Near anniversary 2009

20 September 2009

Saturday was another great day to be at the Antietam National Battlefield Park.

battlefield sign

It began early for me with an uneventful drive up the National Pike route, and a SHAF meeting in Keedysville which introduced promise of more website improvements and some exciting initiatives for the organization for the near future.

After a photo-op at the battlefield Visitor Center and a low-fat gourmet lunch at the Battleview, I walked the newish Bloody Lane Trail with Craig Swain. Craig is a former Armor Officer and an excellent companion in the field. Thanks Craig!

As I always find when walking a part of the field I hadn’t seen before, the new perspective brought me an entirely different appreciation of the history of the place. And some new views that I enjoyed for their own sake…

It’s below freezing and we’ve seen snow flurries here in Northern Virginia. A good time to burrow in and wish for Spring. Or at least for warmer battlefield tramping weather.

I am inspired to plan some serious hikes by the news that the new Three Farms Trail is open at Antietam National Battlefield. Roulette, Newcomer (below), and Sherrick, are the three, I’d guess. This new path ties together a network of 9 trails which covers much of the battlefield terrain which saw combat 17 September 1862.

Middle Bridge from the North East (Newcomer Farm - A. Gardner, Sept 1862)click to see larger image

So, with a goal to follow all of the trails and tramp the whole battlefield in a season, I’m wondering what would be the best way to do it? I’ll take a shot at a plan over the next few weeks … who’s with me?

146 years to the day after the historical events, a lucky group of us tracked the unlucky 118th Pennsylvania Volunteers to the places and views of the Battle of Shepherdstown Ford (20 September 1862). Under the capable guidance of Dr Tom Clemens and members of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association (SBPA), we waded the Potomac, scaled the heights, and walked the field.

ANB Visitor's Center
ANB Visitor’s Center – a postcard perfect day

We gathered Saturday the 20th at the Antietam Visitor’s Center, drove in convoy to the Dunleavy spread near Shepherdstown, WV, and then carpooled to the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal Park [NPS site] back on the Maryland side of the Shepherdstown (Boteler’s, Packhorse, Blackford’s) Ford…