If you’re into the “spirit world,” there is a haunted bridge in Gettysburg PA that should be on your bucket list for 2023.
The Sachs Covered Bridge Gettysburg is considered one of the most haunted bridges in the United States—and you’ll see why when you read this post.
Hint: Troops from both the North and the South used this covered bridge during the Civil War and some have apparently lingered to haunt this covered bridge in Gettysburg for eternity.
Ghosts of Gettysburg Linger At Haunted Bridge
With more than 50,000 casualties during the three-day Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, it’s not hard to see why there would still be spirits remaining on the battlefield and in the houses, churches, barns and stores that were once used as field hospitals.
If you’re brave enough, you might even book a room at the Cashtown Inn.
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A look at the interior lattice design of the Sachs Covered Bridge in Gettysburg. The bottom left is my dog Sophie — not a ghost.
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Need a place to stay in Gettysburg? Check out these haunted hotels!
Sachs Covered Bridge History
Built in 1854, the Sachs covered bridge spans Marsh Creek just south of Gettysburg.
What is now often referred to as the “haunted bridge in Gettysburg” is 100 feet long and 15 feet wide.
It’s amazing to explore the interior construction design, known as Town Lattice Truss. (Named after its designer Ithiel Town).
As you can see from the picture, the wooden beams are crisscrossed to form a lattice which gives the bridge its structural integrity when being crossed by wagons or horses.
Looking for a place to stay? I recommend this Downtown Gettysburg Haunted Hotel.
The unique craftsmanship and engineering of the covered bridge reportedly came at a price of $1,544 in 1854. (Imagine that!)
Sachs Bridge Gettysburg received the designation of “Pennsylvania’s Most Historic Covered Bridge” in 1938.
The haunted Gettysburg bridge was closed to vehicles in 1968 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Unfortunately, on June 19, 1996, a flash flood swept through the Sachs Bridge after a strong thunderstorm that dumped more than 10 inches of rain in a few hours. The resulting flood water knocked the bridge from one of its abutments.
This occurred at the same time a $500,000 restoration was in progress. An additional $100,000 was raised to repair the flood damage, and the Gettysburg covered bridge was rededicated on July 21, 1997.
The Ghosts Behind The Haunted Bridge In Gettysburg
So everyone always asks me, “Is Sachs Covered Bridge in Gettysburg really haunted?”
You might want to hear the answer from the people who have visited this haunted bridge in Gettysburg. There are literally thousands of accounts of supernatural activity at Sachs Bridge.
The reasons behind the haunted bridge in Gettysburg are numerous. First of all, the covered bridge played a key role during the Civil War.
Union forces crossed Sachs Covered Bridge (also called Sauck’s Covered Bridge) on July 1, 1863 as they headed toward Gettysburg.
After the Confederate loss on July 3rd General Lee called for his army’s retreat back to Virginia. He had lost 28,000 of his 80,000 men and they were low on both ammunition and food in enemy territory.
All of the wounded Confederate soldiers who were well enough to travel joined the wagon train retreating from Gettysburg. Those who could not be moved were left behind to be captured and cared for by the Union army.
On July 4, while the wagon train was still crossing the mountains at Cashtown, the remaining bulk of General Lee’s army left the battlefield and crossed the Sachs Covered Bridge and headed towards the Fairfield Road, which is today’s Route 116.
The most popular legend behind the haunted bridge in Gettysburg is that three Confederate soldiers were hung from the trusses of the structure.
There are two theories as to why the soldiers were hung. The first being that the Confederate soldiers deserted their unit, and were caught.
The other theory suggests that the three soldiers were actually spies, and they were hung from the bridge. No one knows where this story came from as there are no historical accounts of the occurrence.
But people swear they have seen figures hanging from the beams of the haunted bridge in Gettysburg.
Pro Tip: If you enjoy reading ghost stories about Gettysburg, then read Gettysburg native Mark Nesbitt’s series GHOSTS OF GETTYSBURG. He knows more about Gettysburg ghosts than anyone.
Nonetheless, many visitors have claimed to see full bodied apparitions of the soldiers, experienced strange touching and hair-pulling, and heard eerie voices. I’ve also read posts about visitors hearing the clip-clop of horses’ hooves crossing the bridge.
Here is a short clip of a ghostly sighting. You decide!
The Smoking Sachs Covered Bridge Ghost
Another strange phenomenon that occurs at the haunted covered bridge in Gettysburg is the smoking ghost.
When visitors place a cigarette on the metal railing outside the bridge, it spins and appears that someone is taking a puff. Some claim that this smoking Sachs Bridge ghost even has a name—Tennessee.
Others have reported the strong smell of pipe tobacco as if a sentry is still walking on patrol.
