Summer fly-by visit

12 July 2017

On the return leg of an excursion north to visit family and friends, we made a stop at the Battlefield last Sunday. It was a glorious day, as is so often the case there, and perfect for catching up on some of the changes at the Park.

First stop after checking in at the Visitor’s Center was the recently restored Lower (Burnside’s) Bridge.

It looks fantastic. New mortar and roadbed are obvious, and I understand the underlying arches were extensively rebuilt as well. I hope that means the bridge is good for another 180 years.

It is also good to see that the ‘witness’ sycamore tree is also still there, and looks strong and healthy.

We next pushed up to the other end of the Park. I wanted to see the changes from the SHAF/Civil War Trust (CWT) purchase of parcels totaling about 44 acres south of the junction of the Hagerstown Pike and Cornfield Avenue – that big triangular ‘donut hole’ on the ANB Park maps.

Tom Clemens kindly took time out of his busy day to talk with me about the new views there – now that the post-war structures and overgrowth have been removed. There’s a clear line of sight from the North Woods to the Dunker Church plateau, a view commented on by many of the Federal soldiers who were there. A view none of us moderns have had til now.

 

Tom told me there’s a process to get through before the land is officially part of the Park, but it should just be a matter of time.

Tom also took me down the road to see the changes in the East Woods. Along with considerable tree planting extending the East Woods much farther south, to its historical range, he showed me the plot of land bought by the SHAF and recently cleared of a house and barn/shed, returning it to near its 1862 state.

SHAF, the CWT, the Park Service, and the many individuals and local groups who have worked so hard over the last 30 or more years can be rightfully proud of their battlefield. The vast majority of the battle ground is either owned outright by the Park Service or is under protective easement.

If I have this right, there are now only 3 buildings in the Park which were not there at the battle, and these include the Visitor’s Center and the brick ranch housing the Park’s administrative offices.

The national treasure that is the Antietam National Battlefield.

One Response to “Summer fly-by visit”

  1. Bill says:

    Thanks for this post. It is great to see the battlefield is being protected and improved. I hope Nicodemus Heights can someday be brought in as well.

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