Maryland Outdoor Club
Sun, Oct 19 2003 - Antietam Battlefield Day Hike (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Colin Babb
Participants:Colin Babb, Jeff Schneider, Ted Hellen, Lee Ann Brazelton, Kelly Lascola, Tina Howell, Linda Werner, Whitney Morlock, Brian Loughery, Juanita Miranda, Tracy Ward Wright, Gwen Savage, Katry Harris, Sarah Martinez, Amy Pickwick, stephen pheiffer, Ann Mullally, Rani Gran, Jim Powell, Sandy Constance

Write Up:
This day had weather that was absolutely perfect for hiking- finally, an MOC event where it never rained (and we even had enough good juju that Jimmy Buffet did not have to make an appearance). Twenty-two folks showed up for what turned out to be a very pleasant jaunt around this very well-preserved battlefield. We got off a little late because Kelly and Lee Ann were caught in some nasty traffic on I-695; luckily, they called ahead and we all waited for them by taking a turn around the small museum at the visitors' center.

We began with a little bit of history about the battle from yours' truly: this was the bloodiest single-day battle in U.S. history- more than 3,000 men died here on 17th of September 1862, and more than 20,000 more were wounded. The usually lethargic Union General George McClellan pulled off a coup (with the help of captured Rebel orders) by trapping Confederate General Robert E. Lee's undermanned army here and nearly succeeded in pushing Lee back to the Potomac. We headed off to the northern part of the battlefield, where the battle began, to take a walk through the "Cornfield" (at the moment planted with soy, but still very much a field) where the heaviest fighting took place. We had to go along a road for much of the way up there, but we managed to dodge the cars successfully.

There was a troop of Union reenactors encamped on the battlefield, and we met up with several of them on horseback. These two came all the way from Ohio just so they could sit around in heavy wool uniforms and sleep in canvas tents, and be away from tvs and radios for the weekend as well as miss the first games of the World Series (perhaps they were Reds fans and didn't care). The horses of course kept many of us hanging around (perhaps waiting until the one of them decided to do his business in the field?) and the group got split up as many trudged onward. Their fearless leader finally caught up with the group, who were encamped outside the observation tower at the Sunken Road (or Bloody Lane) to have some lunch.

I decided that it probably was going to take too much time to walk all the way down to the final southern section of the battlefield and back again, so we all walked back to the visitors' center and took our cars down to Burnside Bridge, where the final Union attack came at the end of the battle. Old Burnside made it across the bridge, but go beaten back by the timely arrival of A. P. Hill, who's Confederate troops had marched all day from Harper's Ferry to get there. After convincing everyone of how nice it would be, all but several of us were suckered into taking the Snaveley's Ford trail, that headed out along Antietem Creek for a couple of miles. We discovered that the part of the trail we were on actually was supposed to be closed, but everyone managed to survive the grueling trek intact. By the time we got back to our cars, it was 3 o'clock and everyone decided to head back, without the usual afternoon sojourn at a local eatery (or was it because there really weren't any local eateries??). Thus ended a pretty nice day that was well spent.

--Colin Babb

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