confederate officers and used as a General’s headquarters. Once the Civil War arrived on Gettysburg’s doorstep, each and every establishment was fair game for Confederate forces to occupy for their needs.
During the Gettysburg Campaign in the summer of 1863, Confederate troops began marching the streets of Cashtown and the surrounding areas. Cashtown Inn’s new innkeeper, Jacob Mickley, witnessed the incoming military unit, saying, “The entire force under Lee passed within twenty feet of my barroom.”
Filling the roadways were the Confederate soldiers of Lieutenant General A.P. Hill, flying their red banners and armed with swords and bayonets. Soon, Mickley found the inn crawling with Southern forces.
This marked the second time in less than a year that Cashtown would be invaded by Rebels. Just a few months prior in 1862, the Confederate cavalry had occupied Cashtown under the command of Major General James Stuart.
Cashtown was strategically located directly in Lee’s supply line to Virginia, which served to be advantageous for Confederate forces. Soon, quaint Cashtown was overrun with legions of Rebels, and Mickley found himself serving many an unwanted guest.
Invaders of the Cashtown Inn
As one of the oldest taverns in the area, Cashtown prided itself on welcoming strangers with open arms. But soon, the inn was filled to the rafters with people who Mickley couldn’t agree with. Of these invaders were Confederate generals like A.P. Hill, John Imboden, and Henry Heth.
The inn had gained a reputation for having facilities for daily bathing, comfortable beds, and a peaceful neighborhood. From here, General Hill could better plan Union attacks while taking advantage of the luxuries that Cashtown had to offer.
Also helpful to the soldiers was the inn’s two large firebrick ovens down in its cellar. The Confederates would bake massive amounts of bread daily, providing a seemingly endless supply of food for their troops.
Almost overnight, Cashtown saw itself transformed into an army camp, with only a mere eight miles separating the inn from the war. Military activity was heavy because of this, and a simple errand caused the battle to come to Cashtown. General Hill had sent General Heth’s division to Gettysburg to get shoes and supplies.
But his men were attacked while en route, revealing where they were stationed. Colonel Lee had positioned hundreds of supply wagons, cannons, and carriages at Cashtown. Now, they were ripe for the picking. With injuries well into the hundreds, Lee quickly used any transportation he had to take his wounded men back to Virginia.
Not long after, General Imboden ordered all remaining soldiers and equipment out of Cashtown and to Virginia. Once the last of Imboden’s troops retreated, peace finally returned to Cashtown.
During the Confederate’s time at the inn, injuries and deaths reached into the thousands. Gunfire, fighting, surgeries, amputations, and everything in between permeated little Cashtown Inn.
While the upper portion of the inn was used for planning Union attacks, its basement was utilized to become a make-shift field hospital. Many wounded soldiers would enter to seek medical treatment, with some never returning to battle.
It is from the many amputations performed here that the Cashtown Inn gets its haunted lore. Severed limbs were said to be so abundant that they piled high enough to cover the basement’s windows, blocking even sunlight from entering.
Gettysburg’s Most Haunted Inn
In recent years, Cashtown Inn has garnered national attention thanks to its appearances on popular ghost investigation shows as well as podcasts and radio shows. The inn was even featured on the silver screen in the movie ‘Gettysburg,’ starring Sam Elliott, who even stayed at the inn during filming.
The current owner of the Cashtown Inn claims to have evidence of the ghosts that reside at the inn, with heaps of photos that appear to show entities at play in the form of mists and orbs.
Guests who stay at the inn often complain of loud bangs on their doors, their lights turning on and off without explanation, and even their doors locking and unlocking all on their own — seemingly.
The most bizarre of these encounters, however, is that guests sometimes return to their rooms to find their luggage all packed up neatly, ready to go.
One couple who stayed at the inn reported footsteps in their room along with terrifying, incessant knocking on their door all night. Once the knocking stopped, they heard footsteps come up to the edge of the bed. A few moments of silence passed, and then their bed began to shake and compress as if someone sat down on the edge of the bed.
The couple could do nothing but lay perfectly still in fear, and they watched in horror as the mattress started to ripple — almost like a pebble being dropped in a stream.
Ghostly apparitions are most commonly reported around the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of July, right when the Battle of Gettysburg hit.
Check It Out
In recent decades, Cashtown Inn sadly began to deteriorate after nearly 200 years of operation. Not helping matters, a major bypass was constructed that caused Cashtown to nearly be forgotten, as it was easily overlooked by tourists passing through.
Falling further into disrepair, the Cashtown Inn was even at one time considered for use as low-income apartments. Thankfully, former owners Charles and Carolyn Buckley restored the inn to its previous splendor, and a resurgence in ghost investigating has put Cashtown back on the map.
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