Final Attack Trail

This group of veterans from Rush Hawkins' 9th NY Zouaves are celebrating the dedication of their monument at Antietam. When they placed this monument, they put it in line with a stone wall that had been torn down just years earlier. It was the wall that they attacked at the climax of the Battle of Antietam. If you buy the premise of Ted Alexander and James McPherson that Antietam is the turning point of the Civil War, then that wall would be the true High Tide of the Confederacy.

Tom Clemens and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation just did us all a great service by blazing a walking path up to this monument and the site of that wall. Imagine if only now you could walk the path of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. It is that important.

I took the opportunity to walk that path yesterday and it was a very moving experience. It is not marked at all (thank goodness) and feels very rustic, an experience you find less and less. It will take the purchase and demolition of the small house on that hill to walk in the exact footsteps of the 9th New York, but nonetheless it is a great addition to the battlefield.

Note: my upcoming book, Rare Images of Antietam, Vol. 1, features a recently discovered and unpublished photograph of that stone wall.

Here is a panorama of the High Water Mark site.