Civil War Transcendence, part 10

§    A Novel of Time Travel

I walked up the hill and turned right on the paved park road that follows an old farm trail north to the North Woods.

There is a part of the East Woods that has been regrown, but it doesn’t encompass the complete area that the East Woods covered in 1862.  I walked down the road to where the remnant of the woods remains.  There is a 4 foot high post and rail fence on the side of the road that acts as a barrier between the road traffic and the eastern face of the woods.

East woods fence.

I walked further down the road to where the East Woods begins, hopped the fence, and walked to the western face of the East Woods. I wanted to enter the woods from the west, which was the way the various Confederate regiments did during the battle.

As I walked south along the western edge of the woods, I thought about the affinity I had for the East Woods.  I had been drawn to this place more than any other portion of the battlefield. On one of my previous visits, I had closed my eyes and walked along a park road that is now in the original East Woods, trying to grasp a vision of what it must have looked like back in 1862.

I finally reached the spot that I thought would be the best place to turn into the woods.  I stood there for a moment and thought of the fighting that had taken place under these trees; of the artillery shells that burst in the tree tops raining down deadly branches and metal shards on the soldiers; and of the dead and wounded that lay in the woods after the battle.

I took a deep breath and went into the gloom. It was really hard to see in the woods’ darkness. I had already deemed it not wise to carry a flashlight, because the beam could have been spotted and probably reported to park security.

I picked my way from tree to tree – stumbling once – but I was able to keep from falling by catching the trunk of a small sapling. My plan was to traverse the woods from west to east; jump the fence; and walk to my car.

I had gotten to the center of the woods, but something was amiss…

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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