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 Post subject: Antietam Battlefield Visit
PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:15 am
Posts: 13
Location: USA
Hello all,

I just wanted to share my thoughts on my visit to Antietam Battlefield yesterday. It was incredible! This is my favorite ACW battlefield to visit, (more so than Gettyburg), it was my third time there. I say more so than Getty becasue this site has still not been "overrun" with commercial expansion and urban sprawl. I don't see it happening anytime soon either.

Anyway, I was with a group of fellow Warrants on a staff ride and we had a great Park Ranger who went through the battle using sand tables. A great way to understand and discuss the battlefield and tactics used during that conflict. Being a map guy for the Army I truly appreciate the "micro relief" of this battlefield. There are "false horizons" and subtle areas that you don't realize are there until you put yourself on the other side. A perfect ground for artillery. And a little factoid is this park was developed by the War department for use as a training facility back in the 1890's when there were still some living veterans of the war that provided pricless insight to that day and was captured for us to study today.

I am still just amazed at the travesty of that day...23,000 casualties in a single day. The bloodiest single day in American history, 2 soldiers died every second of battle that day. I think the park ranger said this was nearly 4 times that of D-Day folks. And it was the first time this devestation was seen in the homes of the American people with photo's from Alexander Gardner. Truly hallowed ground...

Tactical victory - Confederate. Lee's manuvering of his army was truly brilliant, but it was bold first and could have easily gone the other way. He was outnumbered 2 to 1 and had the main union attack across the middle bridge ever taken shape it was probably the end of the Confederate army. Fortunate for Lee this attack never took shape and the history is what it is. There are any number of reasons but in my opinion the responsibilty falls ultimately to McClellan's leadership on that day. He was the field commander and his operational decisions influenced the tactical fight.

Operational victory - I say indecisive, but I think the concensus is Union, not because of McClellan but Lincoln. Lee did not meet his objective for this campaign and had to head back to Virginia because of this day. But neither did the Union Army under McClellan's leadership achieve an operational objective. Both Armies basically ended up in the same places they started from, neither gaining significant ground and only devastating thier forces and field leadership. Lee lost 1/4 of his Army in this 1 day. Six generals (both sides) total were killed, reducing even more the pool of generalship that Lincoln could choose from. But Lincoln used it as an opportunity to claim victory by issuing Emancipation Proclamation several days later and reduce the chance that foreign powers would recognize the CSA. So Lincoln made it an operational victory thus able to claim a...

Strategic victory - Union

I recommend this battlefield visit highly! I've now renewed my interest in studying some of the alternative scenario's in HPS Antietam. Seems there are a few good ones there. I'm looking forward to the time...



respectfully,

Lt Col Todd J Pollard
1/3/II Corp
Price's MO Cav Bde
"Missouri Raiders"
Army of Alabama
C.S.A.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2003 7:34 am
Posts: 400
Location: Oriskany, NY USA
I love Antietam. So pristine. And not overloaded with field trips and tour buses. Another site that I really am impressed with is Shiloh.

Lt.General Dale Lastowicka
3/4/VIII Corps, AOS


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:19 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:15 am
Posts: 13
Location: USA
Bill, the park has changed significantly from what you remember to now. They are planting trees and have purchased much of the battle land from the local farmers in order to create the battlefield just as it would have looked. Areas like the "east woods", "west woods" and such they are trying to rejuvinate through the coming years. Much volunteer work and support has come to preserve this place and keep it for the future like is was in history. I was very impressed and will continue to go back.

The walking tour is probably 3-4 hours long (if you do actually walk it) but there is a car tour and you can get out at the significant battlefield sites like "The Cornfield" and "Bloody Lane" and "Burnside Bridge". I do recommend you try to get back there...I think you'd be plesantly surprised.

Dale, pristine is a great description. I was at Shiloh back about 4 years ago and was impressed there too. Nice and quiet place as well.

Thanks to you both for your comments.

respectfully,

Lt Col Todd J Pollard
1/3/II Corp
Price's MO Cav Bde
"Missouri Raiders"
Army of Alabama
C.S.A.


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