About Me

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I am a lifelong student of military history with particular interest in the Battle of Antietam. I work for the federal government in Washington DC and have two young adult children who I love very much. I currently volunteer at Antietam and devote much time to the study of this battle and the Maryland Campaign. I enjoy collecting notable contemporary quotations by and about the men of Antietam. Since 2013 I have been conducting in depth research on the regular artillery companies of the Union Army and their leaders. I hope to turn this into a book on this subject in the future. My perspective comes from a 28-year career in the U.S. Army. Travels took me to World War II battlefields in Europe and the Pacific where American valor ended the tyranny of Nazism and Empire. But our country faced its own greatest challenge 80 years earlier during the Civil War. And it was the critical late summer of 1862, when Robert E. Lee launched the Maryland Campaign. It is an incredible story of drama, carnage, bravery, and missed opportunities that culminated around the fields and woodlots of peaceful Sharpsburg MD. So join me as I make this journey South from the North Woods.

Monday, July 27, 2009

South Mountain Wreathed in Smoke? I wonder...

Driving home from Antietam National Battlefield on Sunday after another good day of volunteering, I had just passed over Crampton's Gap and driven through Burkittsville on my way home to Jefferson. Out of the rear view mirror, I caught this view of South Mountain. I have learned when journeying to and from the battlefield that it always pays to carry my camera along. In this case, my carefulness was rewarded with this truly grand view. The camera does little justice to the actual view, but to me, it was a reminder of what the Middletown Valley may have looked like at the end of the fighting for the mountain passes on September 14, 1862. It really looks like a pall of smoke hanging over the mountain. Of course in my case, this is not gun smoke but fog drifting down the valley after another one of our summer downpours. This is from the Union perspective, looking generally west and a little north. Crampton's Gap is to the south (left) and Lamb's Knoll is just rising to the north (right). On the other side of the mountain is Pleasant Valley protected on the west by Elk Ridge and on the east by the mountain you see here. Pleasant Valley is the main avenue between Boonsboro in the north and Harpers Ferry in the south. Further west and over Elk Ridge is the town of Sharpsburg and Antietam Creek.

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