Fall woods

Fall woods

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Signs

The Antietam battlefield was very impressive.  For those possessed of any kind of imagination whatsoever, it's easy to visualize the desperate morning battles in the cornfield, the piled-up dead of Bloody Lane around midday, and the fight to the death for Burnside Bridge later in the afternoon.  Photographers followed the soldiers in this war, which resulted in some staggering images.

Bloody Lane then
Bloody Lane now

Wherever you go in the whole broad area of the battle, there are signs: some black and some yellow.  The yellow are the 30,000 foot level signs...the ones with maps with handy blue and red arrows denoting which side was located where and going in which direction.  Big-picture signs.  The black and white ones, on the other hand, probably ten or twenty times more numerous, get right down to the nitty-gritty.  If you had an ancestor in the 19th Kentucky, for instance (I am making that up as an example), you could follow that unit's movements across the battlefield almost hour by hour via the black signs.  For Civil War buffs like Himself, the black signs were the correct level of detail.  For those not quite so well versed in this particular period, like me, they were overkill to such a prodigious degree that eventually I gave up trying to keep all the states, units and commanders straight!  

A yellow sign
Another yellow sign

A black sign

Seriously, enlarge this third picture, read it, and imagine literally hundreds of them scattered everywhere you look!  Then imagine trying to actually remember all the information on them.  Yeesh.

Dotting the battlefield are also a huge number of concrete or stone monuments, many large and elaborate.  These were donated by individual states over the years since the war (some old, some recently) and memorialize places where particular state units fought.

130th Pennsylvania
20th New York
Texas
8th Connecticut
Literally hundreds of these dot the battlefield too, both large and small.  The battlefield is almost visually overwhelming. 

Then, there was this sign.


Stopped me in my tracks.  We had to make a detour to pay our respects.



Bloodiest single-day battle in American history.  Almost 23,000 dead, wounded or missing.  Truly fascinating place to spend a weekend, although very sad.


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