J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “Antietam”

Halloween Hauntings and the Civil War (Pt. 3)

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The bloodiest day in American history began on September 17, 1862 at Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, Maryland. Union and Confederate troops clashed with a series of attacks and counterattacks. Toward the center of the battlefield, Union assaults against the Sunken Road pierced through the Confederate line. Later, the third and final assault came from the Union army as they pushed over a bullet-strewn stone bridge spanning Antietam Creek. Just as the Confederates began to collapse, reinforcements arrived and drove the Federals back across the bridge, which later became known as Burnside Bridge. The battle ended in a draw, but President Abraham Lincoln decided it was enough of a “victory” to support his Emancipation Proclamation. More than 23,000 men were killed, wounded, or MIA. The road near Antietam Creek came to be known as Bloody Lane, and the creek flowed red with blood.

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Not surprisingly, the Antietam battlefield is reportedly one of the most haunted places in the country. Visitors have heard gunfire and smelled gunpowder near the Bloody Lane when it was completely deserted, and many have seen ghostly apparitions in that area. Confederate soldiers approached them on the lane only to disappear into thin air. Burnside’s Bridge and St. Paul Episcopal Church, which was used as a Confederate hospital following the battle, are also haunted. According to local legend, the floorboards of the church are so bloodstained that not even sandpaper can take the stains out.

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The sound of singing can sometimes be heard echoing across the eerily quiet battlefield. The tune sounds like “Deck the Halls.” During the battle, some Irish-American Confederates used a Gaelic hymn as their battle cry. The hymn sounded very similar to the Christmas melody.

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The Antietam battlefield is listed as the most haunted place in Maryland by the Travel Channel.

https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/haunted/photos/the-creepiest-places-in-all-50-states?nl=HGI_101718_bottom4link1_creepy-places&bid=14776790&c32=859a6a01caa81d860965bc366bf4296d9cc89268&ssid=2015_HGTV_json_confirmation_api&sni_by=1959&sni_gn=

 

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The Battle of Antietam

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On this date in 1862, the single bloodiest day in American history took place near Sharpsburg, Maryland. The battle claimed over 22,000 casualties. Although the battle was later declared as a draw, President Abraham Lincoln used it as an opportunity to launch his Emancipation Proclamation, which would go into effect on New Years Day, 1863. However, his freeing slaves only applied to Southern states that had seceded from the Union, and didn’t apply to slave holding states in the North.

https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/battle-of-antietam

Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, describing the battle from the perspective of solders who fought for the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

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At 3:00 a.m., the men were awakened to the sound of McClellan’s army attacking the Georgians, who had come to their relief the previous night. For an hour and a half, the battle raged, until General Hood was called upon for assistance. He brought his two brigades to the front, one of which included the 4thAlabama. As they were ordered to line up,

Orange Hugh approached his messmates in a panic.

“Have y’all seen Bo?” he asked. “I woke up, and he was gone.”

“Nope. Ain’t seen him,” replied Blue Hugh with a smirk. “He might be buzzard food by now.”

“Don’t pay him no mind,” said Hiram. “Bo will show up. He’s likely jist hidin’ somewhere.”

“I surely hope so,” replied Orange Hugh. “We’re both anxious to git back to Richmond so we can visit Miss Betsy!”

Blue Hugh chuckled. “Don’t be such a skylark. We ain’t headed back there. I heard tell General Lee wants us to march up to Harrisburg.”

“Is that a fact?” inquired Bud.

“It’s what I heard.”

The men were instructed to advance toward their enemy. They audaciously marched across an open field in front of the church, in perfect alignment, while a hailstorm of Minié balls rained down on them. Because it was still too dark to see, the men could hardly determine who was shot, except for random screams that came across the field both near and far, and they were unable to distinguish between blue and gray uniforms. Solid shot cracked into skulls and bones, which sounded like breaking eggshells.

They stumbled along, making their way to a grove of trees. Hiram heard Lieutenant Stewart and his comrade, Lieutenant King, yelling at someone. He could make out that it was Dozier, who had fallen down and was refusing to get back up. The officers grew frustrated, so they kicked the young private before they continued on and left him behind.

