It had been many years since I’d been to Maryland’s Washington County, a scenic area in the northern part of the state. Today I judged a lovely horse show for the Washington County Horse Council, and on my way home I decided to take the scenic route. The early evening drive took me past the Antietam National Battlefield, so I stopped in for a walk around a few of the monuments. Even though I was without a camera, I had my trusty iPhone in my pocket.
Antietam was the bloodiest one-day battle of the U.S. Civil War, with more than 23,000 soldiers killed, wounded or missing, and countless horses lost as well. What struck me were the photographs on display. A man named Alexander Gardner took 70 photographs over two days while walking on the battlefield, capturing images of the dead soldiers and horses. According to the Antietam records, it was the first time an American battlefield had ever been photographed before the dead had been buried.
Tonight, with the late summer sun setting, a light breeze blowing and without another human around, it was hard to imagine such a battle taking place on such a beautiful piece of land.