The Irish Brigade at Antietam

Irish Brigade: 29th Massachusetts Infantry, 63rd New York Infantry 69th New York Infantry, 88th New York Infantry

Today, on St. Patrick's Day, as I continue preparations for our May 2-5 battlefield tour of Antietam, I was put in mind of the Irish Brigade monument there. Regular visitors to the park know they can find it near Bloody Lane, at the base of the stone Observation Tower.
We will visit Bloody Lane and hear the story of the Irish Brigade and others in that pivotal moment of American history. Click here for information on our upcoming tour.

See also this NPS page on the Irish Brigade Monument at Antietam


Close up of monument plaque. NPS Photo
Irish Brigade Monument. NPS Photo

A bronze portrait of Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher is on the back of the monument. NPS Photo

Civil War to Cold War (New Mexico bus tour)

CIVIL WAR to COLD WAR, New Mexico 
with Neil Mangum: October 1-6-2019
check out the full itinerary and registration info here
 I am especially excited about this one, for a number of reasons. I love New Mexico—its history, people, and landscape—and though we could spend a week devoted to any number of subjects, this military history/war theme allows us to take a comfortable loop beginning and ending in Albuquerque, while time-traveling through very distinct eras of New Mexico history. In one picturesque, clockwise journey we’ll take in Civil War battles from the Confederate invasion of New Mexico—Valverde, and the Battle of Glorieta Pass, with a cast of colorful characters. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, et. al., will feature prominently in our coverage of the Lincoln County War. Likewise, we will literally visit Ground Zero of the Cold War at the Trinity Test Site—where the United States detonated its first atomic weapon (this site is only open to the public on TWO days per year). Filling out our Cold War education will be visits to Manhattan Project National Historic Park, and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque. When we return to Albuquerque, the city's famous Balloon Fiesta will be getting underway—so come for the history, and stay for the balloons.



Antietam Tour with Tom Clemens, May 2019

Maryland monument with Dunker Church in background. Photo: NPS

The Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg)
Tour dates: May 2-5, 2019
HQ hotel: Hagerstown, Maryland


In the time that I am writing every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before. It was never my fortune to witness a more bloody, dismal battlefield.

—Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, USA, Commander,
​I Corps, Army of the Potomac
Walk the battlefield next spring with renowned Maryland Campaign historian Thomas Clemens. Professor Clemens will conduct a comprehensive examination of the sites and scenes of the bloodiest day of battle in American history. 

We'll gather on Thursday evening for a pizza reception at our hotel, and to hear an orientation talk by our guide. Friday and Saturday will be all-day bus and walking tours of Harpers Ferry, Sharpsburg and the Antietam battlefield proper, and the Battle of Shepherdstown (aka, Battle of Boteler's Ford).
Click Here for more information,
and to reserve your seat on the bus.
General Itinerary
THURSDAY (May 2): check into our headquarters hotel (Hampton Inn, Hagerstown: details below).
6:30 p.m. Pizza Reception in the hotel meeting room: pick up your registration packets, and meet your host and guide. 
7:30 p.m. Tom Clemens will present an overview of the Maryland Campaign, and Battle of Antietam, and set the stage of the next day's tour with a talk entitled:
"Intentions; the Good, the Bad and the Unforeseen."


FRIDAY (May 3): Board Bus at 7:45 a.m.
Bus departs hotel at: 8:00 a.m.
8:30 am Arrive at Best Farm, Monocacy National Battlefield Visitor’s Center; we'll cover the arrival in Maryland and campaign through Lee’s departure and McClellan’s arrival; discussion of the fateful Special Orders 191.
Approx. 9:30 a.m. — Depart for Harpers Ferry. We'll cover the siege and capture, Bolivar Heights, Schoolhouse Ridge, the cavalry escape, and Maryland Heights
11:00 a.m. — Depart for Crampton’s Gap, cover Franklin’s march and approach, drive by Brownsville Pass.  Burkitsville, Gathland.
Stop for lunch [provided]
Approx. 1:00 p.m. — Depart for Turner’s Gap, stop at Mountain House.  First Corps attack.
Approx. 1:45 p.m. — Walk to Fox’s GapNinth Corps attack
4:00 p.m. — Bus picks up the group at Fox’s Gap; Drive through Keedysville to Pry House overlook
5:00 p.m. — Day One tour concludes, return to hotel.
Dinner on your own. 

