The Wounded Lion

21 October 2018

On our most recent trip to the battlefield we walked part of the West Woods Trail, mostly to see the most unique monument on the battlefield – that for the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. One of my favorites.

There’s been a lot of interest in this lion online lately, at least in the places I go, but nothing about its maker. I was inspired to look into the sculptor by the “signature block” he left on the slab under the lion’s left front paw.

I greatly enjoyed a rainy afternoon last Thursday in Sharpsburg, spending part of it at the Antietam National Cemetery.  I’m working on a project tracing the history and evolution of the Antietam National Battlefield, and the Cemetery, created shortly before the Battlefield was established, is a big part of that story.

But it is also a beautiful place in its own right, so I hope neither of my readers will object if I hit some highlights.

Book Review: A Fierce Glory

17 October 2018

A Fierce Glory: Antietam – the Desperate Battle that Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery (Da Capo Press, September 2018) by Justin Martin.  Hardcover; 250 pages main text, 315 total; 3 basic maps, 36 photos, endnotes, index. ISBN: 978-0-306-82525-5 (hardcover), 978-0-306-82526-3 (e-book). $28.00

In A Fierce Glory Justin Martin has written a personal and approachable book about the great and terrible battle of Antietam. His narrative style is breezy and conversational, quite different from the usual voice on this subject, but with it he successfully interprets some important political and military themes for a general-reader audience.

This book is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an introduction to the battle of Antietam or for American Civil War history more generally. It offers a good way to learn about the battle itself and, perhaps more important, indelibly links the battle to its most enduring legacy, the Emancipation Proclamation. Those looking for a detailed tactical study of the battle should choose another volume.