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Monday, June 24, 2013

Civil War History Tour: Antietam

No words can express how much I LOVE to learn about history.  I have the pleasure of teaching social studies and enjoy every lesson taught, every year.  I try not to be that history teacher that bores her students to death, but to engage them in the era and what it must have been like to live there....

My principal back in March gave me a huge gift.  She signed me up for a history grant through our local educational service center.  I get to tour Civil War sights on a bus tour with other history teachers in a three county area.  It is an all expense paid trip with tours of Antietam, Gettysburg and Harpers Ferry.  Plus, I get to spend two days with OSU history professors learning how to use primary sources, poems, songs within the curriculum.  I get a college semester credit for free too.  It was like winning the history lottery without buying a ticket.

Today we left Wooster, Ohio at 7 am and arrived in Sharpsburg, Maryland about 2 pm and started touring.  Antietam (see link for more info) battle was the bloodiest of the Civil War, over 23,000 men died here.  Neither side called a truce so that they could help the wounded soldiers. 
Our tour guide was amazing and told the best stories.

Interesting facts about Ohio troops are that the 23rd regime contained both Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley, both future presidents of the United States.  William McKinley got a promotion to Lieutenant after he ran food and hot coffee to men who were in the trenches fighting.  One of the Ohio troops held off a band of Confederate soldiers with only a third of their regime due to losses in battle.

One man, put a bible in his coat so he didn't have to carry it.  Then was struck by a bullet and the bullet was stopped in the bible.  It traveled through the entire Old Testament and stopped in the book of Acts.

One man, received a bullet wound to his face that removed a lot of his jaw.  He fell face first into his hat.  Had there not been a hole in his hat he would have drown in his own blood.  He thanked the Yankee soldier who put a hole in his hat.  He was later a governor in Georgia.

So many stories, such a tragic time in history. 


 This is the saddest place, the front line of the battle field. It's called Bloody Lane. This literally filled up with dead men.  They had to unbury men who survived their wounds from among layers of dead soldiers.  So sad, that a nation can be so angry at each other.

Today was so interesting for me.  The town of Sharpsburg passed an ordinance that no fast food or hotel chain can build within three miles of the battlefield to preserve how it looked during the Civil War.  I think that is a neat idea.  Last fast fact for the day: Antietam was named by the Union Soldiers after the Antietam Creek, but the Confederates called it the Battle of Sharpsburg.  Tomorrow: Gettysburg.


  1. What a nice gift! Looks like you are off to a great start enjoying it fully. And I wonder why that bullet didn't stop in Isaiah with the rest of us. :)

  2. What a super opportunity! Enjoy and I'm jealous...I've never been to Gettysburg but will get there someday...and don't forget to look for ghosts! I hear it's haunted! Thanks for sharing this neat adventure!

  3. We almost went to Antietam on out trip in February but we didn't quite make it. Next time!