90,000 Visits – Thanks

ImageI am humbled and gratified to have received over 90,000 visits to Antietam Voices and 50,000 visitors to South From the North Woods.  I have been really busy these days and sadly have neglected my two friends but I will be back soon.  I have been doing lots of research on West Pointers at Antietam, the Regular Army artillery batteries, and of course my quote collection as well.  Please stay tuned and thanks for your interest. 

Quote of the Day January 5, 2013


The Potomac River near Harpers Ferry

“Why in the Nation, General Marcy, couldn’t the General have known whether a boat could go through that lock before spending a million dollars getting them there? I am no engineer, but it seems to me that if I wished to know whether a boat would go through a hole or a lock, common sense would teach me to go and measure it. I am almost despairing at these results. Everything seems to fail.  The general impression is daily gaining ground that the general does not intend to do anything.”  In a rare display of temper Abraham Lincoln chews out McClellan’s chief of staff Randolph Marcy at the White House on February 27, 1862 after learning that the canal boats sent up toward Harpers Ferry did not fit into the locks because the engineers failed to measure them before hand.  From George B McClellan – The Young Napoleon by Stephen Sears.  New York:  Ticknor & Fields, 1988. Page 158.

Quote of the Day, September 14, 2012

Abraham Lincoln

“I certainly have been dissatisfied with the slowness of Buell and McClellan; but before I relieved them I had great fears I should not find successors to them who would do better; and I am sorry to add that I have seen little since to relieve those fears.” Abraham Lincoln on November 24, 1862 in a letter to Carl Shurz. From George B. McClellan Shield of the Union by Warren G. Hassler. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1957. Page 323


Today in the middle of reviewing A Brotherhood of Valor by Jeffrey D. Wert, the comparative study of the Stonewall Brigade and the Iron Brigade, I added quote 4000 to my database.  I really wanted to hit this milestone before I dropped off the grid for a few days and work at Antietam National Battlefield during the 150th anniversary.  Interestingly, it was not a quote about Stonewall.  I have a lot of them.  It wasn’t about the Cornfield at Antietam where these two brigades squared off.  It was about Richard Garnett and the reaction of the Stonewall Brigade when Jackson relieved him of command and preferred court martial charges against.  That is a little far afield from Antietam but this project sometimes takes me from the hills and fields around Sharpsburg to personalities who while they fought or otherwise participated in the Maryland Campaign, did not play the role that the likes of Lee, and McClellan played.  I am going to keep going strong on this project.  Maybe there is a book somewhere in there some day, but for now, this process is helping me to learn more about the Maryland Campaign than I would have believed possible when I started this about 3 1/2 years ago.  Keep checking back here for once the quotes are “captured” I have to transplant them here to a format where they can be accessed and reviewed.

Tomorrow is the start of the 150th and a four day sprint of activities at the Battlefield.  The weather promises to be great so come out.

The little wooden block-men

Group of Federal artillery officers at Antietam

Stephen Vincent Benet recounts the futility and frustration of smoothly translating a military plan of execution into the hard and cold reality of battle as he describes the Battle of Bull Run in his poem John Brown’s Body.

This poem opens William Hasslers classic book George B. McClellan Shield of the Union.
“If you take a flat map and move wooden blocks upon it strategically, The thing looks well, the blocks behave as they should.
The science of war is moving live men like blocks
And getting the blocks into place at a fixed moment.
But it takes time to mold your men into blocks
And flat maps turn into country where creeks and gullies
Hamper your wooden squares. They stick in the brush,
They are tired and rest, they straggle after ripe blackberries,
And you cannot lift them up in your hand and move them.
A string of blocks curling smoothly around the left
Of another string of blocks are slow
To move, when they start they take too long on the way –
The General loses his stars and the block-men die
In unstrategic defiance of martial law
Because still used to just being men, not block-parts
As one of a privileged number of people – rangers, volunteers and battlefield guides  who humbly look forward to supporting the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, it will be our challenge, and our honor to turn the abstract battlelines on a map, and the little wooden block-men as Benet refers to them, into the living breathing men like the artillery officers pictured above and a hundred thousand others who fought ferociously, demonstrated unbelievable bravery, feared for their lives, witnessed indescribable carnage, died in droves, were wounded and maimed by the thousands, or who survived to fight other battles, and maybe even survive this terrible war, to forever change America forever.  It is in large measure to them that we work so hard to get it right at this years battle anniversary now only 50 days away. Come to Sharpsburg in September.

Quote of the Day May 24, 2012

Robert E. Lee

“I prefer your acts to speak for themselves, nor does your character or reputation require bolstering by out-of place expressions of my opinions.”  Robert E. Lee chides Jeb Stuart in a May 11, 1863 when Stuart apparently complains that Lee’s report on Chancellorsville does not give Stuart full justice for his actions there.   From Cavalryman of the Lost Cause by Jeffry D. Wert.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2008 page 232.  Originally from a letter from R.E. Lee- to JEBS, May 11 1863, Stuart Papers, Huntington Library.

Quote of the Day May 23, 2012

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton

“get the machinery of the office working, the rats cleaned out, and the rat holes stopped we shall move.  This army has to fight or run away; while men are striving nobly in the West, the champagne and oysters on the Potomac must be stopped.” Edwin Stanton to Charles Dana describing his actions on taking over as Secretary of War, January 24m 1862. From How the North Won by Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press 1983 page 92. Originally from Recollections of the Civil War by Charles A. Dana. New York: 1898, page 4.

Quote of the Day May 22, 2012

Fox Gap in the distance from Frosttown Gap

“The crackling rattle of musketry grows nearer and nearer, the bellowing guns are louder and just over their heads is heard the swift-sailing song of the Minie, with its devilish diminuendo…Here and there a man drops his rifle, clasps a hand to his leg, arm, or side and falls to the rear or sinks to the ground.” Edward Lord of the 9th New Hampshire recalls the Battle of Fox Gap on September 14, 1862. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011 page 77. Originally from History of the Ninth Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion by Edward O. Lord. Concord, NH: Republican Press Association, 1895 page 72.


Quote of the Day May 12, 2012

Edwin V. Sumner

“much safer and more efficient commander.” Winfield Scott explaining his selection of Edwin Sumner over William S. Harney to command his regular cavalry in the Mexico City campaign.  From Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008 page 57.  Originally from House, Correspondence the Secretary of War and Generals Scott and Taylor, and between General Scott and Mr. Trist, 30th Cong., 1st sess., 1848, Executive Document No. 56, Serial No. 518,44,56.

Quote of the Day May 11, 2011

Lee fought with his back to the Potomac (shown here near Shepherdstown)

“in referring to criticisms that had been made on the great risks he had taken…that such criticisms were obvious but that the disparity of forces between the contending armies rendered the risks unavoidable.”  William Allan.  Lee discussing with William Allen the need for taking risks.  He was an ordnance officer in the ANV during the war and a faculty member at Washington College afterward and knew Lee there.  From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999 page 50.  Allan William.  The Army of Northern Virginia in 1862 by William Allan  (Dayton, Ohio:  Morningside House, 1984) page 200.