By on September 11, 2014

Today was a full day! Started the morning listening to another historian at the bed and breakfast where I was staying. Loved his presentation. Had a great breakfast and made a couple new friends (it appears I can socialize after all!) before heading out towards Antietam.

First, I just have to say, part of what has made this trip so amazing is just the driving. I love getting out on the road, especially when I’m not familiar with an area, so long as it’s daylight. The drive into Maryland was amazing; winding country roads with a canopy of trees overhead, up and down hills… nothing quite like that in north Texas. Beautiful.I arrived at Antietam before noon and sat down to double-check some family history, and discovered that my great (x3) grandfather on my dad’s side more than likely fought in that battle. He was a part of the 53rd Georgia Infantry, of Semmes’ Brigade, fighting in the Cornfield in the morning portion of the battle. He lived through that ordeal, but later died of the measles, from my research. I’ll be attempting to see his headstone in Richmond on Sunday.

Of the three other Civil War soldier ancestors I have, (all Union), none were at Antietam. One was part of the western theatre of the war in the 2nd US Kentucky Cavalry. Another didn’t enlist until 1864, as part of the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

I did find, however, that the final one–Private James S. Hastings of Allegheny County, enlisted for nine months in the 123rd Pennsylvania Infantry–was part of the infamous, failed attacks on Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg, with Humphreys’ Division. There’s a monument in the cemetery I hope to see tomorrow.

So, today’s research was largely family-history focused, but I managed to get some plot notes written at dinner for the book! Tomorrow I’m starting early on Fredericksburg, then will hopefully have time for Chancellorsville after lunch, so I can save The Wilderness for Saturday. (Didn’t realize it was an hour away, and there’s a good chance of rain so hopefully I can get to it early in the morning.)

Off to do a bit more writing before bed!

-Sarah

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