From: Chapel Hill, NC, USA
ORIGINAL: Uncivil Engineer
My arrival at Antietam National Battlefield about 12 years ago was one of the most remarkable historical moments I've experienced.
My family and I had just left Harpers Ferry, where we had lunch and a tour. We drove across the Potomac and into Maryland, bound for the battlefield. We were busy laughing and talking, and I figured at some point we'd see a sign or an entrance or a bunch of touristy buildings as we neared our destination. Instead we just drove through beautiful rural and farm country, topped a rise, and suddenly saw the Dunker Church in the near distance. It was like we had driven from 2003 right into the Brady photo of that church, with battle damage, taken in 1862.
A bunch of our best Civil War battlefields are still rural or semi-rural and lack the horrid development that mars so much of our countryside today. Antietam is a gem (or was, in 2003).
I've visited most of the Army of Northern Virginia battle sites. Antietam is probably the best preserved due to its location. Manassas and Fredericksburg are totally over-developed, although you can still look down from Marye's Heights and get an idea of what the Yanks faced. The sprawl west from Fredericksburg is also now impacting Chancellorsville and Spottsylvania. And, of course, Gettysburg has a McDonald's in the sunken road at the base of Cemetary Ridge. I've never visited anything around Richmond-Petersburg, but I'm sure all that has been developed.
Antietam and Chickamauga are spectacular. Kennesaw Mountain is pretty good. And I suspect Shiloh is excellent, as it's in a mostly rural location.
Shiloh is fabulous! Visited in the mid 90's while I was still living in Memphis.
"Good times will set you free" - Jimmy Buffett
"They need more rum punch" - Me
Artwork by The Amazing Dixie