Strange things could happen during wars. Some say they were just made up to cheer the weary soldiers on the battlefield. Others were probably a product of boredom, or maybe as a result of the extreme situation they were in that clouded their minds and visions. There were stories about ghosts of the restless soldiers, a cavalry apparition that saved troops, and other mysterious tales without proof or scientific evidence. However, there was one incident that sounded fake during the Civil War but definitely happened during their time. It was when the wounded soldiers glowed blue in the dark. The phenomenon was called Angel’s Glow.

Battle of Shiloh

It had been a year since the American Civil War started in the spring of 1862 when Major General Ulysses Grant decided that they would push deep into the territory of the Confederates along the Tennessee River. In early April, the Union troops were already camped at Pittsburg Landing, near Shiloh, Tennesse, and waiting for Major General Don Carlos Buell’s troops to meet up with them.

Battle of Shiloh by Thure de Thulstrup. (Adam Cuerden, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

On April 6, the Confederates launched a surprise attack against Grant’s troops in hopes that they would successfully defeat them before the second army arrived. Grant’s men managed to hold some of the ground and establish a battle line. The fighting continued until dawn. The morning after, the full force of Major General Buell’s forces had arrived, and the Union finally outnumbered the Confederates by around 10,000. They began forcing the Confederates back while a counterattack tried to stop them from advancing. When the Confederates realized that they could not win against the now numerically superior Union forces arrayed against them, they fell back to Corinth and waited for another offensive in August.

Angel’s Glow

The Battle of Shiloh left more than 3,000 soldiers dead while some 16,000 more were wounded, and none of the medics on both sides were prepared for the numbers. It was not just the bullet and bayonet wounds that were the mere problem but the infections that followed after. After months of marching and eating nothing but field rations, their immune systems weakened, and their bodies could not fight the infection on their own. The dirty, warm, open wounds of the soldiers were perfect campsites for bacteria, and antibiotics were unknown at that time. Many of the wounded soldiers died from infections that today’s medicine could’ve cured with no sweat.