Thursday, September 11, 2014

Traveling East: Civil War

We went to both Antietam National Battlefield Park and Gettysburg National Military Park. Learned a lot more about this horrible war where 750,000 people died. Figures were recently revised upwards. The rivers and creeks ran red with blood for days after battles and you could walk from one side of a field to another without stepping on the ground.
Antietam was a one day battle, September 17, 1862. McClellan vs Lee. Four thousand killed and 19,000 wounded and missing. Most of the missing were dead and most of the wounded died. It was not a battle of tactics. Just a pitched brawl. The bloodiest single day in American history. The bayonets were bent into meat hooks to drag the bodies off into mass graves. The battle was technically a draw.
Now you just see fields where the battle was. 

The Dunker church was pulverized and fell down in a wind storm. This is a reconstruction. 

The Burnside Bridge over Antietam Creek. 

A small evocative monument. 

Union graves were eventually moved to Antietam National Cemetery. 

Gettysburg was a much bigger affair. Three days of battle July 1 to July 3, 1863. There were a lot of tactical maneuvers, some worked out and some didn't. Meade vs Lee. Meade had an army of 93,000 and eventually lost 23,000, killed, wounded, missing or captured. Lee had 70,000 and lost 28,000. Pretty horrible numbers. Lee was on the offensive moving into Pennsylvania. Each army had some high ground with the Union forces maintaining a defensive fishhook line and defending their flanks. The culminating battle had Lee via Pickett charging from Seminary Ridge to Union positions on Cemetery Ridge. The war continued for 2 more years, but this loss was the beginning of the end.
The eternal flame of peace has burned out. Budget cuts? I don't know. I forgot to ask. 

Up on top of Little Round top at the far end of the Union line we overlook the Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard and Devils Den. 

The Wheatfield, 4,000 died here on July 2nd 

the General on top of Little Round Top 

Pickets Charge on the 3rd from Seminary Ridge 

High Water mark of the charge 

We are now in Amish country. Horses trot quickly on the road pulling buggies. 

I spot a horse drawn harvester harvesting Pioneer GMO corn. How anachronistic.
I don't know how this town got its name.
At one time it was called Cross Keys.


Carolyn Rondthaler said...

very interesting! Are you coming to DC? I would love to see you, and I think I could arrange parking for you.

Mimi said...

Would love to see you. But it looks like we are bypassing big cities this time.