Feeling Left Out of the Antietam Festivities?

I know the feeling.  It’s a beautiful morning here in Boston, but I would much rather be tramping along the Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg just about now.  Here are a few options for those of you looking to feel more connected today and tomorrow.  First, C-SPAN [Click here if you do not get C-SPAN 3 (10am EST)] will provide live coverage of events today at the battlefield, which include a series of talks and Q&A from James McPherson, Mark Neely, and Harold Holzer.  They will also broadcast a tour of the battlefield led by Brooks Simpson and Mark Grimsley.  I believe this is the tour they led as part of the most recent Civil War Institute back in June.  I also highly recommend checking out the Civil War Trust’s Antietam 360.  It puts you right on the battlefield and for you teachers it also makes for a great classroom application.

You might also want to check out Megan Kate Nelson’s CWI talk on the photographs of the Antietam dead.  You can find plenty of video of the two Antietam reenactments that were held last week on YouTube.  For those of you on twitter you can follow the hashtags #Antietam and #Antietam150 for additional links, pics, and commentary.

Finally, I suspect that most of you have read your fair share of Antietam books and essays.  Richard Slotkin’s new book is out.  I’ve read sections of it and it reads well, but like his recent study of the Crater, which I enjoyed , it is not built on extensive research in the archives or even the secondary literature.  My recommendation is to pre-order Scott Hartwig’s forthcoming study, To Antietam Creek: The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 (Johns Hopkins University Press).  Many of us have been looking forward to this one for some time.  Scott is a dynamite historian and at 800 pages it promises to be the most thorough analysis since Joseph Harsh’s 2-volume study.  I should have an advanced copy in hand in the next few days.

That should get you started in creating your own personal Antietam 150 experience.  Enjoy.

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7 comments… add one
  • Dawn @ Finding the Happy Sep 16, 2012 @ 23:09

    I’m heading up there (it’s about a 25 minute drive) in a couple of hours to witness sunrise – it won’t be my first, but likely my last there, as we’re moving away from the area soon. I had no idea how interesting and moving the experience would be when I first moved down here from New Hampshire (I’m originally from Rhode Island), and will be sad to move away. We’ve lived here 3 years, and I’ve felt this pull to visit there often.

  • Jim Dick Sep 16, 2012 @ 19:38

    I’m watching the replay of the live Antietam special on CSPAN3. I only caught a quarter of Dwight Pitcaithley’s part, but I noticed two questioners that brought up the question of why historians don’t consider economics, specifically the Morrill Tariff as the cause of the war. I thought Dwight’s answers were right on the money. The evidence is simply overwhelming that it was slavery that caused the war. One gentleman refused to accept the answer but I noticed he appeared to be stating his opinion, not any facts.
    The other thing I noticed was the age of the reenactors so far in the program. Most are older in their 50’s to be generous. I think the trend of graying in the reenactment ranks is not going away.
    Great program. I don’t have to work tomorrow as I worked today so I’m staying up late watching the show. Really looking forward to James McPherson’s segments, one of which is with Ed Bearss!

  • Keith Muchowski Sep 16, 2012 @ 18:47

    I know what you mean, Kevin. We wanted to go this weekend as well but it just wasn’t feasible. We spent a good part of the evening looking at the photos on the Antietam NPS Facebook page. Next Sunday we are going to Harlem to see Lincoln’s handwritten Emancipation Proclamation. In a real sense it is part of the Maryland Campaign. Maybe this is happening and I haven’t heard, but I think a great sesquicentennial event would have been a recreation of the Brady Studio photographs exhibited in New York in October 1862.

  • dallas daniel hessler junior Sep 16, 2012 @ 6:05

    750,000 died-
    2morrow is going 2 b the 150th anniversary
    what r u gonna do

    • Kevin Levin Sep 16, 2012 @ 6:06

      I am sure most people will be going to work.

  • Marilyn Jess Sep 16, 2012 @ 3:42

    The Antietam tour, now showing on CSPAN 3, is led by Brooks Simpson and Mark Grimsley. It’s outstanding, and if you think you could ford Antietam Creek, under fire, watch Mark do it–not under fire!

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