Savas Beatie Author Conclave—Day Three: No “three phases” at Antietam

SB-TomClemensCourt

by Sarah Keeney

We had the unique pleasure of meeting with Tom “Mr. Antietam” Clemens outside the Antietam Visitor’s Center on Tuesday, July 30, where Tom gathered us around to set up the three phases of the day’s fighting.

That was right before he explained that there weren’t really three phases of fighting.

“If you’re here for an hour visit to the battlefield, that’s a good overview,” Tom explained about the traditional three-phase approach, “but Savas Beatie readers don’t want the short story.”

Tom describes the monument to the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Antietam. It shows a dying lion, its right paw raised in defiance.

Tom describes the monument to the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Antietam. It shows a dying lion, its right paw raised in defiance.

Tom continued: “We are challenging the three-phase theory of breaking it down into morning, mid-day, and afternoon. The sequence doesn’t work,” he insisted. “This tour will show the flowing time schedule by looking at two key crises, both involving the West Woods. First, at 8:30 in the morning and second, at noon when the Sunken Road falls.” It was all quite fascinating.

Thereafter, Tom walked us into the West Woods to the Philadelphia memorial, where “Ninety-five percent of visitors don’t see the area we are about to tour,” explained Tom, who then marched us deeper into the West Woods, where Sedgewick and other Union commanders drove that morning and were slaughtered by a sharp and rather lucky Confederate counter-strike. We did a wide sweep and ended up in the back of the Dunker Church. Lee, explained Tom, “had no intention of fighting at Antietam, and instead was caught and nearly destroyed there.”

Thanks Tom for an outstanding couple of hours.

Tom Clemens signs copies of The Maryland Campaign Volume 1 (South Mountain) and Volume 2 (Antietam) for Ronald Baumgarten.

Tom Clemens signs copies of The Maryland Campaign Volume 1 (South Mountain) and Volume 2 (Antietam) for Ronald Baumgarten.

This entry was posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Books & Authors, Civil War Events, Upcoming Events and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Savas Beatie Author Conclave—Day Three: No “three phases” at Antietam

  1. Chuck says:

    Sarah, The day was great. South Mountain and Antietam, Great. Antietam is one of my favorite places. I enjoyed meeting You, Ted, Matt, and Helene. Thanks for the ride back to the parking lot. Now that I know I can order books from you, I can forget about that other guy. Thanks for inviting your readers to attend. Looking forward to the next event. I enjoyed talking to the great authors who were present. Chuck from the Gettysburg area. Thanks again. You guys ROCK.

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