Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Those Missing Alexander Gardner Images:


Plate 315b

Santa McClaws

Ho, ho, ho.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Living Legend

Ed Bearss, Chief Historian National  Park Service;
a regular at Antietam.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Crossover Blogging

Battery B, 4th US Artillery

Here's an artillery story, start to finish.

Recently, on ebay,  I bought this Hong Kong knock-off of the Swoppet limber, gun, and crew.  Upon arrival buyer's remorse immediately set in.

Although the castings were mirror images of the Britains originals, they were finished in a bizarre fake pewter finish.  What, exactly, might have our Hong Kong friends been thinking?

Oddly, the limber was the only piece not pewterfied (or perhaps, putrefied). Two outriders and the lid to the ammunition chest were missing in this counterfeit cannon convocation.

That omission of the lid was quickly remedied with a visit to my table and band saws. 

The result was a perfect fit.

Now came time to deal with that wacky metallic finish.

The bugler sounded "assembly" and all hands mustered into an oatmeal can.

All concerned were about to understand the phrase "Better living through chemistry."

Always keep those old toothbrushes around.

Stripped of their finish, a remarkable array of colors was revealed.

Keep an eye on Manny, Moe, and Jack here as you'll be seeing more of them.

Everybody got a nice coat of Floquil white primer. 

Our gleesome threesome is ready for painting.

These are the outriders which were missing along with the limber lid.  Fortunately I had acquired this pair earlier in their original and  not-very-impressive Swoppet colors.

Using the hot water treatment. I reshaped them with different arm positions and narrowed their stance for a better seat on the saddle.  Left is before and right is after.

Out came the Testors paint and the sergeant and corporal are transformed.

 I finished everyone in the traditional bright toy soldier finish. 

And here we go, the reclaimed detachment, fully redone and rushing into action:

It's a mighty fast and bumpy ride...

but our steadfast trio hangs on tight as the limber and gun charge forward...

over hill and dale...

The noncoms whip the horses into a lather in hopes of beating the Rebels to the high ground.

It's nip and tuck.

Arriving in the nick of time the detachment commander oversees the unlimbering

The gun is man-handled into place...

carefully sighted,  and loaded with double canister awaiting the order to...


The rebel charge is broken.

All in a day's work for Battery B, 4th US Artillery.

Buyer's remorse is gone.

Soldier on!


Saturday, December 03, 2011


Pictures  > words

The 23rd annual illumination of Antietam National Battlefield; hour-by-hour.

23,110, a sobering reminder of the service and sacrifice that are, sometimes, the price of freedom.

Here's hoping you can see it one day.

Ranger Mannie

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Martin Luther King jr. National Historic Site


Here's the fruit of some more of that '05 Atlanta footage.

It's cool to see a U.S. Park Ranger standing right beside Dr. King at the Lincoln Memorial.


Oakland Cemetery: Atlanta

Three days off from the park gives me plenty of time to edit video.
I shot this footage back in 2005 and put it together today. You can view it here

Hope you like it.

Happy Thanksgiving


Friday, November 11, 2011

Kids Today


Meet Victoria Nelson - Junior Ranger

Today it was my pleasure to make the acquaintance of one of the brightest, most enthusiastic kids I've ever met on the Battlefield; Victoria Nelson.

She really enjoyed the battlefield and got the most out of her visit by completing our 
Junior Ranger booklet.

Not only were her answers to the questions thoughtful...

but her rendering of the McKinley monument is a real stand-out (let's hope this aspiring artist stays at it).

I suspect that one day this young lady will be turning in her Junior Ranger badge for a metal one and the green and gray uniform of a National Park Service Ranger.

Great Job, Victoria!

Friday, November 04, 2011

A Landmark Day at Your National Park

It was a red-letter day today as the Park recognized Volunteer, Jim Rosebrock, the very first inductee of Antietam National Battlefield's "Volunteer Master Ranger Corps".

Jim is surrounded by his colleagues following the presentation of this very important recognition of his 
considerable degree of commitment, enthusiasm, and interpretive talent in helping Antietam National Battlefield maintain its high standard of excellence.

Jim's daughter Rachel, a high school senior and also an Antietam volunteer, represents the future of our volunteer corps, and demonstrates that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree as far as excellence, altruism, and commitment are concerned.

It really can't be overstated what a rare and noteworthy achievement this is.  It was an exciting day for all of us.

Rachel showing off her dad's new shoulder patch.

A stand-out insignia for a stand-up volunteer; Jim Rosebrock.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Trick or Treat - and how!

What sounds like sporadic gunfire throughout the valley this afternoon is actually the full-leaved, and covered with four inches of heavy snow, treelimbs snapping and crashing all over the mountainside.

The Park closed early today due to the surprise snowstorm, and although I'm conked out with a cold, Susan is out in the yard with a broom saving our trees.

This one will make it through the storm. 
Our maple in the backyard however...

I wasn't able to get to it in time.  Most of its limbs are on the ground.

            Just getting this post up was a chore as the power drops every few minutes

With the limbs drooping over the powerlines like this, we expect to lose electricity any moment now, making for a chilly night.

Halloween greetings from just north of Boonsboro.
Ranger Mannie (fighting a head cold)