Move fast—that seemed to be the theme for the entire 1862 Maryland Campaign. Lee’s multi-pronged movement northward and McClellan’s uncharacteristically swift pursuit…Lee’s consolidation near Antietam Creek…Hood’s Texans throwing themselves into the Cornfield…A.P. Hill’s knick-of-time march from Harper’s Ferry…Lee’s escape through Shepherdstown to safety. (And then McClellan’s “slows” kicked back in.)
“Move fast” is also the watchword at Antietam for the Civil War Trust right now: They have until Nov. 3 to raise $250,000 for a 1.2-acres pie-slice of land in the battlefield’s North Woods.
“The property straddles the original Sharpsburg Pike,” explains Antietam National Battlefield’s Historian Ted Alexander. “It’s an important part of the battlefield.”
“The I Corps stages there while the stars are still out and mounts its attack from there,” Alexander says. “The famed Iron Brigade skirted that part of the battlefield.” Later, the Pennsylvania Reserves moved through.
In the larger context of the war, the property also saw a lot of movement. “Both sides trod that ground,” Alexander explains. “A good portion of Ewell’s Second Corps—Edward Johnston’s division—marched through there in the Gettysburg campaign. Buford’s cavalry traversed that area during the retreat from Gettysburg. During the 1864 campaign, parts of Early’s command passed by—primarily McCausland’s cavalry, which moved to Hagerstown and levied a tribute on that place.”
The ground has remained outside the battlefield’s holdings, but earlier this year, it came onto the market—and onto the Civil War Trust’s radar screen. “At a recent auction, the Trust placed the winning $300,000 bid on this land,” the Trust explained in a recent statement. “The Save Historic Antietam Foundation immediately pledged $50,000 leaving us $250,000 to raise within 45 days of the auction.”
That deadline now looms. “If we do not raise the necessary $250,000 by November 3 of this year, “ the Trust says, “we could lose our chance to save this important piece of hallowed ground.”
To assist the Trust with this urgent acquisition, see their page at www.civilwar.org.