Springing to his feet, Dozier sprinted back toward the church.

The Confederates advanced into the trees, skirmishing with their enemies as they drove them out. Captain Scruggs, who fell wounded, was quickly replaced by Captain Robbins. Realizing they were at an advantage, the Rebels shot down scores of Yankees while concealing themselves in the cover of trees, fighting savagely despite their extreme hunger and fatigue. Other regiments of their brigade, the Texans, South Carolinians, and Georgians, were out in the open on their left, and suffered because of it. As dawn began to lighten the sky, Hiram noticed a Union general riding around the field on a large white horse.

“Who do you reckon that is?” he asked, to no one in particular.

Smoke billowed across the field, but the white horse still remained visible.

“That there’s Fightin’ Joe Hooker,” Lieutenant King informed him.

“He’s makin’ himself an easy target, ain’t he?” The lieutenant laughed at the Union general’s absurdity.

Yankee artillery fired into General Hood’s right flank and rear, causing the Rebels to fall back. The ground was scattered with bodies, most of which were clad in blue. Many Confederate soldiers had exhausted their ammunition when Lieutenant Stewart informed them they had been fighting for nearly three hours straight. Fearing the enemy would chase after them, they quickly re-formed, but discovered their haste was unnecessary, as the Yankees failed to respond. The Alabamians took much-needed time to replenish their ammunition and catch their breath.

General Hood directed his men back to the church to retire.

Suddenly, a shell flew by, blowing off the top of Lieutenant King’s head. The body dropped limply into a pool of blood and brain matter. Bud and Hiram looked at each other, dazed, their faces blackened by gunpowder. They turned and walked away, putting the horrific sight behind them, both knowing there was nothing they could do for the man.

Finally, Hiram said, “I won’t ever git used to seein’ that.”

“I already am,” Bud remarked indifferently. “I know it’s a terrible thing to say, but after a while, those boys jist look like dead animal carcasses to me.”

Hiram glared at him for a moment, shocked by his callousness.

“Life is uncertain, but death…is certain,” Bud added under his breath.

While they walked across the field, which was strewn with bodies, they tried not to look into the pinched faces, whose eyes stared vacantly up at the sunny morning sky. Young men not more than eighteen, their cheeks once rosy with the blossom of vigor and manhood, lay cold and still, bathing in their own hearts’ blood. Some didn’t even look human, while others were missing heads, arms, legs, or torsos. Several members of the regiment scurried around the battlefield, placing the wounded on stretchers. The victims cried out in anguish, their blood leaking from their broken bodies like fractured wine bottles as they were carried away. Bud heard a persistent whimpering sound, so he followed it, and walked around an enormous oak tree, its trunk riddled with bullet holes.

“Hiram! Y’all had best git over here!”

Hiram and Blue Hugh walked over to see what Bud was gawking at. They went around the tree, and saw Orange Hugh with his little dog, Bo, sitting on his lap. The young man seemed to be asleep sitting up, his body leaning back against the trunk. Bo whined pathetically, and licked Orange Hugh’s face like he was trying to wake him.

“Dear Lord,” said Hiram under his breath.

“It’s a damned shame,” remarked Bud, slowly shaking his head.

Blue Hugh stared down at his comrade for a moment. “Reckon he’s seen his last fight,” he blurted. “Good-bye, Hugh.” He turned and walked away.

Hiram frowned, appalled by the man’s insensitivity.

Returning to the church, the Alabamians settled in, and sustained on what meager rations they had left: half an ounce each of beef and green corn. Noticing Bo wander into their bivouac, Bud took the little dog into his arms. One of the men said that after the 4th had started across the field that morning, he saw Bo climb out of a hole from under the church.

As artillery blasted away in the distance, Bud and Hiram reflected on the day’s events, sadly conveying their regret for losing such a fine young friend and soldier as Orange Hugh.

Intentionally changing the subject, Hiram remarked, “Strange how all the wildlife knows when there’s a battle brewin’. They all high tail it out of there. Even the bugs vanish.”

“I’ve noticed that myself,” said Bud. “I’m right glad for it, too. I hate seein’ innocent critters suffer, like those poor warhorses with their legs blown off.”

