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, December 31, 2012

Best of 2012

Today, December 31, 2012 is a very historically important date.

First, 40 years ago today, on December 31, 1972, the great Roberto Clemente was killed in a plane crash, taking supplies to earthquake survivors in Nicaragua.

Second, and more relevant to the Civil War, 150 years ago today, the sanguinary struggle at Stones River began. Early in the morning, 150 years ago today, Confederate forces led by Braxton Bragg launched a strong and surprising assault against William Rosecrans Army of the Cumberland just north of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. By the time the fight had ended on January 2nd (after a lull on the 1st), over 20,000 men would be killed, wounded, or missing in one of the bloodiest, and most forgotten, battles of the war.

On a side note, on January 10th, I have been invited by the Bull Run Civil War Roundtable to lead a program on Stones River in Manassas, Virginia. Very much looking forward to the opportunity.

But, as this is the final day of 2012, I wanted to look back at a few of my most fond memories from the past year.

I must begin with the Dr. Joseph L. Harsh Memorial Scholar Award, which I was gratiously awarded by the folks at Save Historic Antietam Foundation. I presented my research at a seminar at Antietam back in September, and am currently attempting to publish the findings. I hope to have good news on that front soon, waiting to hear back from a few editors for now. Anyways, here are a few pics from the seminar. It was a great thrill.

It was also a great year of exciting opportunities at Antietam. I was fortunate enough to have a few stories written about me by reporters who went along on my programs. You can find those here (an article focusing on my ancestor who died at Antietam) and here (an article written by a reporter from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette about Antietam. The reporter tagged along on one of my tours).

I was also fortunate enough to be a part of this video about Antietam, along with my colleague Mannie Gentile.

Back in March, I was able to make a trip to Tennessee with my Dad to go to Stones River, Fort Donelson, and Shiloh. Visiting Shiloh was a lifelong dream come true, and I can't wait to go back. I did a series of posts about the trip, which you can find here: Stones River Post, Fort Donelson Post, and the series of posts I wrote about Shiloh.

I was also able to head down to Georgia for a few days in October to do some research, battlefield hiking, and spend some time with my amazing Uncle Jeff and Aunt Paula (Jeff loves it when I mention him on here, so its the least I can do!) I look forward to seeing them again in the New Year.

The best part of 2012 had to be participating in the 150th anniversary of Antietam. It was an amazing weekend that I will never forget. We had, likely, well over 50,000 people at the park, and my colleagues and I were doing non-stop interpretation from September 14th through the 17th. Here are a few posts about the event:




And, a wrap up post about the 150th event,


I am thankful that this year I was able to work with the finest interpretive group in the NPS. I have learned so much from my colleagues, and look forward to the exciting new opportunities that 2013 will bring. God has been very good to me in 2012, and whatever successes or opportunities I have had, I owe it all to Him. While I am back home in Ohio for now, and I don't know when I might return to Antietam, I know that God has more in store for me, and I look forward to following His path in the upcoming year.

Happy New Year Everyone!

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