Saturday, June 29, 2019

McClellan's Guns of Position: Part 4

     An image is worth one thousand words, so the saying goes. Well, it has taken 3,684 words and numerous pictures and graphics to bring us to Part 4 (and the conclusion, sort of) of the "McClellan's Guns of Position" series. Hopefully, this series has opened readers' eyes to the importance of the guns of position at Antietam. Putting together this series has been revelatory for myself and I am walking away from it with a much greater appreciation of the role they played during the Battle of Antietam.
     When originally envisioning this series, I wanted the conclusion of it to not be filled with so many heavy-hitting statistics (that is what parts 1, 2, and 3 are for) but rather with modern pictures from the guns of position locations that drive home the points made in the first three parts. Last winter, I had the pleasure of accompanying many of Antietam Battlefield Guide friends onto the former Ecker Farm to take a gander at what those artillerists saw of the Confederate positions from September 16 to 18, 1862. That trip was the genesis of this series. And while there are many more trees crowning the Ecker Farm Ridge south of the Boonsboro Pike today than there were in 1862, the views were still spectacular.
     I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

"The Rebels Would Eat Me Up": Attempting to Read Joseph Hooker's Mind on September 16

     George B. McClellan's movement of Joseph Hooker's First Corps across Antietam Creek on the afternoon of September 16 is a fascinating move to me, perhaps the most fascinating of the entire Maryland Campaign. Hooker's corps of roughly 9,000 men sent across the creek alone to face the whole Army of Northern Virginia is a gutsy decision.
     Hooker himself expressed some displeasure with his situation to McClellan in person. "If re-enforcements [sic] were not forwarded promptly, or if another attack was not made on the enemy's right, the rebels would eat me up," wrote Hooker. Clearly, Hooker was nervous about his and his corps' situation on September 16. Despite that, he attacked the enemy in his front the next morning with the Federal Twelfth Corps backing him up.