Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Time heals all wounds

Unlike Gettysburg, which seems to have quite a bit of visible (and notable) battle damage, including the Trostle Barn,as well as the pockmarked wall of the Farnsworth House,Antietam, by comparison, seems to have very little such visible forensic evidence of the battle.

Estimates of ordnance expended in the thirteen hour battle of Antietam (September 17,1862) usually cite 50,000 artillery rounds and three million bullets. That's a lot of hardware flying around causing quite a bit of damage. But to look at the place today, you'd hardly guess that a calamity of such enormity happened here.

I've read lots of historical accounts of chimneys being damaged or destroyed by artillery shells, as well as other structural damage to homes and buildings in and around Sharpsburg. Whether any of the structures that are privately owned still exhibit battle damage is unknown to me, though to walk around Sharpsburg I've not noted any obvious battle damage.

Of the historic structures within the park I know of only two examples of combat damage. I've been told by our Cultural Resources folks that there's a bullet hole in a mantle of the Sherrick House. I've also had this bullet hole pointed out to me in the Roulette barn

Approaching this as an 1862 homeowner,I can easily imagine myself (while muttering expletives toward the yankee and rebel governments) quickly repairing battle damage to my house just as I would any other damage, after all isn't that what weekends have been traditionally used for? But as a student of history, each example of battle damage, is a tantalizing glimpse at evidence of this enormous event.

Perhaps you know of other examples of Sharpsburg battle damage that you'd like to share.

Keep me posted,


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