 
SATURDAY (May 4): Board Bus at 7:45 a.m.
Bus departs hotel at: 8:00 a.m.
8:30 a.m. — Overview from Visitor Center at Antietam National Battlefield. 
Poffenberger Woods fight (September 16)
North Woods
Cornfield and East Woods
West Woods
Lunch on the field [provided]
Mumma and Roulette farms
Sunken Road
Middle Bridge

Burnside Bridge
and Ninth Corps Attack
Shepherdstown Ford
(if time allows)
No evening event scheduled. 


SUNDAY (May 5): optional outing (via carpool)
The Battle of Shepherdstown (or Boteler's Ford)
10:00 a.m. for one-to-two hours. Adjourn by noon.


About our guide:

Tom Clemens is a founder and current president of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation and has played a central role in helping preserve the field and associated sites. His essential contributions to the literature on Antietam include the monumental work as editor and annotator of the Maryland Campaign study by Ezra Carmen, published in three volumes by Savas Beatie Publishers.

Tom is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on Antietam, as well as one of the most engaging and entertaining tour guides available.

Visit to Antietam Battlefield, 7 April 1963




Silent motion picture footage of President John F. Kennedy's visit to the Antietam National Battlefield site, Sharpsburg, Maryland. President Kennedy and his party, which includes Senator Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy, Joan Kennedy, Lem (Kirk LeMoyne) Billings, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army Ralph Horton, and Under Secretary of the Treasury James A. Reed, fly from Camp David by helicopter to the battlefield. Also included is footage of the Acting Superintendent of the Antietam National Battlefield site Robert L. Lagemann, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Maude Shaw, and others who are unidentified. Naval Photo Center #1211-24.
1 film reel (color; silent; 16 mm; 246 feet; 7 minutes)
7
 

WHT will be revisiting Antietam next spring for a multi-day tour with historian Tom Clemens. See the full itinerary here: https://whtours.org/antietam.html

Adventures in American History: the Rosebud and Little Bighorn battlefield tours

​"On a hot June Sunday in 1876, hordes of painted Indian warriors—perhaps as many as 4,000—swarmed over a treeless Montana ridge rising from the Little Bighorn River Valley. Five companies of U.S. Cavalry, about 215 blue-shirted troopers, contended briefly and hopelessly against overwhelming odds. When the guns fell silent and the smoke and dust of battle lifted, every soldier lay dead.
This was "Custer's Last Stand" the most spectacular triumph of the American Indian in his four-century struggle against the relentlessly advancing European civilization that finally crushed him. It forms a chapter of American history that has inspired intense study and provoked intense controversy, that has been chronicled endlessly in prose and verse and enacted time and again on motion picture and television screens, and that has earned a lasting place in the Nation's historical annals and popular folklore. In total defeat and death, Custer and his men achieved an immortality that even the most dramatic victory could not have won them." 
— Robert M. Utley, NPS Handbook, Little Bighorn National Monument.

We'll be heading out to the battlefields with Neil Mangum in mid-October. If you are interested, and can get away for a few days, follow the link below, or go to whtours.org for registration information, and details on other upcoming tours. 

After hiking part of the Rosebud battlefield on the first day, the next morning we'll follow Gibbon's route down the Yellowstone and ascend the Rosebud. We'll pause at Custer and Indian campsites (and other sites), visit Deer Medicine Rocks, and devote a day each to the Reno and Custer fighting. For good measure, we'll also take in the Baker Battlefield (August 1872), and Canyon Creek (Flight of the Nez Perce).