Saturday, December 03, 2016

Antietam Then & Now: Pennsylvania veterans return

               (Hover over image for "Now" scene; does not work on phones or tablets.)

In the years following the Battle of Antietam, veterans returned to the battlefield, many to attend the dedication of their monuments there. On Sept. 17, 1904, old soldiers in the 124th Pennsylvania were photographed at their monument at the intersection of Starke Avenue and Hagerstown Pike on the day of its dedication. During their visit, many of them scoured the fields for war relics and pointed out to their families where they were on that bloody day.

Some simply wondered how they survived.

Veteran Joseph Hawley near the Hagerstown Pike, where he was wounded in 1862.
(Images above from History of the 124th Pennsylvania Volunteers 1862-63)
In 1900, 124th Pennsylvania veteran Joseph Hawley returned to Antietam and stood on the spot near the Hagerstown Pike where he was wounded in the neck on Sept. 17, 1862. After he was shot, the colonel was carried to the nearby farmhouse of David R. Miller and was later taken to Hagerstown, Md., to recover. Hawley, who was 78 when he died in 1915, carried the bullet in his neck for the rest of his life.

Twelve years before Hawley's visit, men in the 125th Pennsylvania had their photo taken by the battle-scarred Dunker Church, near the West Woods, where they were routed on the morning of Sept. 17, 1862. Upon his return to Antietam in 1904, Morris Davis, a private in the 125th Pennsylvania, read aloud his poem about the battle to a group of veterans gathered there. It began:
Antietam : Gentle peaceful stream.
Upon thy banks so fair,
What memories, to the mind will turn
Of one who lingers there.
And it ended:
May the great God, who rules above.
And guides the affairs of men.

Forbid, in his infinite love
Such fratricide again.

--More Then & Now images HERE in large format. 
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