Hiram grunted. “It bothers you to see dead horses, but not dead soldiers?”

“Of course it bothers me. I’ve jist built up a tolerance for it, is all. Except when it comes to someone I know. That’s different.”

With a sigh, Hiram said, “They all remind me too much of David. I don’t reckon I’ll ever build up a tolerance for that.”

“It makes you not want to git too close to any of them,” said Bud.

Hiram grew solemnly quiet, considering his own mortality.

An hour passed. McLaws’ Division arrived from Harpers Ferry, moved to the front, and immediately became engaged, while the 4th Alabama was held in reserve. The fighting was intense, until darkness finally interrupted it, with neither side emerging triumphant. Soon the Alabamians fell asleep from utter exhaustion, but were roused in the middle of the night, and marched across the Potomac to the Virginia side.

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Glittering-Lie-Novel-Renagade/dp/1544842481/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1537244747&sr=8-1&keywords=a+beautiful+glittering+lie

A Battlefield Victory

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It’s always amazing when something like this happens. A few days ago, I received an email from the Civil War Trust, stating that they had secured 10 acres of the battlefield at Brandy Station. The area is known as Fleetwood Hill, where Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart had his headquarters before the surprise battle took place.

The Battle of Brandy Station was the largest cavalry battle to take place on North American soil. It happened on June 9, 1863, following  a Grand Review by Stuart’s troops. Union General Gregg saw the dust that was stirred up and surprised the Confederates early the following morning. The Rebels managed to reign the day and fulfill their mission, which was to mask General Robert E. Lee’s infantry as they made their way north. Brandy Station was a prelude to the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Last year, the CWT secured 56 acres of the battlefield. This is significant, because housing developments had been encroaching on the area for years. It doesn’t make sense how this could have been allowed to happen, since it is hallowed ground in my opinion, but it isn’t the only Civil War battlefield that has been neglected or destroyed. The CWT has now secured over 1,900 acres at Brandy Station.

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Other significant battlefields that the CWT has been working on include Antietam and Gettysburg. A few years ago, I visited the Wilderness Battlefield, and was appalled to see how many houses were built on the hallowed site. Hopefully, the CWT can secure more land in that area as well.

Read more about the Battle of Brandy Station in my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire.

http://www.amazon.com/Beckoning-Hellfire-Novel-Civil-War/dp/0595435319/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462942766&sr=8-1&keywords=a+beckoning+hellfire

 

New Interview by J.D.R. Hawkins

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I’m honored to have been asked to give another interview to indieBRAG, which sponsors the B.R.A.G. Medallion award to a chosen number of indie published works. My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, is the recipient of this prestigious award. The interview is re-posted below:

Interview Part II with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree J.D.R. Hawkins
July 14, 2014 by layeredpages

JDR Hawkins

Stephanie: I would like to welcome back J.D.R. Hawkins for a follow up interview about her B.R.A.G. Medallion book, “A Beautiful Glittering Lie.”. She is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines and blogs. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, the Mississippi Writers Guild, Rocky Mountain Writers and Pikes Peak Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Her two previous novels, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire, have received numerous honors and awards. Ms. Hawkins is currently working on a nonfiction book about the Civil War, as well as a Young Adult historical fiction and a memoir. Learn more about J.D.R. here.

Hello, J.D.R.! Thank you for visiting with me again to talk about your B.R.A.G. Medallion book, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Please bring readers up to speed about the premise of your story.

J.D.R.: The novel is the first in a four-book series, which I call “The Renegade Series.” It’s a saga about the Summers family from North Alabama, and what happens to them when the Civil War erupts.

Stephanie: I think it’s great that you have written a story about a Southern Soldier & a family rather than an officer or strictly about warfare tactics. I believe you bring readers closer to the events that took place during that time by doing so. What are a couple of this soldier’s struggles he faces during the Civil War?

J.D.R.: The first struggle that the father, Hiram Summers, faces is whether or not to support Alabama when the state secedes. The second is leaving his family once he decides to enlist. And from that point on, surviving every battle, from First Manassas to Fredericksburg, is a struggle.

Stephanie: In my last interview with you, you said that part of your research was travelling to various battlefields. What are the names of the battlefields you visited and what were some of the thoughts and emotions you experienced?

