The ''Legend'' of Jennie Wade has been so twisted and added too, that much of the actual historical facts were lost. There are many versions (and additions) to Her story. Jennie lived in a small Southeast Pennsylvania Hamlet called Gettysburg. Had it not been for The American Civil War, Gettysburg would possibly still be largely unknown to most The World. But History placed two great Armies in it's way and after a bloody 3-day battle in 1863 that costs over 58,000 American lives, Gettysburg would become a shrine of sorts – to both The American Republic and to the young lives needlessly lost in combat. As such a terrific and terrible event, it is no surprise that many stories of The Paranormal are closely associated with Gettysburg. One in particular is part ''Gothic Tragedy'' and part ''Ghost Story''. As always, YOU will have to judge......
Jennie Wade was a 20 year old girl who was born and raised in the sleepy Town of Gettysburg. Not coming from ''money'' (but nor being poor either), Jennie was a mildly attractive ''catch'' and it was no surprise that She would find a handsome beau to become engaged too. Unfortunately, The War came. Her Love did His duty and enlisted in The Union Army. Jennie, saddened – bit Him farewell, vowing to wait for His return. No one had any clue that such an ''out of the way'' Village would serve as the backdrop for not only the turning point of The War, but one of it's most costliest battles.
The massive Confederate (Southern) Army had invaded The North with the goal of capturing Washington DC (at best) – or cause a massive shift in Troop concentrations to deal with such a move. The Federals (Northern) Army was actively searching for them. They would clash by accident on July 1st 1863. The two Armies clashed. Jennie and other Gettysburg Residents with no where to go, all came to the aid of The Federal Army, offering Homes, Barns or whatever they could – to help ''The Boys'' (many hundreds of whom were wounded and dying).
Jennie and Her Sister and Mother decided to bake loaves of bread for passing soldiers. Maybe She would catch a glimpse of Her betrothed, whose Regiment She learned was present. Jennie was in Her kitchen kneading dough when the window in front of Her shattered. She no doubt never even felt the .58 Caliber Round that smashed into Her abdomen – killing Her. But how could such a tragedy happen? History states that most civilian homes and such were ''hit'' by stray and errant shells, shrapnel and bullets. It was one of these that no doubt slew poor Jennie.
But Legends (and Ghost Stories'' need more ''substance''. According to the common tale – the very same bullet had already killed another before Jennie.....namely Her Fiance. It is said that (unknown to both), a stray bullet went thru Him and continued onward – until it found Jennie (by quirky accident). Both Lover's died by the same bullet. Historically though, this may not be quite right. Official records state Jennie's Fiance had already been killed months before, only Jennie had yet to receive word. The bullet hitting Her thru the kitchen window was ''sad enough''. The addition of The Fiance made it excellent propaganda fodder for The North.
Regardless, several wounded Union Soldiers resting inside The Wade House, Jennie's Mother and Sister all came running into the kitchen to find Her dead. Later, during a lull in the battle, the soldiers buried Jennie in the rear yard. Still later (when Her story became known) – Jennie was reburied and give honors befitting a fallen Soldier. She is considered to be the only female civilian casualty of that terrible battle. Fast Forward to the 20th Century...............
Gettysburg would become a major National Monument, visited not only by millions of Americans, but foreign visitors alike. Foreign Military Student Officers are given Tours by US Army Officers of the massive battlefield as well. And (as you can imagine), many come to see The Jennie Wade House (fully resorted). But since 1965, MANY going into the small residence ALL state that there is a ''strong presence felt''. So strong in fact, most accept it as The Ghost of Jennie Wade. A small collection of items in the kitchen (placed by Park Employees to aid realism), are always found ''moved around'' – as if to say ''Jennie did not appreciate people mucking around Her kitchen''.
But the most intriguing is a tale from the 1970s and a Family visiting the battlefield. A Mother and Father noted that their Son was not paying attention to the pending picture (taken in front of The Wade House), His Father was trying to take. When asked why, the boy responded that He was ''looking at the Lady in the window, She looks very sad''. At first, The Family though it may have been a Female Park Employee or ''Living Historian'' that wanders thru The Park answering Visitor questions. Unfortunately, no such Employee was tasked to ''play'' Jennie. Could the little boy have seen Jennie, still staring from Her kitchen window – waiting for Her Love to return?