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.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Hence the dirt

For over two years, I have been going through every page of Henry Hunt’s papers that are located in the Library of Congress.  Unlike much of the Executive Branch which remains shutdown (my department included), Congress and it’s library were funded by a separate appropriation. While furloughed, I have been able to spend some time at the Library over the past several weeks continuing my research.

Henry Hunt was a prolific writer and it seems that he kept everything.  From battle reports, to target practice records, data on artillery horses, to proposals and sketches for a new and improved battery wagon, to the daily countersigns of the Army of the Potomac, nearly every aspect of artillery is addressed somewhere.

I have found some great things about the artillery of the Army of the Potomac in the Civil War.  I have scanned at least one hundred documents and the information therein will be part of my upcoming book.  

Nothing prepared me for what I found in Box 12, Folder 2 yesterday.  At the bottom of the folder beneath the other papers was a folded up parchment like document. I unfolded and unfolded and unfolded some more.   Suddenly there was a map titled Portions of Virginia and North Carolina.  It was about 3 feet by 2 feet long.  

What dumbfounded me was a note scribbled on the back of the map in Henry Hunt's handwriting:

This map presented to my by General Rawlins Chief of Staff to General Grant on the road from Petersburg to Jetersville and which had been frequently used by Genl Grant to that time. Was afterward used by General Meade and myself until the surrender of Lee’s Army at Appomattox C.H.
Genl Meade being unwell for a day or two had it in his ambulance with him and accidentally got his boots (muddy) on it hence the dirt.

Washington DC                                             Henry Hunt
Aug 11 1865                                                 Maj Genl
                                                                     Chief of Arty

It was so large and delicate that an archivist had to assist me in folding it back up. There was an index card in the folder that indicated that there are several other copies of the map in the Library.  I think that is only reason that this copy remains with Henry Hunt’s other papers.  

It is a rare and beautiful thing.  I am back at the Library today looking for more treasures.  

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