J.D.R.: My husband and I visited many Virginia battlefields, including Manassas (Bull Run), Sharpsburg (Antietam), Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg. We also went to Brandy Station, where the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War took place. And, of course, we went to Gettysburg. That battlefield was the most profound. How those foot-weary soldiers fought over such rugged terrain amazes me. And seeing the National Cemetery, with all the unknown soldiers’ markers, as well as the mass graves of the Confederates, was overwhelming. So many gave their lives, and that was just in one battle.

Stephanie: How long did it take to write your story and what were some of the challenges?

J.D.R.: It took me about six months to research and six months to write, so a year overall. I think the biggest challenge was trying to make the battle scenes come to life from a soldier’s perspective. A Beautiful Glittering Lie is based on a journal by one of the soldiers who fought with the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment. By referring to his observations and perceptions of the battles he participated in, it was easier to visualize what those men went through.

Stephanie: Did you learn anything new about the Civil War in your research you didn’t know before?

J.D.R: I discovered much about how Alabama was affected by the war. Hiram’s son, David, sees firsthand the devastation taking place when he sneaks into occupied Huntsville. Union soldiers were not always gentlemanly in their treatment of the locals, women, and especially, black people. The scenes described in the book, as well as the Union officers who were in Huntsville and the surrounding area, are based on fact.

Stephanie: What about this period of time in American history impacted you the most to write this story?

J.D.R.: I have always been fascinated with the Victorian era, and the Civil War in particular. The war was not completely about slavery, which is a popular belief. The causes were far more complex, but basically, the war was a result of economics and political greed. As is the case in many instances in American history, citizens become pawns to politicians’ schemes and disagreements.

Stephanie: Which character in your story are you most partial to and why?

J.D.R: I’d have to say that I’m most partial to David. At the beginning of the story, he is just a teenager. Instead of going to fight, which is what he wants to do, he stays behind to tend to the family’s farm, thus fulfilling his promise to his father. However, like any teenage boy, he is hungry for adventure, so he goes off to find it, but bites off more than he can chew.

Stephanie: Writing Historical fiction can be tricky with blending the right amount of fiction with fact. What advice would you give a new writer wanting to do so?

J.D.R.: My advice would be to immerse yourself in the period you want to write about. Read letters, journals, speeches, newspaper articles, and books written about and during that era to get a feel for what people experienced and how they expressed themselves. Study the fashions, the political undercurrent, fads, music, artwork, and photographs. I listened to Civil War music while I wrote to get myself in the right mindset. Know your facts inside and out, but don’t go overboard with description, because that can bore your readers. Instead, sprinkle tidbits throughout your book. Once you are completely familiar with the era you want to write about, develop your plot. Let your characters grow with the story. I ended up writing things that weren’t in the original outline because my characters seemed to take on personas of their own, especially in their dialogue. If possible, visit the places you are writing about to learn the terrain, the architecture, and regional dialects.

Stephanie: What is up next for you and will there be more stories that take place during this period?

J.D.R.: I plan on publishing the third book in “The Renegade Series.” (The second book, A Beckoning Hellfire, has been published.) I’m also working on a nonfiction book about the Civil War, a Young Adult novel, and a memoir.

Stephanie: How did you discover indieBRAG?

J.D.R.: I learned about it from Writer’s Digest magazine.

Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?

J.D.R.: The book is available everywhere. It can be ordered through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at all other book retailers. Readers can also purchase it through my website.

A message from BRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview J.D.R. Hawkins, who is the author of, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, one of our medallion honorees at indieBRAG . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

Three Civil War Reenactments

Last weekend marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. For the occasion, numerous events were scheduled to take place at Antietam National Battlefield Park near Sharpsburg, Maryland. The battle, which transpired on September 17, 1862, was the bloodiest single day in American history. Over 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing. Last weekend, hundreds of spectators and reenactors transcended upon sacred soil to recreate the terrible ordeal.

