Sunday, May 27, 2018

Antietam at Arlington

     Over Memorial Day weekend, I had the pleasure of spending a day at Arlington National Cemetery with the goal in mind of seeing as many graves related to the Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign as I could. Along the way, I stumbled upon many other graves of historical (especially Civil War) interest, as one is apt to do in Arlington. Below is just a sample of graves of soldiers who participated in the Maryland Campaign. It is not a comprehensive list--there was not enough time to see them all. Some of them I planned on seeing while I happily stumbled upon others.
     Enjoy your Memorial Day and do not forget what this day really means.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Shamed at Sharpsburg: The Court Martial Case of Alfred Ransom Courtney

A postwar portrait of Alfred Ransom Courtney
(courtesy of George Seitz,
As September 17, 1862, wore on, Robert E. Lee realized he would need as much help as he could find. Robert Chilton, a staff officer of Lee's, wrote a dispatch in the midst of the battle to artillery chief William Nelson Pendleton, requesting “fifteen or twenty guns, suitable for our purposes…with a sufficiency of ammunition.” Lee stressed to Pendleton: “We want ammunition, guns, and provisions” as the battle intensified.[1]
One artillery officer who had plenty of capacity to help Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia in this respect on September 17 commanded a battalion of artillery (four batteries)—Maj. Alfred Ransom Courtney. The 28-year-old major’s roots in North America dated back to 1620. “With an ancestry in whose veins flowed Scotch and English blood so pure,” wrote one of Courtney’s associates, it was no surprise that Courtney “developed in a high degree characteristics of intelligence, integrity and courage.” Courtney passed his bar exam before the Civil War began. He became a lieutenant in one Confederate battery at the outset of the war before receiving command of his own battery in July 1861.[2]