I don’t know. What do you think?
Nature Trail At Sachs Bridge in Gettysburg
It is also a favorite fishing hole for locals.
There is a walking trail that winds along Marsh Creek to a low dam and a charming area to relax and cool off on a hot summer day.
Directions To The Haunted Bridge In Gettysburg
The Sachs haunted covered bridge in Gettysburg is a little hard to find, but worth the effort.
The address of the Sachs Bridge Gettysburg is just Water Works Road, but here are detailed directions to the haunted covered bridge in Gettysburg PA.
Heading South on the Emmitsburg Road from Gettysburg, turn right at the Peach Orchard battle site onto Millerstown Road. This turns into Pumping Station Road.
After you pass Black Horse Tavern Road on your right, keep your eyes open for Roberta Way on your left, and turn there. You will then take a right onto Waterworks Road, which takes you to a small parking area. This side of the haunted bridge in Gettysburg has a wheelchair ramp.
If you miss your turn on Roberta Way, don’t worry. Travel another mile-ish until you cross a bridge. (If you look left while crossing, you’ll see the Sachs Covered Bridge).
Turn left immediately after you see the covered bridge and you will arrive in the parking lot.
The walking path is also straight ahead of you when entering on this side.
Covered Bridges In The Old Days
When I was growing up there were six or seven covered bridges in Adams County, Pennsylvania. (But only one haunted covered bridge in Gettysburg).
Unfortunately, there is only one remaining covered bridge besides Sachs Covered Bridge. Jack’s Mountain Covered Bridge is a one-lane bridge that is still open to vehicular traffic.
Covered bridges are very familiar to me since they were a regular part of my daily commute, but younger people may never have seen one or know why they were built.
There were reportedly about 14,000 covered bridges built in the U.S., mostly between 1825 to 1875.
The longest covered bridge ever built was constructed in nearby Lancaster County in 1814. It spanned more than a mile, but was destroyed by flooding and ice in 1832. The current longest bridge is 460 feet and stands in New Hampshire.
In the 1800s, wooden bridges were replaced by iron, which was cheaper and more durable, not needing the sides and roof. The weight limits of wooden bridges and their low clearances also led to their general demise.
What where Covered Bridges Used For?
Covered bridges are exactly what they sound like—a bridge over a body of water that has sides and a roof.
The first covered wooded bridge in the United States dates back to 1803 when Timothy Palmer oversaw the design of a bridge over the Schuylkill River.
It was not until the bridge was almost complete that investors asked the builder to cover the bridge to protect their money. Palmer modified the design to add a roof and siding to protect the interior wood from the weather.
That bridge came to be known as the Permanent Bridge.
Wrap-Up Of Sachs Haunted Bridge In Gettysburg
Sachs Covered Bridge stands today as a true touchstone to the past, as well as a place of remarkable beauty and serenity.
This haunted bridge in Gettysburg has witnessed both war and peace over its 150+ years, and is now a visible reminder of the past.
In 1938 the Sachs Covered Bridge was declared Pennsylvania’s “most historic bridge” by the Pennsylvania Department of Highways. It received the distinction due in part to its connection to the Battle of Gettysburg but also because of the uniqueness of its design, being one of the few covered bridges of its type in the area.
In 1980, the Sachs Covered Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Even though the 100-foot span once heard the footsteps of soldiers, it is now known only for the soothing sounds of the waters that flow beneath its wooden beams.
Gettysburg resident Mark Nesbit, author of the popular series of books called Ghosts of Gettysburg, says that acre for acre Gettysburg is probably the most haunted place in the United States.
The haunted Sachs Covered Bridge is just one of the many sites in Gettysburg with ghostly activity. If you want to stay at a haunted Gettysburg bed and breakfast, try The Gettysburg Academy or check out any of these historic B&B’s in Gettysburg.
I hope you enjoy your visit and have time to visit this haunted bridge in Gettysburg!
Look at the FIVE-STAR Reviews on this EMF Meter-Ghost Hunting Temperature Detector.
Planning A Trip To Haunted Gettysburg?
Here are a few historic places I recommend:
Gettysburg Hotel: Historic, Haunted and Downtown. Walk to everything.
1863 Inn of Gettysburg: Not historic, but haunted. Located in the tourist district. Close to everything.
Lightner Farmhouse B&B: South of town, historic house used as a Civil War hospital.
Things To Do In Gettysburg
Since Gettysburg is considered one of the most haunted towns in the U.S., you should definitely book one of the many ghost tours that are available. They range from family friendly to intensive investigations in Civil War era hospitals.
Then again, in Gettysburg you don’t even have to leave your room to meet a Gettysburg ghost. You can just spend a night in one of Gettysburg’s haunted hotels.
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