Another reenactment that took place last weekend was the 150th anniversary Battle of Farmington near Corinth, Mississippi. The original battle, May 3-5, 1862, occurred following the Battle of Shiloh, when Confederate troops were forced southward by the Union army. The result was a skirmish near Farmington, Mississippi, followed by a clash at Corinth, which happened October 3-4, 1862.

Next weekend, the 149th anniversary of the Battle of Collierville will take place at Schilling Farms in Collierville, Tennessee. Four minor battles took place in Collierville over a three-month period in 1863. The two largest battles were on October 11 and November 3. The battle on October 11 was the largest land battle ever to be fought in Shelby County. This weekend, special events are slated to commemorate the battles. For more information, please visit: http://colliervillebattle.org/

A Beautiful Glittering Lie (Excerpt 3)

On strict orders to respect the citizens, the men were on their best behavior, and didn’t disturb anything. Upon entering Maryland, the Rebels received an icy reception, which was not at all what they had expected. The Marylanders had heard from Union sympathizers in Europe that Lee expected to conscript all able-bodied men for his army. Even though that wasn’t the case, the Marylanders’ sentiments were equally divided. Hiram heard a few spectators, who were observing their march from open second-story windows, comment on how they couldn’t distinguish the generals from the enlisted men, because they were all in filthy tatters. General Lee had his regimental bands play “Maryland, My Maryland.” His men cheered while they marched through, but they were later disappointed, for they were unable to successfully recruit enough soldiers to increase their depleted ranks.

One man they did recruit, however, was Bernard Kelton, who substituted for his brother. He was a stocky young man with a pleasant disposition, and because of it, Bud and Hiram took to him right away. Another was Dozier Downs, a thin, scruffy-looking character with shifty eyes.

“My brother’s wife jist had a baby,” Bernie explained while the men trudged along, “so I volunteered to take his place.”

“That was right nice of you,” remarked Bud.

“I’ll make certain he returns the favor,” Bernie joked.

“I’m in it for the bonus,” Dozier apathetically stated.

“So much for pride and valor,” Bud mumbled to Hiram.

He understood what Bud meant. Soldiers forced to fight had no patriotic motivation whatsoever, and Dozier was just one example of many. “They say war can make heroes out of cowards,” he replied with a shrug, repeating what he had heard other men in the ranks proclaim.

“Yeah, but it’s the exact opposite case for some fellers,” Bud added sarcastically, glancing at Dozier, who he knew was out of earshot.

The men made their way through unfamiliar terrain, weighed down with haversacks, bedrolls, cartridges, weaponry, and whatever cooking utensils they deemed essential. Many were without shoes. They were also lacking in equipment and numbers, thus making their Maryland campaign miserable.

The Rebels heard that General Pope had been replaced by none other than McClellan, who had turned his Grand Army of the Potomac away from Washington and was headed back in the direction of Fredericktown. The Alabamians reached Hagerstown, and awaited news from Jackson. While there, they discovered that the Maryland countryside had been left virtually untainted, unlike the ravaged landscape of Virginia.

Their reprieve was short-lived, for the next morning, September 14, they were ordered to hurriedly prepare rations, and march back to Boonsborough Gap. The men learned that their sudden turnabout was due to a blunder made during the previous week. A copy of Confidential Special Order No. 191, wrapped around three cigars, was discovered by a Union soldier in Fredericktown, and given to General McClellan. The order outlined Lee’s intentions, so McClellan reacted by attempting to cut off the Confederate army, which was scattered from Harpers Ferry to Hagerstown. The Alabamians raced to the aid of General Hill, who was subjected to protecting the gap with his small army until reinforcements arrived.

After struggling through a fourteen-mile march, the Alabamians arrived between three and four o’clock that afternoon, exhausted from their strenuous excursion over the mountain.  The 4th was immediately put into action, commanded to attack the enemy to the left of the road with fixed bayonets. They were then ordered to their right. The men charged through an apple orchard over-laden with fruit. Starving, yet unable to pick any because time wouldn’t allow it, they forged ahead with the Texans and the rest of Colonel Law’s 3rd Brigade. Night fell before they could reach their opponents, so they positioned themselves in a sunken road for protection. The enemy continued firing into laurel trees standing several yards away, but to no avail, for the pelting of their bullets whacked into the trunks. At one point, Colonel McLemore climbed up on a nearby wooden rail fence to reconnoiter, but he was hit in the shoulder.

