Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Terrain and Perspective at Antietam

In the Ranger-led tours, hikes, and other programs at Antietam, a special emphasis is placed on the role of terrain in battle and in this battle in particular. We direct visitors' attention to the subtle folds in the landscape that made maneuver, communication, and observation so difficult and confusing during the battle.

While driving in to the park recently, I had more of a macro view of the lay of the land around the battlefield as illustrated by the pictures below:

As you approach the battlefield along the Boonsboro/Shepherdstown Pike, just as you get to the intersection of the Porterstown Road this distinctive red barn comes into view. Note that it towers over the road as you descend toward Antietam Creek.

That barn seems to be a particularly high elevation, and is very near the positions of the Union long-range guns on the day of the battle.

But here's that same barn as seen from the patio of the Visitor Center,

Note that from this position we're looking down at that once towering barn.

Living in 3-D, just north of Sharpsburg,

Ranger Mannie

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