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Pennsylvania Treasures: Civil War Gold

In 1863, during the American Civil War1, a Union Army lieutenant was ordered to escort a wagon that had been fitted with a false base. This disguised compartment contained 26 gold bars each weighing 50 pounds. The wagon was to travel from Wheeling, West Virginia, north through Pennsylvania and then south to Washington, DC - the idea behind this route was to avoid any possible encounter with Confederate forces.

In the early stages of the journey, the lieutenant was sick with fever. During a fit of delirium, he blurted out the fact that the wagon contained a fortune in gold. After his fever broke, the expedition left St Marys, Pennsylvania, heading for Driftwood where they were to build a raft and float down the Susquehanna River to Harrisburg. They never made it, vanishing somewhere in the forests of Cameron and Elk counties.

Two months later, the party's civilian guide stumbled into Lock Haven - 50 miles east of St Marys, the last known location of the convoy. Army investigators interrogated the guide for days and heard that bandits ambushed the group, killing all the soldiers and taking the gold. The Army did not believe this story.

Pinkerton detectives were hired to search the area, but all they found were some dead mules in the area of Dent's Run near present-day Route 55 in Elk County. In the early 1870s, human skeletons, which were believed to be those of the soldiers, were found in the same area.

The guide was drafted into the army and assigned to a fort in the west. A heavy drinker, when he was drunk he would claim to know where the gold was hidden. But when he sobered up, he disavowed all knowledge of the treasure's location.

Local rumor has it that during the past 50 years the modern US Army has sent several teams into the area around Dent's Run searching for the gold. Despite these alleged ongoing searches, the gold has never been recovered.

©2006 The Greater Pittsburgh Parnormal Society™