|124th Pennsylvania monument at Antietam.|
|Circa-1944 photo of Fred Wilder Cross, |
battlefield tramper extraordinaire, in Virginia.
(William Christen collection)
"There are few places that I have visited or of which I have ever dreamed that have such a hold upon my heart as the picturesque hills and broad valleys of Western Maryland," he wrote in 1926. "A most beautiful and romantic country, much of it rich in agricultural resources, its low mountains not too lofty to be ascended with ease, their summits presenting to the traveler most wonderful landscapes, every hill and road and stream abounding in historic associations; there is a lure to this section, which calls me back to it again and again."
|Your blogger at Antietam.|
Unlike Cross' "Expeditionary Force," my army is small: me. Armed with an iPhone and an imagination, I usually do my best work alone, often starting before the sun rises. I prowl battlefields (and elsewhere) for great subjects, taking to heart the words of writer Dave Kindred: "Stories are everywhere, you just have to pay attention."
On the blog, you hopefully will find stories that will surprise you. Perhaps a few that will make you think. Maybe one that will make you cry. A photo or two could make you go, "Wow!"
So climb into the rubble of a brick house where an Massachusetts officer died from his Antietam wounds. Hike with me down (and then back up) Lookout Mountain. Meet the tenacious former Marine who saved the Brandy Station battlefield. Ride along on a Power Tour of Cross Keys, Cedar Creek and all points in between.
See you on the road.
A DESCENDANT? If you're a descendant of a Civil War soldier and want to share a copy of a photo, letter or something else you have found in your attic, please give me a shout.
HOW TO REACH ME: E-mail me at email@example.com or post in the comments section below. You may also follow me on Twitter at @johnnybanks or on my Civil War Facebook page, which you can "Like" here. I am available for speaking engagements.