Some people wonder how it is possible to do even hundreds of tour groups at Antietam and not get bored with the narrative. Well, even though there is a fair amount of repetition of the actual battle material, the people who come are very diverse, and interesting things happen along the way that never happened before.IMG_0596

Today, for the 2nd consecutive day, I had a busload of teenagers – this time from Ohio. It is sometimes a challenge to get them engaged, as there is clearly a wide range of natural interest in a historical site. I’ve learned that if I can get the girls interested, I’m likely to get most of the group – so I’ll often speak right at the girls, ask questions of them and fuss over them a bit, and then I’ve got the whole group tracking with me. It was going great today – until the end at the Burnside Bridge.

IMG_0600After some recent cool and damp weather, this afternoon was brightly sunny and warm. That is probably what brought a lot of “nature” to life. Before even reaching the bridge we were assaulted by thousands of gnats. And then, when crossing, the bumble bees were flying around us as thick as the missiles from the 2nd and 20th Georgia regiments 150 years ago – I caught one of them in flight – see the picture with its shadow cast upon the bridge surface. But finally, there was the real narrative killer – the appearance of a guy I’ll call General Burnslide – getting a spring tan on the sides of the bridge. He was not alone, as his cousin Captain Griswold of Company A was curled up about five feet away.

This sent my busload of kids headed for their transportation at the double quick. The tour was essentially done!

Even with what I believe to be the most despicable creatures on the planet hanging out at the Burnside Bridge, it has to be about the most beautiful spot on earth.


About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed multiple hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and have been a sportswriter for various publications and online venues. My main profession is as the lead pastor of a church in Hagerstown called Tri-State Fellowship. And I'm active in Civil War history and work/serve at Antietam National Battlefield with the Antietam Battlefield Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

One response »

  1. Gary Rohrer says:

    How right you are . . . regardless of the number of tours I do, each is its own unique adventure. If not for the course of nature, it’s certainly is for the groups that we encounter & their diverse interest. School groups CAN BE a challenge but also a lot of fun. I’ll certainly be watching for Gen. Burnside & Capt. Griswold’ 🙂

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