The firing tapered off, and soon Hiram and his comrades fell asleep. Around midnight, they were ordered to go quietly down the road, one at a time, in an attempt to sneak past the enemy. Carrying Colonel McLemore on a stretcher, they managed to escape, and continued on until they reached the Antietam River near Sharpsburg at noon the next day, where they learned that General Jackson had successfully captured Harpers Ferry, because McClellan was too slow to prevent it. The Alabamians found the opportunity to wash their ragged, butternut clothing, and take much needed baths.

While they stood in waist-deep water, waiting for their clothes to dry, Bud said, “I don’t know if y’all have noticed, but it seems to me the Yankees jist don’t run out. They keep on comin’ like an endless tidal wave.”

Hiram dunked his head under the cool water. Letting it rivulet down his face and through the stubble on his chin, he replied, “I have noticed. We’re up against Goliath, I’ll wager that.”

“Maybe we’ll whip them before year’s end,” said  Orange Hugh optimistically.

“It’s my understandin’ that if we win another battle, Europe will pay us notice, and possibly come to our defense,” said Hiram.

“That’s all well and good,” Bud remarked, “but what if we don’t win? Our troops and ammunition are runnin’ low.”

Hiram and Orange Hugh looked at each other.  “We’ll win,” Orange Hugh defiantly said with a grin.

Hiram hoped he was right.

Virginians Have All the Fun

It’s times like these I wish I lived in Virginia. Sure, Mississippi is nice (and hot!) in the summer, and there are lots of Civil War events slated for next month. But the place to be right now for Civil War action is in Virginia.

Some reenactments that have recently transpired include a depiction of J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry riding around McClellan, which took place in June. How much fun that must have been! Last weekend was the 150th Battle of 2nd Manassas/Bull Run in Middletown, Virginia. With the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States in full swing, there are plenty more events coming up.

Tomorrow will be the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Mountain in Culpeper County. August 17-19 is the reenactment of the Battle of Saltville, as well as a Civil War show in Richmond. The weekend of August 24 will be the 150th Second Manassas Anniversary Event, and the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Kettle Run at Bristoe Station Battlefield Park. At nearby Sharpsburg, Maryland, the 150th Battle of Antietam-Sharpsburg is scheduled to take place the weekend of September 14-16. And the 148th Battle of Cedar Creek is slated for October 20-21 in Middletown, Virginia.

The daddy of them all will be the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. I strongly recommend reserving your hotel room now. (I went online to reserve one yesterday and they were all sold out in Gettysburg and Hanover, and half were sold out in York.)

The Case of the One-Armed Soldier

It is no mystery that thousands of men lost appendages during Civil War battles. One of the many horrors of that war was the arms and legs that were amputated to prevent gangrene from setting in. Old photographs show some of the gruesome piles of body parts, and many veterans were photographed later with their arms or legs missing.

One of the most famous amputees was Union General Dan Sickles. After he lost his leg at Gettysburg, Sickles (who was a little sick in the head, if you ask me) insisted on keeping the limb, so he sent it to the U. S. Army Medical Museum (now the National Museum of Health and Medicine) in Washington, D. C., with his calling card, “Compliments of D. E. S”. For the rest of his life, Sickles frequently visited the leg.

Bones and remnants of long- lost warriors are constantly being found. The forearm of one of these soldiers was discovered by a local farmer after the Battle of Antietam. Nearly 150 years later, an anonymous donor gave it to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland. The right forearm appears muddy, and the skin and hand are still attached.

After the farmer discovered the arm, he kept it in a barrel of brine until he gave it to a local surgeon, who preserved it in embalming fluid. Eventually, the arm ended up at a private museum in Sharpsburg, and was displayed for years in a glass-topped pine case, with a placard that read, “Human arm found on the Antietam Battlefield.” The elbow joint appears undamaged, but the skin and tendons look to have been violently twisted.

Forensics experts are examining the limb to try and determine the nationality of the owner, as well as his diet and age. It is highly unlikely that they will ever discover who the arm actually belonged to, but who knows. The case could someday be solved.

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