Thursday, February 27, 2020

Without historic preservation...history disappears

A note about historic preservation on my final day at Monocacy.

Ranger Mannie

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Farewell Monocacy

All good things must come to an end, and it's back to my regular job on the National Mall on Tuesday, but it was great to be reminded that I am first, last, and always, a cannonball ranger.

This past two months was the most satisfying and affirming experience of my Park Service career.

See you out on the Civil War trail gang.

Ranger Mannie

Mannie's Monocacy Murals

Finished, with one day to spare.

It feels very good to be able to leave something behind.

Tomorrow's my last day at Monocacy National Battlefield...sounds like some shenanigans are planned.

Ranger Mannie

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Junior Rangers at Monocacy

The Junior Ranger program is one of the best ideas that the Park Service ever had.  It's a great, and fun, way to get kids engaged in their park, and it makes their tax-paying parents really appreciate the parks.

I swore these four fun-lovers in as Monocacy Jr. Rangers last weekend...boy, were they in to it.

Ranger Mannie

Friday, February 21, 2020

The clock is ticking on the murals, I'm about seventy percent done and I have exactly four and a half days to complete them, fortunately, ranger Anthony has been a great apprentice in this project.

I can't believe how fast the time has flown; I've enjoyed this detail so much. This sixty-day detail to Monocacy National Battlefield was the most satisfying and affirming experience of my fourteen-year career in the National Park Service.

Ranger Mannie

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Monocacy murals progress

I finished the line work today and tomorrow I start applying the color.

Two more weeks left in this adventure at Monocacy... what a great experience this has been.

Ranger Mannie

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Making a mural

Today the work began in earnest on the children's corner mural.  This will be the larger of the two.

I'll post pictures as it progresses.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Behind the scenes in the historic Worthington House

On Wednesday a group of historic structures conservation students from the NPS came  to check out the Worthington house.  I was supposed to open the door for them.  In the telephone meeting beforehand, I asked their fearless leader how long he wanted my program to be.  He responded that there would be no program but they were there to just check out the house.  At that I informed him the the program will be fifteen minutes in length, as it was...and I had their complete and enthusiastic attention as I told the story of Lew Wallace at Monocacy. 

It was incredibly satisfying for me.

Then I opened the door and let them prowl around.

I don't know much about the house, so I lifted the following from the Historic Structures Report that was written in the late '90s.

[The Worthington house is a] two-story five-bay brick dwelling with an ell extension in the rear.  Considered influenced from Greek Revival and Italiante styles from the third quarter of the 19th century.  Built between 1847 and 1852.

Served as a hospital after the battle.  Was the seen of action in the late morning and early afternoon phase of the battle.  

Here's a little hand-held video I did for this post, touring the first floor.  I'll let this video provide the bulk of this post's narrative.

The kitchen is a post-war addition to the house.  This stove remains from the 1960s when the building was used to house cannery workers...much to the detriment of the house.

A colleague told me that seven layers of linoleum have been uncovered.

Now down to the cellar and a visit with little Glenn Worthington...eyewitness to "The Battle that Saved Washington."

These are pieces of the original the ground and out of the damp, awaiting better days.

The far window on the left is the one from which Glenn watched the progress of the battle.  While his    family and their enslaved servants shuddered in fear, Glenn was thrilled with the spectacle of war.

Glenn's window

Glenn's view.

And finally, a short video that leaves much to be desired (better luck next time).

So there you have it...a whirlwind tour.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  I only have three weeks remaining at Monocacy, and I'm going to relish every minute.

See you next time with more cool Monocacy stuff.

Ranger Mannie

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Monday, February 03, 2020

Battle damage!

Dodging bullets at the Thomas house.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

A rare opportunity

I hope to be shooting some video footage from inside the Worthington house on Wednesday, stay tuned.

Ranger Mannie

See you in church

Today I stopped by Antietam to pick up and old friend.

This is today's post from my toy soldier blog (  Check out the video at the end.


About ten years ago when I was still rangering at Antietam National Battlefield, one of the products carried in the bookstore was the 54mm model of Dunker Church which was a specialty item made by BMC.  The bookstore manager asked me to make an assembled one that he could use as a store display.  I did, and it came out pretty well.

BMC, unfortunately, no longer makes that model, and the new bookstore manager asked me if, after all this years, I'd like it back.  I gave her an enthusiastic "yes" and today I swung by the battlefield and picked it up.

The BMC model was one of their least imaginative buildings  but it provides a good starting place.

I used the Alexander Gardner photograph of the aftermath of the battle of Antietam as my guide.

The cannon damage to Dunker Church came from two miles away where the Union 20-pounder parrott guns were firing upon the Confederate battery deployed just across the road from the church.

Flat pieces of packaging plastic were used as the shattered window panes.  To simulate whitewash worn from the bricks, I brushed brick red over the white plastic, let it dry, covered the brick color with packing tape, and stripped it off.  I was very happy with the result.

I'm really happy to have it back.

In addition to working at Antietam for over eight years, I have another personal connection to Dunker Church...

My wife and I were married there nine years ago. Cheers!

Soldier on!


p.s.  Here's a video that I made with one of my ranger friends, Alann Schmidt, who is the authority on Dunker Church: