Harpers Ferry, Antietam & Gettysburg

Willie would sing on this log, but the solemnity of these sites are too deep for any other than

'God Bless America'

Hearken to the words of Thomas Jefferson uttered some 40 years prior to the Civil War!

thomas Jefferson

Harpers Ferry

We were so fortunate to have visited Harpers Ferry and the Battle Fields of Antietam with Richard and Becky Almeter. They moved to West Virginia last year, very close to Antietam and Harpers Ferry. Richard is and always has been a Volunteer, so besides chauffeuring a Shrine Children's Van taking Children to the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia he has become a Certified Field Guide for the Antietam National Park. Talk about a 'Private Tour"! We had it at its best with our private guide.

** As in all my Logs the word '(Download)' is a link to the enlargement of that particular picture. We encourage to download the photo as enjoy details pf the enlargement. **

The Railroad Bridge over the Potomac river, and note the old rock foundations of the Civil War Bridge.

Railroad at Harpers Ferry(Download)

Harpers Ferry at the gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains is where the Potomac and the Shenandoah Rivers converge. This site has always been a natural avenue of transportation in the history of our nation. In 1733 the ferry began its operation at this confluence; and then after the Revolutionary War in 1794 the Army established an Armory here for the forging of guns, tools, and armament. The Ferry operated for 90 years, before a bridge was built crossing the Potomac

It was here where Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition outfitted for their historical pilgrimage to the Pacific in 1803.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry was rated the number one National Park Tourist site for 2015. Below is the National Appalachian Visitor's Center. Harpers Ferry is at the midway point of the Appalachian Trail. The Trail actually runs parallel to the building pictured, AND I WALKED ITS LENGTH AND CLEAR TO THE TREES. So for the Record I too have walked on the Appalachian Trail.

Aplician Trail(Download)

Harpers Ferry again played a significant role at the beginning of the Civil War. For it was here, that John Brown attacked the Armory in hopes of outfitting his fighting forces. Subsequencly but quickly he was tried and hung in Charleston, MD for this attack, and.

This is the old US Armory he attacked.


Harpers Ferry was an active center of Union and Confederate battles throughout the War, for the B & O Railroad was the major transportation link to the industrial complexes in Pittsburgh and in Ohio. General Lee's first push to the north was attempted at Antietam only 18 miles north in Maryland in the fall of 1862.

The Maryland Campaign: Antietam, September 16th ~ 18th, 1862

The Army of the Potomac: 87,000 Soldiers
The Army of Northern Virgina: 45,000 Soldiers

The Dunker Baptist Church September 18th, 1862.

No! War is never clean; for there is always smoke, explosions, wounded weary men, and death. This Church was the center of the charge of the Antietam Battle.

The church(Download)

The Dunker Church today is part of the Antietam National Park


The inside of the Dunker Church. Notice the Men sat of the left and the Women on the right. Not a bad idea as Dottie could not punch me, IF I were to ever nod off.


The National Park Service has done a marvelous job in acquiring the properties, where these battles were fought here at Antietam but also at Gettysburg. And they have been meticulous in the restoration of these farms and structures to be as closely as possible to what was there in this peaceful valley the day before the battle. If there were a field then there is a field now, it there were an orchard then there is an orchard now.

You see the Church left of center in this picture


The Confederate invasion at Sharpsburg, Maryland was so critical; that the President of the United States came to Antietam from Washington to visit with General George McClellan, commander of the Armies of the Potomac.

President Linclon at Antietam(Download)

This bridge is named after Major General Burnside. He had tried to lead his command across this bridge under heavy fire from the Confederate troops holding the high ridge. After 3 hours and several attempts of having soldiers attempt to climb the steep banks out of the river bed the General took his main force a couple of miles west, crossed the river and then was able to dislodged the Confederate forces.

Brunside Bridge(Download)

This is a picture of General Burnsides and please note his side burns. Have you ever wondered where the name 'Side Burns' originated. Well, we can thank Major General Burnsides.

General Burnsides(Download)


This Peaceful Farm lay in the valley the day before the battle. It was here the battle on the 17th the place and has named the "Bloodiest Day of the Civil War".

