When you walk along Bloody Lane, as you tour the Antietam National Battlefield, you will see rolling green hills speckled with old wooden fences, few trees and various monuments to heros on both sides of the war. It's a peaceful place, this barely traveled road with a gruesome name. The horror that occured has long since past, but has never been forgotten.

Reenactments bring back a small taste of what occured here on Sept. 17, 1862, but not the full impact. Specators will see their neighbors, cousins and teachers donned in wool and armed with muskets at any given performance. This is as it should be. As it once was.

The crowd will gather to see the representation of 9,700 Union troops battling 6,500 Confederate troops in a four hour long battle. They will stand, sit and press together in huddles as their ears are bombarded with musket fire for the duration. They will watch as actors portray the death, capture, and wounding of a combined total 5,500 soldiers. They will see men tended to, they will see them piled three deep on this dirt encrusted road. Surely the grand scale of the death toll will paint the picture, depict the meaning, behind the name.

The truth is that it doesn't. The horror of seeing the reenactors laying, as still as they can, in piles on the road will leave a mark in their memory. Antietam was one of the bloodiest days in our country's history. Partially because of this small country road dubbed Bloody Lane. On this day, this Battle between North and South, the road ran like a river with blood. So many died during those four hours that the blood flowed down the sunken road creating an image that would haunt the survivors the rest of their lives. Something no reenactment can truly portray.

I encourage you to go to Sharpsburg, Maryland and see the battlefield, watch the reinactments and get a sample of what happened within our borders at our own hands.


View of Bloody Lane: http://www.cwreenactors.com/bloodyln.htm

References:
Antietam.com, http://www.antietam.com/reenact/news-spec-crowd-bloodylane.html

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.