A NEW LOOK AT AN OLD WAR

The American Civil War has been referred to as the first modern war. This war saw the increase in the number of men involved, strategic sweeping movements, the use of trains and telegraphs, effective use of combined land-sea operations, and the increasing sophistication of the weaponry including rifled artillery, repeating weapons and iron-clad ships. On September 16, 1862 Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan confronted Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in Sharpsburg, Maryland. At dawn September 17, Hooker’s corps mounted a powerful assault on Lee’s left flank that began the single bloodiest day in American military history it was estimated to have over 23,100 casualties. By 7:30 a.m., some 5,600 soldiers on both sides are dead or wounded—almost the same number of American troops killed during the D-Day invasion of World War II. Now 140 years later September 13-15, 2002, “America’s bloodiest day” comes alive as 13,000 re-enactors from around the world re-enact in the three day long Civil War battle of Antietam. Over this yearlong project, I covered the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland, the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky and the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Many of these re-enactors are current and prior military men with a passion for history or have had distant relatives fight for their independence in this war.