The Farm House(Download)

Peaaceful Farm(Download)

The Confederates felt they had been successful at Antietam and claimed 'Victory'; as they had disrupted the B&O Railroad at Harpers Ferry, and they had invaded the north by attacking Sharpsburg, Maryland. This was their first time the Confederates had brought the battle to the Union's home soil.

The Union's claim to 'Victory' was that they had stopped General Lee's invasion of the North. Little did they realize that there were two more major battles coming. On September 22, 1862, following the Union 'Victory' at the Battle of Antietam, a draft of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was read by President Abraham Lincoln, thereby free all Slaves held in the Confederate States. This Proclamation forever changed Politically scope of the Civil War.

Reflect that in these three days between the two armies 22,700 American Men lost their lives, were wounded, missing in action or captured.


A Painting of the Battle on July the 3rd, 1863 at Cemetery Ridge.


This is not an attempt to write yet another dissertation on the Civil War or the Battle at Gettysburg, as far more learned men have researched and done that for you. The photographs I took, and they and our dialog are our impressions of these three days of battle on this hollowed ground.

This is our 4th visit to Gettysburg; and with each visit we are humbled by absorbing the pain, the suffering, the dying, and the devastation of these three days in the history of building this great Nation. We always seem to return to the Monument of Pennsylvania; for it was here that the decisive third day battle was fought, and the Pennsylvanian Troops accounted for one third of the Army of the Potomac.

Penn Monument(Download)

This magnificent monument is centered on Cemetery Ridge, and it was here that the Union stopped the Confederacy on the third day of the battle on July 3rd. On two different visits we have walked around this huge monument and read every name of those who served. We were searching for Dottie's ancestors. We know of several who were in the Union Force; however we didn't find any names, we could positively identify as a relative.

Cemetery Ridge is the high ground held by the Union, and this view is looking north from the Pennsylvania Monument.

Artilary Ridge(Download)

This peaceful sloping ground with crops growing and the orchard bearing fruit is as exact as possible to what this country side looked like on the 30th of June in 1863. The Painting first displayed is of the battle that was just three days later.



the Third Day(Download)

The rock wall you see and the monument with the solider with the raised rifle is the line where the Confederate Troops were stopped that afternoon of July 3rd. The monument directly in front of the cannon is where the last of Solider of Pickett's Charge was mortally wounded. Across the expanse in front of you some 6,000 Confederate Soldiers gave their lives late in this the third day of battle. They lived and fought for the cause they held to be just and right.

In this war a wounded soldier was a man out of action. Only 30% of those wounded lived. Putting this in perspective of todays world these figures are exactly reversed. 70% survive against a 30% loss. The sad facts are that War brings change, and it was the Civil war that advanced both the practice of medicine and the art of war. There had to be a better way, and both the Confederacy and the Union searched for those ways.

This was the location of the Second day of the Battle Little Top Mountain was held by the Union, but at a loss of 6,000 troops from both sides.

High Hill(Download)

General Lee's Monument on the Western Slope of the Battle Field.


The North Carolina Monument was sculptured by Gutzon Borglum, and he also sculptured Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. This is of great significance as the North Carolina Regiment began at Gettysburg with 839 men. On the morning of July 4th only 152 were still there to be counted. They gave their all!

North Carolina Monument(Download)

Look at this grade on the three quarters of a mile that the Confederate Forces had to cross to reach Cemetery Ridge.

The Confederate View(Download)

The Battle of Gettysburg was General Lee's second attempt to take the War to the North. The battles were Antietam, then Gettysburg and a few weeks later Manassas. All three campaigns failed and the Civil War was fought on the on the soil of the Confederate States.

But this week in History is ruled the turning point of the Civil War. A thousand miles away on July 4th at Vicksburg, Mississippi the Confederacy surrender giving the Union control of the Mississippi River. Here at Gettysburg where 90,000 Union Soldiers and 75,000 Troops of the Northern Virginia Army engaged in the biggest battle of the War.. The cost in human lives is un-comprehensible. It is estimated that the Union suffered causalities of 23,000 men and the Confederacy 28,000. Our Republic lost 50,000 of its best men from its ranks in just these three days at Gettysburg.

The Gettysburg Address - November 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler and others.

Let us bow our heads in memory an admiration!

Dl & NR

Norm & Dottie

PS...Some great pictures of the Civil War then and now: Click here