Monday, September 14, 2009

Vacation: Day 8 Antietam

Our original plan for Day 8 was to pack up camp and go back across the Chesapeake Bay, through Maryland, up to Antietam and then on North to my brother, Eric's, house in Pittsburgh. BUT....since we didn't get to spend much time at the beach on Day 7 we decided to stay and swim until noon. Mom and Dad went ahead without us and we hit the beach.

Kinley and I built a pitiful sandcastle. I don't know much about sand, but I don't think that beach had the right kind for sandcastles. We had fun anyway. She also spent a lot of time collecting shells.
Of course the boys were swimming and body surfing like pros and once again they were dejected when we told them it was time to leave. As we were packing up I decided to try to take an "artsy" photo to chronicle our trip.
I also wanted a picture of the family on the beach with the ocean behind us. I asked an elderly lady that had been sitting near us in a beach chair reading all morning if she would take the picture. She said, "Sure hon, just tell me which button to push." I showed her the little silver button and posed with the family. This is the picture we discovered later.

Obvioulsy she had an itchy trigger finger. I should probably be thankful there isn't a close up of me in my swimsuit anyway.

It was time to leave the Atlantic Ocean and Assateague Island behind us, hopefully forever. (Not the Atlantic so much, but Assateague for sure. There are much better places to go to the beach. Places where you won't leave covered from head to toe in bites. Places where your kids won't be crying and scratching in their sleep. The really sad thing is there was a couple camping next to us that had come to Assateague Island from Florida because they had heard it was a good beach. They were not happy!) But before we left for good we had to snag a souvenir.

Next, it was on to Antietam. To tell you the truth Brian was the only one that still wanted to go. We had all had about as much history as we could fit in to one vacation. But he was driving, so what could we do? As it turned out we got there in the late afternoon and just did the driving tour. Compared to Gettysburg it was much smaller and easier to understand and invision all of the troop movements because they happened all on one day....instead of being spread over three days. Gettysburg was the blooidest battle of the war but Antietam (Sharpsburg for you Rebels) was the bloodiest one day battle of the war. And a lot of the casualties occured on this "sunken road".
The Confederates used the road as a natural fox hole. They hid inside and fought for several hours but Union forces were finally able to break through the center of their line. Meanwhile Union General Burnside was trying to take the bridge over Antietam Creek. We hiked to the bridge and stood right on the banks of the creek where Burnside's men tried to take cover from the musketballs of the Confederate soldiers that were hailing down on them from the hill on the otherside of the creek. Eventually Burnside was victorious but their were massive casulties on both sides. Wooden planks were ripped off of the bridge guardrails and used as headstones for the hundreds of graves along the banks of the creek. (I was apparently too exhausted at this point to remember to take any pictures of the bridge and the creek and surrounding hills.)

I did remember to get my camera out later as we got a good view of the sunken road and surrounding battlefield from this tower.It was a LONG climb up.

Like Gettysburg, there were monuments erected by various states all over the battlefields at Antietam. I took a picture of this one because I wanted to remember this guy and do some reasearch on him. I am telling you, somebody needs to write a screenplay about Thomas Meagher. His life was unbelievable!! It really would make a great historical action adventure movie. Meagher was born in Ireland in 1823. He became a fiery Irish revolutionary in an attempt to release Ireland from British rule. He earned the nickname Meagher of the Sword and fought countless battle in the struggle for Irish Independence. He was captured by the British and sent to a penal colony on Tasmania in 1848. He somehow managed to escape and make his way to the United States in 1852. He lived in New York City where he studied law and journalism. When the Civil War started he immediately joined up and formed his Irish Brigade. He worked his way up through the ranks of the army and eventually became a brigadier general. After the war he became the governor of Montana, but in 1867, in unexplained circumstances, he fell from a steamboat into the Columbia River and drown. His body was never recovered. You couldn't make something that outrageous up if you tried. Wouldn't that be a great movie?

Anyway, we left Antietam and headed for Pittsburgh. We didn't get to my brother's house until 10:30pm or so. Everybody was asleep, so we threw our blankets on the floor and immediately zonked out ourselves. It had been a long day....a long week, but we still had some visiting and some baseball in store for us.

Come back Wednesday to read about our AWESOME baseball experience.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing my first attempt at a Julia Child recipe. Don't miss it.

To read about Day One traveling and Day Two in Gettysburg go here.
To read about Day Three in Baltimore go here and here.
To read about Day Four in Washington D.C. go here.
To read about Day Five in Washington D.C. go here. and here.
To read about Day Six on Assateague Island go here.
To read about Day Seven on Chincoteague Island go here.

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