- Jim Rosebrock
- 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 teenagers who I love very much. I currently volunteer at the battlefield 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. These words often add a degree of color and character not found elsewhere in their stories. A feature of this blog is the presentation of some of these quotes. 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 that fortune could have gone either way. 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.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Last Monday, my colleagues fellow Antietam volunteer Jim Buchanan and intern Justin McIntyre went off the beaten path so to speak and hiked over to the area where the Pry Ford is located. The photos here are taken from the east side of Antietam Creek generally facing west. If you click on the slide show you will see in Google maps exactly where I shot the photos.
If you are around the park on weekends, there is a great chance you will meet up with Jim if you visit the Philadelphia Brigade monument in the West Woods at stop 5 on the battlefield tour. Jim is a student of the West Woods fighting. Last Monday he was looking for the area where the Union Second Corps crossed the Antietam early on September 17th, 1862. Sumner's lead division under John Sedgwick very likely crossed in the area that these photos were taken. Withing hours of crossing there, Sedgwick's division would meet its destiny in the West Woods. In desperate fighting, over half of the 5,000 men in this division would become casualties in under one hour. Come and see Jim and he will show you where this action occured.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Sorrel paints a particularly interesting and humorous sketch of William “Little Billy” Mahone. This officer commanded a brigade in the summer of 1862 but is not present at Antietam having been seriously wounded on August 30th at Second Manassas. His brigade however participates in the Maryland Campaign under the command of Colonel William “Gus” Parham. It sustained so many casualties at Crampton’s Gap in the Battle of South Mountain on September 14th that it is temporarily attached to Pryor’s Brigade of Richard Anderson’s division. There, it fought in the Sunken Road.
Upon Sorrel’s promotion to brigadier general, in October of 1864, he is transferred to A.P. Hill’s Third Corps and assigned command of a brigade of Georgia troops. This brigade (commanded at Antietam by Ambrose Ransom “Rans” Wright) is now part of Mahone’s (formerly Richard Anderson’s) division. Sorell says this about his new boss:
"Maj-Gen William Mahone was a Virginian, about forty years of age. His appearance arrested attention. Very small both in height and frame, he seemed a mere atom with little flesh. His wife said "none." When he was shot (slightly) she was told it was only a flesh wound. "Now I know it is serious," said the good lady, "for William has no flesh whatsoever."
If you haven’t picked up this classic work, I urge you to do so. And if you read it long ago, this gem is worth another look. As we leave Moxley Sorrel, I close with the following sentiment made by the good Georgian and loyal aide to James Longstreet.
"An awful lot of lies circulate nowadays about the Civil War, and it is so long ago there is hardly anybody to contradict them."
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all." Excepts from President Barak Obama’s Inauguration Speech,
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I was visiting Antietam National Battlefield yesterday with my new camera and snapped some pictures around the Joseph Poffenberger farm, North Woods, Cornfield Avenue, and the Visitor's Center. They are running in a slideshow in the left column of this blog. You can click on the pictures and get a caption and a map location where I made the shots. The problem with shooting pictures when it is 9 degrees outside and a "gentle" breeze is blowing, is that the fingers rapidly freeze up. I was only good for five or six shots at a time before I had to duck back in the car. Anyway the light was beautiful and I kept at it. I think you will agree that Antietam is one of our nations most pristine parks. Lets all work hard to make sure that it will always stay that way.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I would like to extend a belated thank you to Antietam Ranger John Hoptak for kindly mentioning this blog at The 48th Pennsylvania Infantry/Civil War Musings the other day. One of the great things about volunteering at