Our Country's Fiery Ordeal

A blog about the American Civil War, written and maintained by historian Daniel J. Vermilya, author of The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain (History Press, 2014) and James Garfield and the Civil War (History Press, 2015)

Dedicated to my great-great-great grandfather, Private Ellwood Rodebaugh, Company D, 106th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, killed at the Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862.

"And may an Overuling Providence continue to cause good to come out of evil, justice to be done to all men where injustice has long prevailed, and finally, peace, quiet, and harmony to come out of this terrible confrontation and our country's fiery ordeal." -- Albert Champlin, 105th Ohio, Diary entry of June 19, 1864 (Western Reserve Historical Society)

Monday, March 11, 2013

First Tour of the Year

This past Saturday, I was back at Antietam for the day. No, not in my usual ranger get up. Sequestration and budget concerns keep postponing my return to work, whenever or wherever it may be. This time, I was on my own time leading a group of Hillsdale College students, alumni, and donors on a tour of Antietam. After taking the winter off, it was great to be out on the field in the sunshine. The tour ended up being the longest one I've ever done, as I did a few new things for the students. All in all, it was a great day out on the battlefield. Couldn't have asked for better weather. 

I also had a chance to do some hiking with friend/fellow historian/Antietam Guide/blogger (a man of many hats) Jim Rosebrock. Jim and I did some hiking around the Sunken Road, focusing mostly on the Union approach. I will post some thoughts on what we discussed on here sometime soon.

For now, here are a few pictures from my first tour of 2013. These are courtesy of fellow Hillsdale alum Alice Arnn, who is an excellent photographer.

Starting out at the New York State monument

Using a few friends and Hillsdale alums for a demonstration of McClellan's battle plan

At the Cornfield

 At the Sunken Road

 The group at the Burnside Bridge

This was the third Hillsdale tour of Antietam that I have led, and each time, I take the students to the Antietam National Cemetery to wrap things up. We can see the Final Attack area from the back of the cemetery, and we can talk about what Antietam means in American History. At Hillsdale, lots of time is spent focusing on the great books and great ideas of history. This is wonderful, as it teaches students the foundations of freedom and liberty. Yet, without the sacrifices of common soldiers, such the books and ideas upon which the United States is founded would have long ago been relegated to the dustbin of history. As I told the students on Saturday, Freedom is only as good as the men willing to die to defend it.

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