Walking the walk marks 145th anniversary of Antietam battle

September 18, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

SHARPSBURG - Jeff Gore said he traveled from western New York to participate in the six-hour walking tour Monday of Antietam National Battlefield.

The event was scheduled as part of the activities to mark the 145th anniversary of the Civil War battle.

"To actually touch the ground and be here ... It's like going in the footsteps of the troops," he said. "The hair on our necks is standing up."

Gore, a Civil War re-enactor, walked the battlefield with his friend, Shaun Kelly, and about 75 other people.

Three of Antietam National Battlefield's park rangers - Mike Gamble, Keith Snyder and Brian Baracz - led the walk.

They stopped at points of interest along the way to explain what happened Sept. 17, 1862, when 23,110 Confederate and Union soldiers were killed, wounded or listed as missing during the bloodiest single day in American history.

Some of the walkers drank coffee and dressed in warm clothing to fight the cool morning air as they slowly gathered before 9 a.m. at the New York monument near the Visitor's Center. Under sunny skies, a tranquil patch of fog hovered in the distance over Antietam Creek.


As the walkers began moving to where the first shots were fired on the north end of the battlefield, Baracz said roughly 10,000 men were cut down in a one-square-mile area that morning from about 6 to 10 a.m.

As fighting wore on, heavy casualties from both sides were suffered at Bloody Lane and Burnside Bridge.

Roughly 500 cannons fired about 60,000 artillery rounds in 12 hours of fighting, he said. It is estimated that soldiers fired between 3 million and 4 million bullets.

Of the 23,110 casualties, about 7,000 died from their wounds, Baracz said. Another 7,000 suffered incapacitating injuries, and the rest returned to their respective units after convalescing.

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