Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Friday, November 12, 2010

We learn to pronounce Antietam

Today the Astral Nomads visited Antietam National Battlefield , which is about 15 miles southeast of Hagerstown. Until today I was not even sure how to pronounce the word (ann-TEE-tum). The battle of Antietam featured the single bloodiest day of the U.S. Civil War with over 20,000 casualties. Many of the landmarks now feature the adjective "bloody". Needless to say, there are quite a few monuments here and that's all I am going to say about that. The landscape here is somewhat less dramatic than the landscape at Gettysburg but, in my opinion, more beautiful, featuring mostly rolling farmland and views of the Appalachian Mountains in the distance. Once again, we were able to enjoy cloudless skies and temperatures in the mid-60s (F).

This was in the Dunker Church, located near the Bloody Cornfield. I was making a point about petitioning the Lord with prayer. (For any fans of 'The Doors' out there). I thought the church was named for the preacher but I found out that it carries that name because the congregation of German Baptists that worshiped there believed in full immersion baptisms. They also were big fans of an austere simplicity which helps to explain the decor.

If there's something equal in Wendy to her love of cows, it's her love of trees. Here, she is gaining some energy from an old soul that, from the looks of the tree's diameter, was probably already middle-aged at the time of the battle. I gave it a hug too, but declined a photographic record.

This monument was for a brigade comprised of Irish immigrants from New York City. The granite was quarried in County Cork and there's some lovely Celtic knots and a Shamrock in bronze on the top. (This one's for you Dale.)

The phrase 'Guns and Butter' comes to mind, at least until you realize it's a steer.

This picture, and the two below, are at the Antietam National Cemetery. There are 2200 soldiers buried there.

This is the Burnside Bridge over Antietam Creek. The Confederate troops held the high ground from where this picture was taken and the Union troops took heavy casualties before they were able to advance. There's a long trail from here to Snaverly's Ford down lower on Antietam Creek that was absolutely beautiful in the autumn afternoon.

Thought I would throw in a quick Eurovan repair update here: There's was a slight snafu in shipping the engine (warranty company and parts supplier pointing fingers while it sat on a shipping dock for four days) but I am happy to report that the engine is in transit and expected to arrive at the dealers on Monday. So, cross your fingers, we should be heading south around Wednesday. Funny, because we picked up a Hagerstown tourist guide at the Bavarian Restaurant (excellent!) downtown where we ate last night and now we're joking that we hope to have time to squeeze in a few more interesting things. There's a zoo and an alpaca farm that we want to check out and we have promised ourselves a return to Catoctin Mountain to check out Hogg Rock. Why should Wolves get all the attention?

-Gerry & Wendy (credits as usual)


  1. Wonderful photos! The season looks very different from here in Sweden, where it is already pre-winter and the sun sets at 3.30. It is a pleasure following your trip, Gerry and Wendy! And hope the van arrives safely, this time.

  2. @Jenny: Wendy's the shooter for the most part. I work in words. I've been writing sonnets, of all things, about the sites we visit. They're posted over at tealpoems. I don't know what's come over me. 3.30, eh? No wonder Stieg Larssons's characters drink so much coffee. We hope to be south bound next week. Cheers,

  3. Gerry, forgot to say that I also enjoy reading the texts here and I have read your new poems too. Nice stuff. Yeah, in December the sun sets at 2.00, but in June the sun never sets (almost). We have heavy seasons here alright.


  4. I enjoy American history and have read about Antietam but have never seen it. Have been to Gettysburg, though.
    Not sure what I think of battlefields turned into historic sites. Strange concept, in a way.

  5. @Tree: Indeed. Nature->Slaughter->Nature + Monuments.

  6. Just stumbled on your visit to Antietam battlefield. The events preceeding and especially, following this bloodiest day are more r evealing and far reaching than the minutia of mayhem found on monuments. Would love to bore you to death with a detailed discourse. Yr.frnd.

  7. @Anonymous: Do you have said discourse in PDF format? I'd love to read it.

  8. PDF forthcoming however, for the moment, the extended view includes found cigars and a limited version of freedom. Yf