Thursday, December 20, 2012

Antietam Battlefield-- Part 1

I was fortunate to get to the visitor center in time for the park ranger talk on the battle.  However, I suggest visitors ( especially those who don't know a lot about the battle) try to get there earlier to see the excellent film on the battle which gives some solid background. 

The ranger presentation is at 10 AM and there is another one in the afternoon.

The ranger was very knowledgeable, but did it by memory.  Imagine he's done it a lot of times before.  I was happy to see so many people in attendance.  Often, I go to Civil War sites and its just the people at the center and me.  And, quite a few were younger and not there with their families.

The ranger said that we can see roughly two-thirds of the battlefield from our vantage point at the visitors center, which occupies the high ground backing up to the town.  These would have been the Confederate lines during the battle, though the Union forces came close to breaking them near our spot and even penetrated as far as the Dunker Church to our left and behind us a couple hundred yards.

The battle came down to three things:  Communication, Topography and Experience.  Nearly 30% of the Union soldiers were in their first-ever battle.  This was their first time to "See the Elephant" as Civil War soldiers termed seeing battle.  This is where I got the name of this blog.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

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