Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dimitri hits the nail square on the head

Fellow blogger Dimitri always makes me think.  I find this recent post of his particularly worthwhile for all armchair generals to direct their attention to. (that sentence ended oddly didn't it).

Mannie (on vacation - at home)


I make it a point to never endorse products on this blog - ever, however I will, from time to time over this sesquicentennial period take a look at how others are building a buzz related to the 150th observance of the Battle of Antietam.

A gentleman named J.P. Terry  showed me a project he's been working on which provides an interesting way to bring an electronic aspect to a battlefield ramble.

Check it out here, it is pretty cool:
Note that this app has just been nominated for the Apple 2012 Design Award, and that's cool too!

If I could afford (or figure out how to use) an i-pad or an i-phone this could be a lot of fun.

I think that  anything that sparks an interest in the Civil War, especially among younger people, is a good thing.  Books are one way of accessing information and certainly have their appeal, especially to people like me.  Electronics however are a wonderful way to bring a new and more visual dimension to the exploration of the subject, especially for the i-hipster generation.

However you get your information, through books, or electronically, nothing compares to actually roaming the battlefield.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

My, how things have changed...


Saw this at the park yesterday:


Monday, May 07, 2012

The Rock keeps getting heavier


This just in from Publishers Weekly:

 The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution
Historian Slotkin (Regeneration Through Violence) moves from his path-breaking studies of America’s cultural mythology of violence to a set piece of real-life carnage in this gripping, multifaceted history of the Civil War’s bloodiest day. The author pens a fine narrative of the Battle of Antietam, balancing a lucid overview of strategy and maneuver with subtle, novelistic evocations of the chaos of combat as men “edg[ed] forward step-by-step each time they loaded and aimed, trying to get out of the smoke so they could see better how to shoot.” It’s a dramatic saga, full of coups and blunders, but it’s just the capstone of Slotkin’s searching analysis of the campaigns of 1862, when the conflict, he contends, took a “revolutionary” turn toward intense bloodshed and radicalism. (Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation immediately after Antietam.) At the center is his vivid rendition of the power struggle between Lincoln and Union generalissimo George McClellan, one of history’s great neurotics, who combined paralyzing timidity on the battlefield with grandiose ambition to become a virtual dictator and reverse the abolitionist thrust of Lincoln’s policies. Grounding military operations in political calculation and personal character, Slotkin gives us perhaps the richest interpretation yet of this epic of regenerative violence. 10 illus., 8 maps. Agent: Carl Brandt, Brandt and Hochman. (July)

Let us hope Mr. Slotkin's assessment can avoid the shopworn invective that this PW reviewer parrots in this assessment of McClellan.

Pushing that rock up the hill,

Ranger Mannie


Saturday, May 05, 2012

This is Antietam, tonight

Bluebirds and Volunteers


This is the post I did for the park's facebook page yesterday.

Although I'm not a birder,  I sure do like birds.

For thrity-three consecutive years Antietam volunteers Mark and
Jean Raabe have been tending, counting, and housing the bluebird
and tree swallow population of Antietam National Battlefield.
Working with the park's Natural Resources Division, Mark and
Jean maintain, inspect, and audit the nesting boxes and fledgings
 of the battlefield.

Through improved predator-resistant boxes and restored habitat, 
the bluebirds of the battlefield have experienced an increase in
 fledglings from an average of 300 per season five years ago to
an average in the high 400s as of last year.

Dedicated volunteers like the Raabs are one of the great strengths
of the Park Service, spending countless hours making our parks a
 better experience for everyone...

even the birds!

Although often unnoticed by visitors, these nesting boxes can be seen all
along the park roads.

While Jean is in the car "doing the books" Mark is carefully opening and
 inspecting each of the nesting boxes, counting and checking on the
 condition of eggs or hatchlings.

Although the boxes are associated with bluebirds, two species
actually set up hosekeeping; in this instance a pair of tree-swallows
have produced four beautiful pearlescent eggs.

Several boxes down the road we found this clutch of powder blue
eggs- soon to be bluebirds.

Three more boxes down the road and we came to this feathery jackpot. 
Four little bluebirds - eighteen days old, bags packed, and ready to leave
the nest by tomorrow.

Think of Mark and Jean as you are serenaded with birdsongs this season
as  you visit Antietam National Battlefield.

The Raabes are super-nice people.  I'd hoped to run into them
as I thought their work would make  a really good post for the
park.  Yesterday as I was going home I encountered them
checking bird boxes - what great timing!  I spent about 45 
minutes with them, taking pictures as they made their rounds. 

This place just gets better every day!

Ranger Mannie