The Antietam campaign begins.
The event today was down a ridiculously narrow and surprisingly two way road with a turn off you’ll never find and underneath the ominous crackle of power lines. Off putting.
But let me tell you. There’s something to be said about standing on a field and knowing that, 150 years ago, battle was raging all around.
The bugs at Fox’s Gap/South Mountain? Sparrow sized. Swarms of gnats. Huge black beetle things you could have put a saddle on. The Toddler and I sat in the car for an inordinate amount of time, in a futile attempt to keep from being eaten alive. I did, however, almost get The Hubs-elusively camera shy-on camera:
He said the iPhone creeping up into position was noticeable. Whatever. That’s him. Jauntily dressed and ready to go.
So, The Battle of South Mountain. Here’s what you need to know. General McClellan (Union) needed to pass through three gaps in South Mountain (Crampton’s, Turner’s, and Fox’s Gaps) as he pursued General Lee (Confederate). And even though Lee was pretty intensely outnumbered, he was able to delay McClellan for a day. Which then leads into The Siege and Capture of Harpers Ferry and, ultimately, the Battle of Antietam.
Fox’s Gap, where we were today, was the site of some of the most intense fighting.
It’s beautiful now.
But I will tell you what, it was a little eerie. I don’t know if it was the random head trauma I sustained while getting in the car yesterday or if it was our close proximity to high voltage power lines. I was weirded out every now and then, double checking over my shoulder from time to time.
Yeah, it’s probably the head trauma. I still haven’t blogged about my one-time-ever-ghost-experience at Gettysburg. Another day, another day.
Anyway, if you’ve never experienced the feeling of a 12 pound Napoleon being fired, you are truly missing out. It shakes you to your core. You feel it with every ounce of your being; it slams into all of your senses and rattles you from the inside out.
And no, The Toddler was not impressed. He didn’t like it the first time it was fired–and we were still hanging out in the car at that point–but after that he never even flinched. He very seriously looked at me and said, “Gun.”
Light gun howitzer, to be precise.
Anyway. As promised, the ubiquitous self portrait, taken looking towards Turner’s Gap:
So, hey, tomorrow is Antietam (technically the anniversary is the 17th, but we’re rocking out at the event this weekend). And let me tell you, I’m intimidated already. Reenactor tickets are 30 bucks. I cannot find prices for spectators. Cops are everywhere. Mobs and mobs of people in the parking lot alone. I am willing to attempt tomorrow. Our groups first firing is at 9:15. We will see what happens after that because a) I’m not driving in that mess and b) The Toddler is not about to be told what to do.
So, we’ll see what happens. It’s the sesquicentennial, darn it, you’d better believe I’m going to at least try.
And probably need a nap. Or a hot fudge sundae, whatever comes first.