SACRED GROUND: Part 9

SACRED GROUND: Part 9

We came down a small hill and I could see off to the left a pave road with a bunch of historical markers. This was the start of the battlefield.Antietam Nat'l battlefield entrance

The highway we were traveling veered to the right and in about ¾ of a mile we came to the main entrance to the battlefield.  We turned left into the park and drove up to the Visitor’s Center.

There were only a few cars in visitor’s center parking lot and hardly any tourist in the visitor’s center.  We entered, paid $2.00 each for a 3 day pass, and looked at all the pictures and the few exhibits in the lobby.

After perusing this information we went up on the second floor to the glassed observation deck. You could see all of the northern and central part of the battlefield.  Signs were posted pointing to the various parts of the battlefield and I began to acclimate myself with the areas that had been described in the books I had read.  But the books hadn’t prepared me for how small this part of the battlefield was. There had been thousands of men fighting here and they must have been running over each other with such a small area in which to maneuver.

There was a film that ran every hour describing the battle in the visitor’s center auditorium.  We watched the film. It wasn’t great, but I loved it just the same.

We got out the battlefield map that the visitor’s center supplied and started our tour.  We began at the northern most part of the battlefield and worked our way south following the Union Attack on Wednesday September 17, 1862. There were 23,000 combined casualties from both armies. It was the bloodiest day in American history.

About noon we decided to try and find a place to eat. The visitor’s center named a few places to try in town. Sharpsburg has a population of about 900. There ain’t many places to eat.  We decided on a convenience story that supposedly had a very good sandwich shop.  The recommendation was correct. The sandwiches turned out to be quite good.

And guess what I found there? More small Confederate Flags.

small confederate flag

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About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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